|Location:||Berkeley County, South Carolina.|
|Excavator(s):||Thomas Wheaton, Patrick Garrow, and archaeologists with Soil Systems Inc.|
In 1979, Soil Systems Inc. embarked on a groundbreaking project resulting in the earliest and most extensively excavated slave-related sites in the southeast. Project Investigators Pat Garrow and Tom Wheaton headed mitigation fieldwork in advance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cooper River Rediversion Canal Project. The archaeological component, known as The Cooper River Historic Sites Investigation, included surface collection, metal detector survey, mechanical stripping, and excavation, and focused most intensively on three sites containing slave quarters: 38BK75 and 38BK76 both located on Yaughan Plantation; and 38BK245, located on Curriboo Plantation.
The sites, located on former rice and indigo plantations, contained evidence of twenty-nine structures including domestic slave quarters, an overseer’s house, and several plantation outbuildings. In addition to evidence of both trench earthfast structures and later post-in-ground structures, the sites contained an unprecedented amount of colonoware, low-fired earthenware pottery produced locally. The importance of the sites was thus well established, and in 2010 A Save America’s Treasures Grant was awarded to the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) and DAACS, allowing for the digitization, cataloging and re-analysis of all materials recovered from them.
The site with the latest occupation, 38BK75, is located between Lake Moultrie and the Santee River near the town of St. Stephens, South Carolina in Berkeley County. Initially discovered by Brockington during an earlier survey, he described the site as a heavy concentration of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century artifacts in an open field, including a heavy concentration of colonoware (Brockington 1980:45-47; Wheaton et al 1983: 57). He recommended further testing and mitigation which subsequently resulted in the extensive 1979 fieldwork resulting in the identification of multiple slave dwellings belonging to the Yaughan plantation, an indigo and rice plantation owned by Huguenots (Wheaton et al. 1983:15-16; Wheaton and Garrow 1985: 242). Historical documentation indicates 38BK75 was occupied from the 1780s to the 1820s (Wheaton and Garrow 1985:244).
The remains of five identified structures and two possible ones, the majority of which were post-in-ground, were excavated at 38BK75 (Wheaton et al. 1983:98). A 40-ft block was placed around a feature discovered during testing, in order to further investigate any related structures. Block excavation revealed two post structures, one with an extensive floor midden that was investigated, underneath of which revealed an earlier trench structure that was not excavated due to time constraints. The block excavation also contained the only site at Yaughan with an identifiable hearth (Wheaton et al. 1983:118). Colonoware comprised forty percent of the entire artifact assemblage (Wheaton and Garrow 1985:248).
38BK76 is the earlier of two Yaughan plantation sites excavated as part of archaeological mitigation. The earliest reference to Yaughan Plantation dates from 1737. The 650 acre tract conveyed by Richard Allen to Edward Thomas, “known by the name of Yaughan”, was part of a larger, 1200 acre tract. Thomas left this property to his son Samuel, who in turn sold it and the adjacent 596 acre property to Isaac Cordes in 1742. The two tracts became known as Yaughan Plantation and by 1745, the inventory of Isaac Cordes’ estate lists cattle, sheep, hogs, horses and some household goods at “Youshan” (Inventory of Isaac Cordes, 9 August 1745, cited in Wheaton et al. 1983:76).
