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By Alex Sweeney

2009 Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada

The Yamasee Indians, a multiethnic conglomeration of Native Americans, lived along the lower coastal plain of South Carolina between 1683 and 1715. Altamaha Town, the capital of the Lower Yamasee Indians, was likely occupied as early as 1695 and abandoned shortly after the start of the Yamasee War in 1715. Archival documentation and maps have provided researchers information regarding Yamasee ethnohistoric origins, political structure, relations with English traders, and archaeological site locations. Recent excavations at Altamaha Town recovered more than 60,000 artifacts and identified numerous cultural features associated with several structures. Information derived from historical documentation, along with the data from the excavations at Altamaha Town, have allowed a more concrete perspective into the lifeways of this historic group of indigenous people. This paper summarizes the field investigations and the ongoing research of the data collected, and provides initial interpretations from the Altamaha Town excavations.


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