Hilton Head Island Airport
Mitchelville Investigations

Archaeologist James Page excavates a bisected barrel well at the site of Mitchelville on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Archaeologist James Page excavates a bisected barrel well at the site of Mitchelville on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

In 2012-13, Brockington completed cultural resources investigations of 76 acres at the Hilton Head Island Airport (HXD), Beaufort County, South Carolina. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed safety improvements to the airport, including runway and taxiway extensions. During the NEPA scoping process, we advised our client, Talbert, Bright, & Ellington, that runway extension to the northeast would likely affect the site of a former freemen’s village, known as Mitchelville. The Mitchelville archaeological site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1988. The original Mitchelville settlement was about two miles long by one mile wide, and included approximately 500 houses with 3000 residents by 1865.

A review of historic maps confirmed the settlement was larger than listed on the NRHP and extended into the airport expansion study area. During the cultural resources survey, we identified 38BU2301 and recommended it eligible for the NRHP. During the survey, we also evaluated architectural properties within the Area of Potential Effect (APE). We identified three historically African American churches and were requested to conduct additional examination of each to determine if they had significance as Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs), a special category of NRHP properties. Through ethnohistorical research and consultations with the local Gullah community, Brockington determined that each of the three church properties reflected the practice, stories, and remembrances of the Gullah cultural group and held significance as TCPs. Consultation between the FAA and SCSHPO resulted in finding of no adverse effects to the TCPs.

Exhibit designed by the History Workshop.

In 2013, we conducted an archaeological data recovery at the site and completed the report within six months to assist the FAA and HXD meet their construction and permitting schedule. Archaeological features identified during the fieldwork included house posts, trashpits, a large midden, and barrel wells. Laboratory analysts recorded 20,832 artifacts. Another mitigation requirement was the development of interpretive public exhibits and an educational video of Mitchelville’s history. The History Workshop opened the exhibit and video at the Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island in January 2014.

Employee Profile: CHRIS LANKFORD

Technician at Brockington’s Elizabethtown Office

James Page and Lankford on survey at Fort Campbell, Kentucky

James Page and Lankford on survey at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Q: What is your role at Brockington, and how long have you worked for the company?

A: My role at Brockington is as an Archaeological Field Technician for the Elizabethtown Kentucky office. I started in the fall of 2007 and have continued for six years now. For the most part, I am on survey either at Fort Knox Kentucky Army Base, digging on various projects around the Commonwealth or working out of state. That is how I rock n’ roll!

Q: What is your educational background?

A: I started at Jefferson Community College in 2000 with no real direction as to a career. In my second year at JCC, I took an intro course to anthropology the first semester and an intro to archaeology the next. After completing the archaeology course, the professor strongly recommended archaeology as a career. I considered the advice at the time. I graduated from JCC in 2003 with an Associates of Arts and transferred to the University of Louisville. About my second year at Louisville I majored in Anthropology focusing in classes on Archaeology. In 2007, I graduated from the University of Louisville with a BA in Anthropology and was already working for KAS (Kentucky Archaeology Survey) with archaeologists Lori C. Stahlgren and M. Jay Stottman.

The Brockington crew, phase two, Kyles Ford Tennessee.

The Brockington crew, phase two, Kyles Ford Tennessee.

Q: How did you become interested in cultural resources management?

A: My interest stems from working in Louisville at Riverside Farsley-Moremon Landing (a 19th-century, plantation-style home in Southwest Jefferson County, Kentucky). There I worked with Jay Stottman between 2004 to 2007 digging on several Phase III sites for KAS in a program called Building Blocks. School kids would come out to Riverside for Building Blocks to learn about the plantation’s history. There were always three groups of kids and each group rotated from a house tour, making a brick (in the 1830s, plantation slaves made the bricks on site that built the Riverside house) and a lesson in archaeology. It was a lot of fun teaching the kids, and participating in archaeology made history real for them. And that is what sparked my interest, the reality of going out into the field, finding a site, and applying the archaeological methods.

Allison Mangin, Andrew Carbo and Lankford on survey at Tioga Falls near Fort Knox.