The chain of plantation ownership continues from Isaac to his son John, who died in 1756. John Cordes left his real estate equally divided between his two sons, John and Thomas, who were children at the time of his death. A cousin, Samuel Cordes, became their guardian in 1756, and Yaughan appears to have functioned primarily as an indigo plantation under the daily supervision of a series of overseers (Account Book, Estate John Cordes, 1764-1798, cited in Wheaton et al. 1983:76). John Cordes attained his majority in 1768, and although local tradition states that he inherited all of his father’s property by law of primogeniture (cited in Wheaton et al. 1983:76), John Cordes clearly continued to administer Yaughan Plantation on behalf of his brother Thomas (Account Book, Estate of John Cordes,1764-1798, cited in Wheaton et al. 1983:76). In 1773, Thomas Cordes formally accepted his share of his father’s estate from his uncle, and his brother John confirmed his title by deeding him half of their father’s estate in what appears to have been a straw-man transaction. Thomas Cordes had already begun to participate in local parish affairs, and, thus, he had probably begun to reside at least part of the year at Yaughan. Although he took an active role in the Revolutionary War, his name appears periodically in parish records through the 1770s. He married in 1784, and records of various neighbors in the post-war years indicate that he bought indigo and rice seed. Evidently he was seeking to revive the plantation’s prewar functions despite changes in the indigo market, which put the American grown commodity at a severe disadvantage. He and his family continued to live at the plantation until his death in 1809.
Thomas’s widow left the property divided equally among her children when she died in 1826, and ten years later, her three daughters sold their interest in Yaughan to Solomon Clarke. Historic records indicate it is unlikely that Clarke spent a great amount of time at Yaughan. In 1850, he sold the property to J.W. Thurston, who began to subdivide the property in 1857. The separate parcels changed hands several times over the next century and tended generally to decrease in size (Wheaton et al. 1983:88).
Excavation history, procedure, and methods
38BK75 was partially excavated through a combination of hand-excavated blocks and machine-stripping (Wheaton et al. 1983:244). Testing at 38BK75 started with surface collection and metal detector survey across a 50’ grid. Sixteen test units were then placed across the area (Wheaton et al. 1983:57). A 40’ x 40’ block, divided into ten foot units with 6-inch baulks, was excavated (Wheaton et al. 1983:92). A clay floor (F05) was discovered in this block during unit excavation and was consequently divided into 2 by 2 ft sections and excavated separately. Additionally, Feature 33, a possible floor or cellar scatter located north of the excavation block, was trenched (see DAACS site map) because complete excavation was not possible due to time constraints.
Following the surface collection and block excavations, the entire site was mechanically stripped of topsoil to approximately one to two inches of subsoil then shovel shaved to fully expose features for mapping (Wheaton et al. 1983:93). After an area was mapped, all of the major features were wholly or partially excavated depending on time constraints. Drawings, photographs, and soil samples were taken of each feature excavated.
All hand-excavated units located in the block at Yaughan 75 were dug using natural stratigraphy. All soil was dry screened through 1/4 inch mesh. Soil samples were taken at each level from representative units across the block.
Summary of research and analysis
Several structures were revealed at 38BK75. Two structures were located in the block excavation: B1, B2; Structure C was located a distance from B1 and B2, to the northeast. An additional structure, referred to by excavators by it location “in dirt road,” was located a further distance to the northeast of C and was only excavated through mechanical stripping.
Structures B1, B2 and C were post-in-ground constructed, the largest of which was Structure B, comprised of two parallel and slightly-offset posthole buildings (B1 & B2) (Wheaton et al. 1983:104). The shape and size of the two structures was nearly identical, suggesting they were possibly built at the same time
Structure 75B2 had a floor midden/scatter (DAACS feature F05). It was originally thought to be trash scatter and was excavated in 10 by 10 ft quadrats making up the block excavation which revealed a line of postholes. After the discovery that F05 was most likely a floor surface, the remaining portion was gridded into two-foot squares and excavated. This excavation exposed the remaining postholes of 75B2 as well as the faint outlines of a third, earlier post-in-trench building that was mapped but not excavated. Due to the lack of postmolds visible in the trenches, it was assumed that the posts of 75B2 directly replaced the posts that had been in the trenches (Wheaton et al. 1983:113). A hearth, the only one located at Yaughan Plantation, was located just to the north of Structure 75B1 (DAACS feature F25) (Wheaton et al. 1983:118). In addition, several pits located in the block excavation area around Structures B1 and B2 (e.g. F02, F27, F29) are interpreted as secondary trash pits and evidence suggests they were initially clay extraction pits associated with the structures (see Chronology page).
