This blog will provide a regular account of the archaeology at the Lord Ashley Site. It will also function as a forum in which to share new discoveries and information about the site after the excavations have closed and we have moved into study of the site information and analysis of the artifacts.
The Lord Ashley Site is a privately owned property along the upper reaches of the Ashley River in Dorchester County, South Carolina where several years ago archaeologists and historians uncovered the foundation of one of the oldest—if not the oldest—brick structures in the Carolinas.
The brickwork was a part of the 17th century settlement of Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, one of the original eight Lords Proprietors of the Carolina colony. It was a fortified plantation and Native American trading outpost, actively used for just a decade, 1675-1685. Building upon previous work at the site, Historic Charleston Foundation applied for and received two grants from MeadWestvaco (MWV) that have funded archaeology undertaken by The Charleston Museum and the College of Charleston’s Summer Field School in Historical Archaeology.
Archaeology completed by the field school in the summer of 2011 was successful in advancing information about the major research themes of 17th century cultural contact, defense, architecture, and trade and commerce. Since that time, we analyzed the more than 5,000 recovered artifacts, completed the 2011 report and have conducted magnetometry on the site to aid us in future archaeological investigations. A second summer CofC field school was held in the summer of 2013. The students were taught by Dr. Barbara Borg of the College of Charleston and Martha Zierden and Ron Anthony of The Charleston Museum. Archaeologist Andrew Agha has served throughout as the Field Supervisor for the project. Andrew was joined for several weeks during the summer of 2014 by Dr. Jon Marcoux and students from Salve Regina College in Newport, RI.
There is much more to be learned at this site. Stay tuned!