October's floods unearthed an incredible archaeological discovery in Richland County

October's floods may have been devastating, but they unearthed an incredible discovery. (Source: WIS)
October's floods may have been devastating, but they unearthed an incredible discovery. (Source: WIS)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - While October's flood wreaked havoc on our community, it also unveiled some clues to Richland County's history.

State archaeologists spent the day at the McCrady Training Center on Fort Jackson investigating and documenting 1-ton wooden beams tossed aside by powerful waters.

A creek was once believed to be the home of Garner's Mill -- the same Garner for which Garners Ferry is named. The site was originally discovered in 1992, but now new construction features have been revealed.

After taking a look, archaeologists noticed wooden beams and steel nails. They were revealed after two to three feet of standing water caused the soil to wash away.

The experts examining the site say it looks to be a plank road, possibly stretching all the way to Winnsboro, but it also could've been an approach to a bridge, assuming the area was prone to flooding years ago just like it did in October. Once studied, it will be covered and reburied to protect the timber should it ever need to be reexamined.

"There are people who this land is significant to," SCANG Cultural Resource Manager Jason Moser said. "And so knowing people are really attached to their history, especially here in South Carolina, I think it's a good thing to try to record these things while they're still here because they disappear so quick."

Archaeologists hope to find clues about what was produced at the mill and what type of community surrounded it in the early 1800s.

"Well, we believe all archaeological sites have something to say," archaeologist James Spirek said. "And, like I said, it's still a mystery what type of activities were going on here. So we want to get it before it just erodes away and we don't know anything about the past in this area."

Another reason for the project -- anytime an archaeological site is found on federally funded land, it must be assessed to determine if it's significant.

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