On a bitterly cold day in January 2018, Bobby Southerlin, principal investigator with the Archaeological Consultants of the Carolinas Inc., dug two test holes on a grassy lot on Front Street in Swansboro.
This piece of land, which may have never had a structure on it, was part of the original Lot 4 on the plat map Theophilus Weeks created in 1771 to become the town of Swansborough.
Almost 250 years later, in just a few hours Southerlin found evidence of Native-Americans, British Colonials, and 20th century citizens in two 50-centimeter by 50-centimeter test holes.
Ed Venters, the owner of this property, has now started construction of a new building on this lot adjacent to the old Harry Moore Store, which is now the Salt Marsh Cottage.
But before the equipment rolled on to the site, Venters, great-nephew of Harry Moore, partnered with the Swansboro Historical Association and allowed Archaeological Consultants of the Carolinas Inc. a chance to collect artifacts.
Southerlin and Brooke Brilliant, laboratory and field technician with Archaeological Consultants, oversaw the work.
The Swansboro Historical Association gave Venters $500 to help him with the cost of bringing the archaeologists back on site.
And, thanks to Venters’ willingness to give what was excavated to the Swansboro Area Heritage Center, there is now more fascinating physical evidence of the town’s early coastal history.
Brilliant identified and cataloged artifacts found on that day and in the return visit and gave them to the Swansboro Historical Association.
Not only is there the actual material evidence, but there is also an extensive archaeological report from the archaeologists that will assist the Swansboro Historical Association in creating an exhibit in the Swansboro Area Heritage Center with the Lot 4 artifacts.
Amelia Dees-Killette is president of the Swansboro Historical Association.
For a look at photos from the site, purchase a copy of the Oct. 23, 2019, Tideland News.