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Archeological investigations were conducted on the Savannah River Plant in Aiken and Barnwell Counties, South Carolina under contract with the United States Department of Energy by the Institute of Archeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina. The purpose of the study was to perform a reconnaissance and prepare a preliminary inventory of archeological sites in the plant in order to provide land use planning information. During three 2.5 month field seasons, 309 discrete sites were located and recorded within the plant boundaries using an opportunistic sampling strategy which focused on disturbed and exposed ground surfaces in the 200,000 acre study area. Approximately 450 linear miles, representing only a small portion of the plant (less than 10%), were covered in the fieldwork. Results of the survey were primarily of three kinds. First, 3 site classes--those related to base settlements, large limited activity, and small limited activity functions--were determined. Second, 141 occupational components, spanning the Early Archaic through the Historic Periods, were recognized at 103 sites. Occupational density appears to have been greatest during the Woodland Period from 1000 B.C. to about A.D. 1000. The third research area involved an inspection of occupational variability within five environmental zones (Upland, Slope, Dry Terrace, Flooded Terrace and Floodplain) to describe changes in land use. No significant variation between time periods was recognized, indicating similar land use patterns relating to hunting and gathering. Highest site frequencies occurred in the Dry Terrace and Floodplain Zones, which suggests a focus of all major settlements in high potential resource zones. In general, the information in this report presents the largest site survey data base known for the Savannah River below the Fall Line and is therefore of importance to the local prehistory.

Publication Date



The South Carolina Institute of Archeology and Anthropology--University of South Carolina




Excavations, Savannah River Site, Savannah River Plant, Aiken County, Barnwell County, South Carolina, Archeology




In USC online Library catalog at:

The Preliminary Archeological Inventory of the Savannah River Plant, Aiken and Barnwell Counties, South Carolina

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