Group digs into local history one rock at a time

Volunteers dig an excavation site

Volunteers dig an excavation site

First Byline: 
Jonathan Vickery - Staff Writer

Digging their way down 10 centimeters at a time, a group of archeological enthusiasts searched for hidden treasures from the past.
The group, which included people from several southeastern states, converged on the private property site near Toby Creek in Barnwell County Dec. 9-13. They were searching for prehistoric evidence - the time period before written records were kept.
"You never know what you're going to find," said Doug Sain, a doctoral student at the University of Tennessee who helped at the site. While this was his first time at the Toby Creek site, Sain has been numerous times to the Topper Site in Martin.
They were invited to the recent dig after the property owner, Lorene Fisher, found arrowheads. Since prehistoric people often set up campsites near water, Sain said they wanted to see what evidence they could find of prehistoric settlements around this site since it is so close to the water.
The group was trying to gain a better perspective of how some of the artifacts they found were made, specifically whether or not materials had to be brought in or if there was a source nearby. They located several pieces of chert rock, a popular material used to make prehistoric tools and weapons, such as arrowheads. "You see all that work, that investment," said Sain, whose wife Christina also took part in the excavation.
Jessica Phillips, the property owner's granddaughter, who is also involved with the Southeastern Paleoamerican Survey, said the group, many of whom they've gotten to know at the Topper Site, have become an extended family.
Excavations like this are important because they unearth "glimpses of the past", allowing a new generation to learn about history, Sain said.
Phillips said they plan to return to the site to continue digging up the past.