Volunteers sought for Topper archaeological dig in Allendale County

Friday, April 6, 2012 2:25 PM
Last updated Saturday, April 7, 2012 1:07 AM
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One of the continent’s oldest and most controversial archaeological excavations will be opened to volunteers this spring.

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Field technician Tariq Ghaffar digs in a prehistoric chert quarry at the Topper Site in Allendale County, S.C., where evidence of human occupation has been dated as far back as 50,000 years.
Field technician Tariq Ghaffar digs in a prehistoric chert quarry at the Topper Site in Allendale County, S.C., where evidence of human occupation has been dated as far back as 50,000 years.

The series of expeditions, to be held April 30 through June 2, will be led by University of South Carolina archaeologist Albert Goodyear, whose discoveries at the Topper site in Allendale County have captured international attention and stimulated new debate over when humans first arrived in North America.

Goodyear’s search for a pre-Clovis culture — ice age man in South Carolina — began in Allendale County in 1998 when artifacts dug from the banks of the Savannah River were dated back 16,000 years — about 2,500 years earlier than when man was thought to have appeared on the continent.

Deeper excavations yielded even more primitive artifacts radiocarbon-dated to be 50,000 years old, which placed humans in North America long before the last ice age. The extreme age of the earliest artifacts has been controversial, and work is under way now to verify those ages with new diagnostic techniques.

“We are attempting to redate the site to resolve the apparent great age of it, but that will be months before we know anything,” Goodyear said. “We are working with a geologist who does paleomagnetism searching for a deviation in the earth’s magnetic field that happened 40,000 years ago. If he can detect that, it will show that the site at least that old and younger.”

Excavations at the site, meanwhile, will continue this spring and summer, with opportunities for volunteers to dig alongside archaeologists and learn about studies of early man.

Volunteers participating in the university’s “Dig It” program will learn how to identify Clovis and pre-Clovis artifacts in several prehistoric chert quarries. This year, some volunteers also might be involved in the excavation of a nearby Paleoamerican site known as the Charles site.

The cost is $488 per week ($400 is tax deductible) and includes evening lectures and programs, lunch and evening meals, a workbook and a T-shirt. Lodging, which is not included in the fee, is available at a nearby campsite or in motels 30 minutes from the dig sites.

A $60 deposit is required, payable to the USC Educational Foundation and mailed to Albert Goodyear, South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA), 1321 Pendleton St., Columbia, SC 29208. Volunteers can register online or by calling (803) 576-6579.

Questions can be directed to Goodyear via e-mail at goodyear@mailbox.sc.edu or tap@archaeologynet.org

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debbiep38
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debbiep38 04/06/12 - 04:08 pm
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Do we get to keep the points
Unpublished

Do we get to keep the points we find? LOL

TK3
562
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TK3 04/06/12 - 07:38 pm
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Interesting; "a deviation in

Interesting;
"a deviation in the earth’s magnetic field that happened 40,000 years ago."
Have to look into that little (2012) tidbit.

wondersnevercease
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wondersnevercease 04/06/12 - 07:56 pm
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Now this sounds like
Unpublished

Now this sounds like something to look into..................

KSL
126919
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KSL 04/06/12 - 08:15 pm
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I remember reading about this

I remember reading about this site years ago. Very interesting. It means that caucasians were here before the American Indians, whose ancestors crossed the Bering Strait. What happened to them? Puts a different slant on things, doesn't it?

ForeverFrog
1
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ForeverFrog 04/07/12 - 02:57 am
1
2
Creationists believe the

Creationists believe the Earth's only 6K old so this must be a mistake. Right?

Riverman1
82450
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Riverman1 04/07/12 - 06:59 am
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This dig site is getting to

This dig site is getting to be like a gold mining boom town. I should go there and open up a saloon and bring the girls in from Kansas City on the stagecoach. Hire Wyatt Earp, too.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/07/12 - 07:24 am
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It would be very interesting

It would be very interesting if new dating technology can prove this is a pre-Clovis civilization. Right here in the CSRA on the river. All kinds of interesting people have lived on the river. Today, too. Heh.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 04/07/12 - 10:28 am
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There are a number of

There are a number of pre-clovis finds. All the Native americans are related to the Clovis population by mitochondrial DNA by a founder effect. It will be interesting to study the genetics of this earlier culture. So we replace native americans and native american obviously displaced the pre-clovis culture. Always competetion-once Homo erectus and neaderthals dominated the planet until about 10,000 years ago and Modern man (H. sapiens) left Africa and dominated the planet.Funny how the displacing cultures always calls the culture to be dominated savage or primitive.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/07/12 - 10:54 am
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Bizkit, it would be

Bizkit, it would be interesting if it is pre-Clovis, but all the pre-Clovis locations are now debatable. Many believe they are early Clovis. Hopefully, this new technology in the article can definitively determine what's what.

One thing that's always caught my attention because I lived in Asia for 4 years is their noses are smaller compared to American Indians. So how did that happen? Maybe the Clovis did mix with Europeans.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 04/07/12 - 11:42 am
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vol·un·teer/ˌvälənˈti(ə)r/ No

vol·un·teer/ˌvälənˈti(ə)r/
Noun:A person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.

I think they stretch the definition of volunteer. "The cost is $488 per week" "and includes evening lectures and programs, lunch and evening meals, a workbook and a T-shirt".

That's kind of like charging a kidney donor for the surgery to cut out their voluntarily donated kidney and saying the cost includes sewing them up.

Bizkit
30864
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Bizkit 04/07/12 - 11:44 am
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Cost. Usually summer projects

Cost. Usually summer projects pay students to participate. We usually encourage students to take advantage of such experiences-but not this one.

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