Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Professor searches for oldest South Carolinians

Dr. Albert Goodyear continues to dig at the Topper site looking for older and older South Carolinians

Dr. Albert Goodyear continues to dig at the Topper site looking for older and older South Carolinians

Dr. Albert Goodyear, speaking at the October meeting of the Greater Piedmont Chapter of The Explorers Club, shattered the common belief that the first people in South Carolina, the so-called Clovis people, arrived in Allendale County 13,100 years ago. Conducting research through the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology at the Topper site on the Savannah River in Allendale County in 1984, Goodyear’s team unearthed small tools made of the chert (a hard rock that occurs as flint) believed to be tools of an ice age culture over 16,000 years ago. His findings convinced Goodyear if Clovis people used the chert quarry along the Savannah River, the quarry may have been used by even earlier cultures.

In 2004, Goodyear dug even deeper and found more artifacts of a pre-Clovis type. Radio carbon studies dated the plant remains at over 50,000 years old, which suggested that humans were in South Carolina long before the last ice age. Goodyear’s findings have opened scientific minds to the possibility of an even earlier pre-Clovis occupation of the Americas.

In 2008, SCETV broadcast Goodyear’s findings as “Finding Clovis.” This was used in 2009 for a national PBS program. Goodyear published his work in 2011 in the journal “Quaternary International.” In 2012, an independent study was published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” using Clovis-age sediments from Goodyear’s Topper site.

With support of the Clariant Corporation, SCANA, and individual donors, an expansive shelter and viewing deck were constructed above the dig site which allow Goodyear and his team of graduate students and volunteers to dig free from the heat and rain and to protect what may be the most significant early-man dig in America.

The Greater Piedmont Chapter of The Explorers Club meets monthly for lunch and a talk on exploration.

For information, please contact Chapter Chairman David Brinkman at <

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