Structure 75C, likely a square structure, was located in a mechanically stripped area north of the Structure B1/B2 block excavation. Due to its small size and posthole construction, it was hypothesized to be a shed rather than a domestic structure. No postholes at Structure C were excavated but a test trench was excavated through F33, a related trash pit (Wheaton et al. 1983:123). The structure located in the dirt road northeast of Structure C and excavated by mechanical stripping was identified as a trench-constructed structure, wherein a trench was dug, posts were placed down the centerline, then the trench was refilled (Wheaton et al. 1983:102). It does not appear to have been excavated beyond mechanical stripping so there do not appear to be any contexts associated with this structure in DAACS.
Leslie Cooper and Jesse Sawyer
The Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery
- The DAACS ProjectID for Yaughan 75 is 1304
- Measurements are in feet and tenths of feet
Spatial information recorded in individual context records and DAACS site maps for Yaughan 75 are based on the coordinate system established in the field that covers the entire site. Local grids that were established at excavation Blocks B and C have been converted to the large grid as well.
- Contexts 75T-L01 through L63: Surface collection over 50 x 50 ft large units. A map that references this grid with the block excavations was not located; therefore, no coordinates are given for these surface collection contexts.
- Contexts 75T-U01 through U16: Sixteen 3 x 3 ft test units placed in areas at site likely to produce the most information. The only unit that is plotted on the site map is 75T-U01. Exact locations of other test units are unknown.
Contexts associated with Block Area B, within which Structures B1 and B2 were located, have a prefix of “75B”:
- Contexts 75B-U16 through U49: 10 x 10 ft units placed in block excavation oriented around Test Phase Feature 1, associated with Structure A. Excavated to subsoil. Given coordinates based on a Block A local grid.
- Contexts 75B-B1 through B19: Six-inch balks around each unit in Block B Excavation.
- Contexts 75B-F05-01 through 75B-F05-54: 2 x 2 units in grid overlying Feature 5, a clay floor in block excavation B.
Contexts associated with Block Area C, located northeast of Block are B, have a prefix of “75C”:
- Contexts 75C-F033-1 through F033-2: Test trench contexts part of the only area excavated at Structure C; no other associated quadrats or features excavated.
The original excavators of the Yaughan 38BK75 site assigned numbers to individual features. Yaughan 75 feature numbers were assigned consecutively throughout the entire project. Excavators assigned feature numbers using an F-prefix that precedes the number (i.e. F01 is Feature 1).
Feature Groups Feature groups are sets of features whose spatial arrangements indicate they were part of a single structure (e.g. structural postholes, subfloor pits, and hearth) or landscape element (e.g. postholes that comprise a fenceline). Feature Groups assigned by DAACS have a FG-prefix, which precedes the number (i.e. FG01 equals Feature Group 1). Feature Groups were not assigned by the original excavators of Yaughan 75.
|F05||Floor, clay||75B-F05-01, 75B-F05-02, 75B-F05-03, 75B-F05-04, 75B-F05-05, 75B-F05-06, 75B-F05-07, 75B-F05-08, 75B-F05-09, 75B-F05-10, 75B-F05-11, 75B-F05-12, 75B-F05-13, 75B-F05-14, 75B-F05-15, 75B-F05-16, 75B-F05-17, 75B-F05-18, 75B-F05-19, 75B-F05-20, 75B-F05-21, 75B-F05-22, 75B-F05-23, 75B-F05-24, 75B-F05-25, 75B-F05-26, 75B-F05-27, 75B-F05-28, 75B-F05-29, 75B-F05-30, 75B-F05-31, 75B-F05-32, 75B-F05-33, 75B-F05-35, 75B-F05-36, 75B-F05-37, 75B-F05-38, 75B-F05-40, 75B-F05-41, 75B-F05-42, 75B-F05-44, 75B-F05-46, 75B-F05-47, 75B-F05-51, 75B-F05-53, 75B-F05-54|
DAACS has developed a uniform set of methods to infer intra-site chronologies for all of the sites included in the archive. These methods, which include frequency-seriation and correspondence analysis, were developed by DAACS (see Neiman, Galle, and Wheeler 2003 for technical details). The use of common methods for all sites in the archive is designed to increase comparability among temporal phases at different sites. The methods and the phase assignments they produced are summarized below. Archive users may also use the Mean Ceramic Date queries provided on the Query the Database section of this website to calculate MCDs for individual contexts or features.
