Along the Congaree River, right off of I-77 and I-26, lies an abandoned segment of floodway that has witnessed 12,000 years of history. From the beginnings of our country’s first Native Americans to the Civil War, this area of land, soon to be known as “12,000 Year History Park,” has an expansive story to tell.
Along the floodway, researchers have discovered artifacts, including an assortment of arrowheads and shattered pots, which were used about 12,000 years ago. Such historic artifacts date all the way back to when the last ice age was coming to a close, and their makers were primitive human beings.
Scientists have also unearthed artifacts from Native Americans who occupied the land near the Congaree River during the 1500s. These natives were the first to make acquaintance with the Spanish conquistadors as they traveled from their home land to explore the New World for gold.
Additional remains have also been found near the river, revealing that the land has played a role in our country’s more recent history. Researchers have discovered the remnants of Fort Congaree, a place that functioned as a bastion for colonial settlers in South Carolina. Furthermore, this historical spot served a vital role as host to critical Revolutionary and Civil War battles.
A meticulous study of the floodway, conducted by the National Park Service, has led Lexington County’s local River Alliance to make plans to transform the land into a park. The River Alliance intends for the park to serve as both an archeological dig site, as well as an historical attraction. While still in the planning stages, some ideas for the proposed park include: