Archaeological Fall Field Day
On Saturday, September 21, CMA cadets traveled to Santee State Park for the annual Archaeology Fall Field Day, put on every year by the Archaeological Society of South Carolina (ASSC). The boys were accompanied by MSG Tom Hewitt (Science Department Head), Maj. Tariq Ghaffar (English Department Head) and Taft Alford (new science teacher and trained archaeologist). At the event, students watched demonstrations of ancient tool technologies by Sean Taylor (DNR Archaeologist) and author Scott Jones. The cadets were also privy to demonstrations of fire-starting by primitive technologist Fuzz Sanders and pottery-making by Bobby Southerlin (President of Archaeological Consultants of the Carolinas). Additionally, historian Terry James discussed the post-bellum sharecroppers’ culture, and SC Institute of Archaeology diver Carl Naylor manned an underwater archaeology exhibit.
After visiting these exhibits, cadets were given the opportunity to participate in excavations on a real prehistoric site. There they worked with professional archaeologists, screened soils and recovered artifacts as old as old as 5,000 years.
Following lunch, the cadets loaded onto their bus and were shuttled to the other side of the lake for a visit to a very special prehistoric and historic site. The site consisted of a Mississippian Indian mound dating from about 1,000 to 400 years before present. Major Ghaffar gave a lecture on the prehistoric culture which built the mound. Following this, Dr. Leland Ferguson, USC Professor Emeritus gave the cadets a lecture on the mound’s historical background. Hundreds of years after its occupation by Indians, the mound was used as a fort (Fort Watson) by British soldiers during the American Revolutionary War. Dr. Ferguson told the boys the amazing story of how Francis Marion besieged and defeated the British here through cunning, ingenuity and audacity.