DAACS Seriation Method
To create a chronology for Yaughan 75, we used correspondence analysis (CA) of ware-type frequencies. CA converts a data matrix of ware-type frequencies into a set of scores that estimate the positions of the assemblages on underlying axes or dimensions of variation. Mean Ceramic Dates (MCDs) are weighted averages of the historically documented manufacturing dates for each ware type
found in an assemblage, where the weights are the relative frequencies of the types. Measuring the correlation between CA axis scores and MCDs offer an indication of whether the CA scores capture time (Ramenofsky, Neiman and Pierce 2009).
As with other sites in the Archive, the seriation chronology for Yaughan 75 was derived from ceramic assemblages aggregated at the level of stratigraphic groups and individual contexts not assigned to stratigraphic groups. To reduce the noise introduced by sampling error, only ceramic assemblages with more than five sherds were included. We excluded assemblages from unit clean-up and surface collections. The seriation chronology presented here is the result of a correspondence analysis (CA) of ware-type frequencies from contexts that meet these requirements.
Upon examination of the CA for Yaughan 75, it is evident there are roughly two clusters of assemblages along Dimension 2 (Figure 1), whereas Dimension 1 appears to represent more variability
between assemblages than it does along the Dimension 2 axis. In addition, CA results produced a stronger correlation between Dimension 2 scores and MCDs (Figure 3) than that seen along Dimension 1 (Figures 2), suggesting that Dimension 2 represents time from top (early) to bottom (late) along the Y axis.
Based on the histogram of Dimension 2 scores where the vertical axis measures ceramic assemblage size, we divided Yaughan 75 into two occupational phases (Figures 4 and 6).
DAACS Phases are groups of assemblages that have similar correspondence-analysis scores, similar MCDs, or both, and are therefore inferred to be broadly contemporary. Phases have a P-prefix that precedes the phase number (e.g. P01 equals Phase 1). Based on the CA for the site DAACS divided the Yaughan 75 site occupation into two phases along the Dimension 2 axis (Figures 3 and 5).
Interestingly, the two phases along Dimension 2 also represent different functional “areas” at the site (Figure 5). Phase 1 assemblages are comprised of many contexts from what are interpreted as borrow pits located around Structures B1 and B2 (e.g. Features 22 and 27) while assemblages associated with occupation of the structure (e.g. Feature 05, clay floor associated with B2) comprise Phase 2. It is likely that the large pits were dug to provide clay for the construction of the nearby dwellings. These borrow pits were then gradually filled with trash and sediment over time, and were completely filled prior to the end of the longer Phase 2 occupation associated with the structures themselves. Mean ceramic dates for the two site-specific phases are given in the table below.
MCDs and BLUE MCDs for each Phase, which give less influence to ceramic types with long manufacturing spans, indicate that 38BK75 was primarily occupied from the third quarter of the eighteenth century to the end of that century. The table also provides three TPQ estimates. The first TPQ estimate is the usual one – the maximum beginning manufacturing date among all the ware-types in the assemblage.
Two other TPQ measures included in the table below are less sensitive to excavation errors and taphonomic processes that might introduce a small amount of anomalously late material into anassemblage. They are TPQp90 and TPQp95. The TPQp95 of 1775 for the two phases provides a robust estimate of the site’s TPQ based on the 95th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates for all the artifacts comprising it. The TPQp90 is also 1775 for the two phases and provides a more robust estimate of the site’s TPQ based on the 90th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates for all the artifacts comprising it.