Allison Mangin, Andrew Carbo and Lankford on survey at Tioga Falls near Fort Knox.

Q: What is your favorite project that you have worked on while at Brockington?

A: I don’t really have a favorite; I’ve worked on so many. Each project that I have contributed to has its own interest for me. One that comes to mind; however, was working down in Alabama along I-85. On survey, we came across a previously-recorded Native American Mound and were able to add a little more to the archaeological record for that site. On that project, we stayed in Selma, our lodging was the St. James Hotel built in the 1830s. My room had a balcony, and I would sit out there after the work day and watch the Alabama River roll on by. So, every project I survey on has a uniqueness, and charm, some more than others.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: For fun I smoke bar-b-que and play music. Almost every Thursday evening I go down to Elizabethtown and join in a small music jam. We are all mostly guitars and a harmonica; however, there might be someone with a mandolin, fiddle, or dulcimer at times. Everyone brings their own musical preference to the group. I like to play Jimmie Rodgers and John Prine tunes, another dude plays Dylan, and we have some folks who play in the minor keys as well. Ha!

Featured Service:
Lithic Analysis

Microwear analysis.

Brockington and Associates’ Laboratories is pleased to provide a broad spectrum of Lithic Analysis services, ranging from the most basic identification of lithic artifacts to complex analyses of entire prehistoric lithic assemblages. The lithic analysts at Brockington combine standardized, innovative, and experimental approaches to produce the most holistic results and interpretations.

Our skilled analysts take pride in the ability to offer multiple levels of lithic analysis to our clients. In addition to general lithic analyses, Brockington and Associates is excited to announce that we are now offering lithic microwear analyses to our clients. This includes low-power microscopic analyses of lithic tool assemblages using an Omax trinocular microscope with zoom lenses capable of magnifications of 10X to 60X for all microscopic examinations.

The goals of microscopic analysis include:

  1. identification of utilized tools;
  2. determination of tool function; and
  3. determination of site activity areas.

Once tool categories are established and the function of these tools determined, we can attempt to identify activity areas within a site to increase our understanding of site formation processes and site function. This is particularly useful at the Phase I and II levels when identifying and analyzing flake tools. Archaeologist Phyllis Johnson recently utilized this method of study to examine the lithic assemblage from Site 15MD563 in Meade County, KY. The microscopic analysis of these implements indicates that flakes were utilized exclusively for expedient activities, which supports the conclusion that this site was utilized as a short-term occupation.

The History Workshop
OSU Oil History Exhibit

OSU Oil History Exhibit. Photo courtesy of Petty Family Archives.

Photo courtesy of Petty Family Archives.

The History Workshop expanded its reach west this year with a new exhibition about the history of oil exploration in Oklahoma and throughout the western United States for the Historic Preservation Committee of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and Oklahoma State University. The exhibit is installed in the Noble Research Center at OSU. We had the pleasure of working with Dr. Brian Frehner, Professor of History at OSU, as we delved into the history and science of exploration geophysics.

Geophysics is a vast field of science concerned with the physical properties of the Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, crust, mantel, and core. In the early twentieth century, a sub-discipline known as exploration geophysics emerged as people began to devise instruments for the specific purpose of locating petroleum and other natural resources. Prior to the advent of exploration geophysics, oil prospectors relied upon the human senses of sight, smell, and touch to locate petroleum. In 1919, German scientist Ludger Mintrop changed exploration forever with his portable seismograph, a device that measured seismic waves generated by man-made explosions to find geological formations that contained oil. From that point forward, oil exploration was revolutionized by greatly expanding the depths to which scientists could “see” under the earth’s surface and map its oil-bearing strata. Their efforts made a century of oil abundance possible.

Our exhibit details the technology that was invented and refined to find oil across the globe, from the first portable seismographs to digital technology developed in the latter half of the twentieth century. The permanent exhibit features large interpretive panels and displays of objects from the university’s collection of oil exploration equipment. We also developed a traveling version of the exhibit. Dr. Frehner debuted this four-panel exhibit at the 2012 Society of Exploration Geophysicists Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.