South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Chester Field, Beaufort County (Address Restricted)
S1081770700301 S1081770700302
View of the Ring View of the Ring

Chester Field is one of 20 or more prehistoric shell rings located from the central coast of South Carolina to the central coast of Georgia. All are believed to date early in the second millennium BC, and they contain some of the earliest pottery known in North America. The midden stands about 4 feet above a flat central area, which is about 13 feet above mean sea level. The interior and areas surrounding the ring are free of shells or other debris. The midden is composed primarily of oyster shell with lesser amounts of other mollusks, animal bone, and pottery sherds. Two trenches pass through the perimeter of the ring on the east and north edges, but approximately 45 percent of the ring is intact. The function of the ring shape is unknown, although the rings appear to be carefully planned and systematically deposited structures. As such, they also present one of the earliest records of sedentary life among people who must have lived entirely by foraging. Listed in the National Register October 15, 1970.

View the complete text of the nomination form for this National Register property. In addition, the Historic Resources of the Late Archaic-Early Woodland Period Shell Rings of South Carolina, ca. 1,000-2,200 years B.C. includes historical background information for this and other related National Register properties.

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