CMA Archaeological Society
Camden Military Academy Archaeological Society (CMAAS)
Led by Maj. Tariq Ghaffar
On Saturday, Feb.4, cadets traveled to Cayce, SC to help locate the 1750’s town of St John’s. Cadets arrived in the morning for a lecture by James Stewart, professional archaeologist. From the lecture they learned about the history of the lost town and Ft. Congaree (Site 38Lx319), the military post established to protect the deerskin trade with the Cherokees in 1718 and later St Johns. Though the town was never attacked in the 18th Century, it was under threat from the French and the Choctaw Indians from the west. Cadets carefully listen to James Stewart whose master’s thesis is about the site.
Afterward, cadets were assigned professional archaeologists from whom they would learn about how to dig shovel tests and how to record and interpret data they recovered. Each two cadets accompanied one professional archaeologist, with the exception of Cadet Thompson, J. who was paired with Major Ghaffar.
At noon our cadets took their much deserved lunch break. While some reassessed the historical report they had been furnished at the CMAAS meeting the day before, others slaked their curiosity by exploring the banks of Congaree Creek.
After lunch, cadets returned to their work, each team digging shovel tests on an established grid at 30-meter intervals. Though the data they collected cannot be interpreted fully until the artifacts have all been washed and analyzed, some level of in-field interpretation is possible. For example, Cadets Vogel and Azari recovered a clay pipe in association with an arrow point and a piece of Cherokee pottery, indicating that they were most likely digging in the old Cherokee trading village.