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

Sea Pines, Beaufort County (Address Restricted)
S1081770700401 S1081770700402
View of Ring Excavation

The Sea Pines site 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 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. Sea Pines shell ring, because of its uniform low height or depth of deposit, was probably abandoned after relatively brief occupation. The details of early construction stages should be best represented at the Sea Pines ring. The ring stands about two feet above a flat central area, which is about 5 feet above mean sea level. The midden is composed primarily of oyster shell with smaller amounts of other mollusks present, as well as pottery sherds and animal bones. The entire area of the ring is densely covered by trees and undergrowth. 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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