"My Heart is Still in My Old House" Archaeological Investigation at Hartstene's Chinquapin Hill Plantation (38BU1768), Beaufort County, South Carolina


Brockington and Associates, Inc., conducted Phase III archaeological data recovery excavations at 38BU1768 in July and August 2003. Archaeological site 38BU1768 is located in the Palmetto Bluff Phase I Development Tract, Beaufort County, South Carolina. These investigations were conducted under the Treatment Plan approved by South Carolina Department of Archives and History on October 23, 2002, and in partial agreement of the stipulations of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), the South Carolina Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM), and Palmetto Bluff, LLC.

Site 38BU1768 contains the remains of the Hartstene settlement of Chinquapin Hill plantation along the May River. Poplin (2002) conducted a systematic survey of 38BU1768 during a Phase I survey of the Palmetto Bluff Phase I Development Tract. The site was recommended eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) following subsequent testing of the site by Poplin (2002). A preservation area was defined in the northeastern portion of the site, which contained a dense concentration of artifacts and cultural deposits considered potentially useful for answering research questions regarding the past lifeways at Chinquapin Hill plantation. The current data recovery excavations were focused within the preservation area of 38BU1768.

During the data recovery investigations, archaeologists excavated 50-by-50-cm units on a 5-meter grid and several 1-by-1-meter and 1-by-2-meter excavation units at 38BU1768. A metal detector was also used to locate additional artifacts within the site. A backhoe mechanically excavated large areas within the site to expose features. These excavations yielded substantial data that have been used to address research themes concerning the historic occupations of the site. Also, public participation was also utilized at the site through the program initiated by Palmetto Bluff, LLC. Volunteers from the local Hilton Head chapter of the Archaeological Society of South Carolina, Inc. (ASSC) and local Boy Scout Troop 241 participated in excavations at 38BU1768.

Excavations in the central portion of the site exposed the planter’s house constructed of tabby mortar and tabby and red clay bricks, as well as an addition that likely served as an attached kitchen. To the west of the main house we identified an additional residence, built using salvaged red clay bricks. Our investigations also exposed the possible remnants of another small outbuilding in the northern area of the site, which is located in the area of a dense refuse midden. The data obtained through our excavations in conjunction with information recovered through archival research have allowed us to explore different research themes and examine various aspects of nineteenth-century planter lifeways within Palmetto Bluff.

No definitive archival documentation exists for the second residence, located just west of the Hartstene house. This second home was constructed using red clay bricks salvaged from another structure to build its structural piers and centrally located chimney. Our investigations have deduced two possible interpretations for the occupants of this home. The first interpretation for the home is that it served as a residence for an overseer to the plantation. Since historical documentation does not confirm that Henry and his wife were living at the property until 1857, it is likely that they resided at their home in Savannah. Therefore, utilizing an overseer to manage the property and labor force would have been essential to maintaining a successful plantation. A second possibility for the interpretation of this house is that it was occupied by slaves working on the plantation. Based on the frequency of high-cost ceramics, the occupants of this home displayed slightly lower wealth than the occupants of the main house, a pattern that is consistent for all the planter-slave relationships among all the other Palmetto Bluff plantations. However, the absence of colonoware ceramics and the close proximity to the main house suggests that this was not occupied by slaves.

Cite this Record

"My Heart is Still in My Old House" Archaeological Investigation at Hartstene's Chinquapin Hill Plantation (38BU1768), Beaufort County, South Carolina. Jeffrey W. Gardner, Alexander Y. Sweeney, Carolyn Rock, Charles Philips Jr., Meagan Brady, Alana Lynch, Dea Mozingo. Brockington and Associates, Inc. 2008 ( tDAR id: 391096) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8RN38Q4

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.929; min lat: 32.079 ; max long: -80.762; max lat: 32.249 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Alexander Y. Sweeney; Carolyn Rock; Charles Philips Jr.; Meagan Brady; Dea Mozingo

Principal Investigator(s): Jeffrey W. Gardner

Landowner(s): Palmetto Bluff, LLC

Sponsor(s): Palmetto Bluff, LLC

Submitted To(s): South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)

Record Identifiers

Brockington and Associates, Inc., report number(s): 1880


General Note: Curation facility: South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology

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