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Members of public can attend historic shell site dig

The public is invited to help with excavations at a historical Edisto Island site that is being threatened by erosion.
S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) is hosting archeological excavations at Pockoy Island, a massive shell mound site located inside Botany Bay on Edisto Island, near Edisto Beach.
Pockoy Island recently received national attention when it was featured on “The Ring People,” a documentary produced in 2019. The documentary featured historical rings of shells that built the American Indians. This is the oldest known shell ring in South Carolina, dating back about 4,300 years. This is the same time as the construction of the first Egyptian pyramids.
The actual excavation of Pockoy Island at Botany Bay will happen during a nearly three-week period, starting on Friday, May 1st, and lasting until Saturday, May 23rd.
During this time, the public is invited to be a part of the experience, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Wednesday through Saturday. The site is closed to the public on Sundays through Tuesdays during this time frame.
The Pockoy Island site resembles a large, layered donut of shells. It is included in the Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve, which is part of S.C. Department of Natural Resources. The Plantation Heritage Preserve acts to help preserve and protect natural properties in the state that are at severe risk of being destroyed by Mother Nature.
According to S.C. DNR, the Pockoy Island Shell Ring is part of thousands of archaeological sites along South Carolina’s coastline that are being threatened by “rapid erosion.” Officials estimate that Pockoy Island will be gone by 2024, based on current erosion rates.
“For nearly 70 years, Botany Bay Plantation has experienced one of the highest rates of erosion in coastal South Carolina,” as stated by S.C. DNR. “The shoreline has moved as much as three-quarters-of-a-mile inland in some locations.”
In addition to the Pockoy Island shell site, three other sites are part of the Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve that are severely threatened by erosion. These threatened sites are the Spanish Mount, a 4,000year-old shell mount in Edisto Beach State Park; Fort Frederick, a fort constructed by the British Colonel Government in Port Royal between 1730 and 1734; and the historic City of Charleston.
Anyone wanting to be part of this evacuation of the Pockoy Island site can register online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/guided-tours-of-the-pockoy-island-archaeological-excavation-tickets-84750074755.
Members of the public can also volunteer to help officials sift through the collected remains of the site and to look for artifacts. Anyone wanting to volunteer and be a part of this can pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/volunteer-at-the-pockoy-island-archaeological-excavation-tickets-85202957339.

Heather Walters (1738 Posts)