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

Fig Island, Charleston County (Address Restricted)
S1081771002101 S1081771002102 S1081771002103
Aerial View Site Overview Interior

The Fig Island Shell Rings, Nos. 2 and 3, 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 sites. As such, they also present one of the earliest records of sedentary life among people who must have lived entirely by foraging. The Fig Island site consists of three prehistoric Indian shell middens grouped in a marsh. Site number 1 is about 600 feet long and stands 20 to 25 feet above mean sea level. It contains a great quantity of oyster and other mollusk shell and pottery sherds. Site number 2 is a midden deposited in a ring shape with a diameter that measures about 215 feet from crest to crest and stands to a maximum height of 4 feet above a flat central area. The rim, virtually intact, contains abundant shell, animal and fish bone, and pottery sherds. Site number 3 is an eroded remnant of a shell ring with slightly less than half of this ring remaining. Listed in the National Register October 15, 1970. Designated a National Historic Landmark March 29, 2007.

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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