University of South Carolina

Dig it! Volunteers can sign up to excavate at Topper site

By Peggy Binette,, 803-777-5400

The University of South Carolina is accepting registrations from volunteers to help excavate archaeological sites along the Savannah River April 30-June 2.

The expedition will be led by archaeologist Albert Goodyear, whose discoveries at the Topper site in Allendale County have captured international media attention.

Volunteers will learn excavation techniques and how to identify Clovis and pre-Clovis artifacts in several prehistoric chert quarries. This year, some volunteers may also 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, S.C. Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA), 1321 Pendleton St., Columbia, SC 29208. Volunteers can register online or by calling 803-576-6579.

Goodyear’s search for a pre-Clovis culture – ice age man in South Carolina – began in Allendale County in 1998 when he found artifacts that dated back 16,000 years. In May 2004, volunteers excavating the site were part of a monumental discovery. Pre-Clovis artifacts found in the Pleistocene terrace soil, some four meters (12-13 feet) below the ground surface, were radiocarbon-dated to be at least 50,000 years old, which placed humans in North America long before the last ice age.

Questions should be directed to Goodyear at 803-576-6579 or via email at or

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Posted: 04/03/12 @ 1:15 PM | Updated: 04/03/12 @ 2:02 PM | Permalink