Conservation // 5 min Read

Palmetto Bluff Preserved: Cataloging Artifacts Found at the Bluff

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Aug 12, 2022

History is the fabric of our community, and with the help of our on-site archaeologists, Dr. Mary Socci and Katie Epps, we’re expanding what we know about those who came before us.

And as you can expect, with over 20,000 acres, this research takes time. Through the efforts of the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, Dr. Socci and her team have spent the past several years finding and recording the area's historical and cultural sites. To date, we have uncovered more than 13,000 years of history—with the oldest artifact dating back to 10,000 B.C.

As we continue to uncover details of our past, we remain dedicated to learning and preserving the rich history that surrounds Palmetto Bluff and the surrounding Lowcountry. Most recently, Dr. Socci and Katie have been cataloging some of the artifacts found at the Bluff—revealing details about Palmetto Bluff’s previous occupants.

Creamware Plate
This creamware plate was found at one of the plantation sites at Palmetto Bluff. This is a common find at these sites. This pattern dates to 1762-1820. It was mended by our intern, Zoe Klauck.
Bone, Glass, Shell, Metal, and Ceramic Buttons Found on a Plantation
Buttons made of bone, glass, shell, metal, and ceramic found at a plantation site. (Losing buttons off one’s clothing has been a problem for generations!)
Tabacco Pipe Stems
These tobacco pipe stems made of kaolin clay date back to the 18th and 19th century. While no tobacco was grown at Palmetto Bluff, from the number of fragments of pipes found at historic sites here, it’s clear that smoking was very popular.
Glass Bottles
These bottles were painstakingly pieced together by Zoe, our intern.
Oyster Grab Tool
Sometimes artifacts require special treatment to preserve them. This is half of a tool known as an “oyster grab” that was used for harvesting oysters in the late 19th century. It is undergoing electrolysis, a process that removes rust and helps to conserve the metal.