Dorchester Heritage Center and Brockington and Associates team up to save local historic artifacts

Archaeologist Jeff Sherard presents artifacts collected by Brockington & Assoc. to Board of Trustee members Brunson Westbury and Deborah Davis at the Dorchester Heritage Center.
Archaeologist Jeff Sherard presents artifacts collected by Brockington & Assoc. to Board of Trustee members Brunson Westbury and Deborah Davis at the Dorchester Heritage Center.

The communities of Dorchester, Berkeley and Charleston Counties are growing at a record pace. As more businesses move into our area, new jobs are driving the development of many new housing developments. Though our communities' economic boom and growth are welcome, preserving our local history and landmarks is challenged by the growth.

Brockington & Associates, a nationwide cultural resource management firm, provides a broad spectrum of cultural resources consulting services. They identify and evaluate archaeological sites, historic buildings, and other cultural properties following current environmental laws and regulations. In this process, they often discover the artifacts of our rich local history, including Native American, Pioneer, Colonial, and Early American settlements.

Although the recovery of these artifacts is extremely important, archiving them and making them accessible to researchers is an ongoing challenge for archaeologists everywhere, particularly in South Carolina. Until now, there was only one repository for archaeological collections in the entire state, the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. SCIAA's reluctance to accept new collections or make their existing collections accessible to researchers has resulted in significant collections being sent to repositories out of state. The Dorchester Heritage Center responded to this problem by becoming the only repository in South Carolina that meets federal curation standards, accepts local collections, and makes them accessible to the public.

On August 26th, 2020, Jeff Sherard, an archaeologist and lab manager at Brockington, delivered the first six boxes of artifacts to the Dorchester Heritage Center. The artifacts came from the archaeological excavation of Site 38DR250 in lower Dorchester County. Excavations documented an eighteenth-century farm operated by the Haskin family, who raised horses for residents of Dorchester and the many Upper Ashley River plantations that emerged during this time. The recovery of later period ceramic wares and documentation of a heavy amount of charred brick rubble also indicates that a small freemen or tenant house was located at the site. During the antebellum period, the property was part of the larger Oak Forest Plantation.

LaClaire Mizell, Director of the Dorchester Heritage Center Museum and Archive, stated, "This partnership with Brockington is critical to help us preserve these artifacts for future research and understanding of our history. As our communities grow, we want to make sure our history is not lost in the process."

Ralph Bailey, Vice President at Brockington and Associates, "This is yet another example of DHC's dedication and commitment to the people of Dorchester County and our shared history. It is reassuring to know that these significant collections will not only be preserved but accessible to the public."

The Dorchester Heritage Center is in the former Dorchester County Courthouse in St George, SC. During the pandemic, its Museum and Research Library are open by appointment. Visit their website at https://www.dhc-sc.com/ or call 843-931-1021. To learn more about Brockington and Associates, visit their website at https://brockington.org/.

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