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

Skull Creek, Beaufort County (Address Restricted)
S1081770700601 S1081770700602 S1081770700603
View of Ring Excavation Removed Shell
from Ring

The Skull Creek shell rings, Nos. 1 and 2, are two 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. The Skull Creek rings are the only known example of a later ring superimposed over an earlier one, although the precise relationship and reason for building this way have not been determined. The southernmost ring (No. 1), approximately 128 feet in diameter, stands about 7.5 feet at some points above a flat central area, but has suffered extensive removal of shell. Probably only 20 percent of the original volume of this ring remains. This ring contains primarily oyster shell with smaller amounts of other mollusks. The northernmost ring (No. 2), approximately 133 feet in diameter, is nearly plowed level. Listed in the National Register November 10, 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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