Yaughan 75 Dates and TPQs
Incorporating data from the DAACS database, we perform the correspondence analysis through the R programming language (R Core Team 2014) to conduct the CA analysis. The CA code was written by Fraser D. Neiman. The following packages generate the data tables, CA, and plots within this code: RPostgreSQL (Conway et al. 2013), plyr (Wickham 2014), reshape2 (Wickham 2014), seriation (Hahsler et al. 2014), ca (Greenacre, Nenadic, and Friendly 2014), and ggplot2 (Wickham 2015).
All of the R code used in this analysis was written within the domain of the R Core Team at the R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria (2014). The correspondence analysis for 38BK75 was conducted and written up by Leslie Cooper, DAACS Senior Archaeological Analyst.
38BK75 Harris Matrix
The Harris Matrix summarizes stratigraphic relationships among excavated contexts and groups of contexts that DAACS staff has identified as part of the same stratigraphic group. Stratigraphic groups and contexts are represented as boxes. Lines that connect these boxes represent temporal relationships implied by the site’s stratification, as recorded by the site’s excavators (Harris 1979).
Stratigraphic groups, which represent multiple contexts, are identified on the diagram by their numeric designations (e.g. SG06) followed by the original excavator’s descriptions of them (e.g. “Plowzone”). Contexts that could not be assigned to stratigraphic groups are identified by their individual context numbers (e.g. 75B-U16-3).
Boxes with color fill represent contexts and stratigraphic groups with ceramic assemblages large enough to be included in the DAACS seriation of the site (see Chronology). Their seriation-based phase assignments are denoted by different colors to facilitate evaluation of the agreement between the stratigraphic and seriation chronologies. Grey boxes represent contexts that were not included in the seriation because of small ceramic samples.
See the Yaughan Chronology page for Stratigraphic and Phase information. Please note that some of the contexts present in the chronology analysis are not visualized on the Harris Matrix. The contexts that are not included do not have any stratigraphic relationships with other contexts. The lack of relationships can occur for a few reasons but two common examples are 1) the artifacts are from a surface collection, which is entered into DAACS as a context but does not have recorded relationships to other contexts that are below it ; 2) in cases where topsoil and plowzone are stripped and discarded, there may be features below the plowzone that are comprised of a single context. Since the plowzone does not exist as a documented context with artifacts, it cannot seal the single-context feature. DAACS also does not record subsoil as a context, so there is nothing for that single context feature to intrude or seal.
This Harris Matrix is based on data on stratigraphic relationships recorded among contexts in the DAACS database. It was drawn with the ArchEd application. See http://www.ads.tuwien.ac.at/arched/index.html.
For a printable version, download the Harris Matrix [1.04 MB PDF].
Site plan in dgn format.
2003 Tangible Interaction: Evidence from Stobo Plantation, Another's country: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives on Cultural Interactions in the Southern Colonies in Historical Archaeology, Vol. 37, No. 4 Edited by J.W. Joseph and Martha Zierden.
Brockington, Paul , Jr.
Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Research Manuscript Series No. 169, 1980. Cooper River Rediversion Canal Archaeological Survey., Research Manuscript Series No. 169.
1989 Lowcountry Plantations, The Catawba Nation, and River Burnished Pottery, Studies in South Carolina Archaeology: Essays in Honor of Robert L. Stephenson in Anthropological Studies. Book 10. Goodyear, Albert C. and Hanson, Glen T.
Garrow, Patrick , and Thomas Wheaton
1985 Acculteration and the Archaeological Record in the Carolina Lowcountry., The Archaeology of Slavery and Plantation Life
Wheaton, Thomas , Amy Friedlander , and Patrick Garrow
1983 Yaughan and Curriboo Plantations: Studies in Afro-American Archaeology. Soil Systems, Atlanta, Georgia.