PAST – The Piedmont Archaeological Studies Trust is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to illuminating our prehistoric and historic understanding of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge of the Carolinas. Its primary goals are to further archaeological research, education, and outreach. Past seeks to accomplish its mission and achieve its goals through support and conduct of professional and scientific survey, excavation, analysis and publication of findings from significant prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge regions of South Carolina.
PAST is a continuation of an informal group, begun in 2003, known as the upstate South Carolina Archaeological Research Group (USCARG). USCARG was formed by several professional archaeologists, avocational archaeologists and others who believe that insufficient archaeological research was being done in the upstate of South Carolina and that the rapid development of the area was destroying significant archaeological resources.
Since 2003 investigations supported and conducted initially by USCARG, and now PAST, have discovered and documented several important archaeological sites in the Upstate. Of particular note are the Robertson Farm Sites 1 and 2 formally known as 38GR1 and 38PN35. These are multi-component sites located across the South Saluda River from one another on both sides of the Greenville and Pickens County line. Significant discoveries at these sites include structures dating to his the Mississippian Pisgah Phase, palisade(s) dating to the Pisgah Phase and possibly Middle Woodland Connestee Phase, and a well documented stratigraphic sequence spanning 12,000 years from 500 to 12,500 years BP. The stratigraphic sequence, containing Woodland, Archaic and Paleo-Indian occupations is supported by 50 radiocarbon dates and six OSL dates. An important aspect of the current analysis of these sites focuses on a synthesis of the chronological, paleobotanical and geoarchaeological data to model climatic variability and its relation to cultural adaptations.
Also of particular note is the continuation of rock shelter and rock art surveys in the upstate. Much of this research has been recently summarized in Discovering South Carolina’s Rock Art by Tommy Charles, published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2010. A new book and accompanying interactive website documenting the prehistoric projectile points of South Carolina is currently under development.
Education and Outreach
In previous years students from Wofford College have been involved with field schools and laboratory research associated with the investigations at the Robertson Farm sites. PAST plans to continue and expand the research related activities with Wofford College and other interested institutions of higher learning. Secondary school and civic groups such as scouts have also visited the Robertson Farm sites for educational activates and as volunteers in the investigations. Increasing numbers of professionals, avocational archaeologists, and interest members of the public have visited and volunteered during the field and laboratory investigations over the past several years. Participation in community outreach events such as artifact identification and book signings have also occurred with some regularity.
Your support in helping PAST successfully fulfill its mission and reach its goals is greatly appreciated.