Unwrapping the Unexpected

Message From The Director

Discovering a park is like unwrapping a present — you never quite know what you'll find inside! It's a mix of anticipation, surprise, and the occasional "wait, what?" moment. As someone who has spent nearly three decades exploring parks, you might assume I'm talking about newcomers stumbling upon hidden gems or maybe even a brand-new park opening up. While both of those may be true, sometimes the real excitement lies in what's already there, waiting to be uncovered.

Take my recent trip to Redcliffe Plantation, for example. Picture this: an archaeology field school in full swing, eager students wielding trowels like they're on a mission from Indiana Jones. Our staff had it all planned out — ground-penetrating radar, test holes, the whole archeological adventure. We had our bets placed: one group would unearth a long-lost wine cellar, while the other would surely stumble upon some run-of-the-mill artifacts. But lo and behold, they stumbled upon not just the wine cellar but... well, we're not quite sure. A wall? A walkway? A foundation? It was a mystery! We've got ourselves a genuine ???? on our hands.

Now, I know what you're dying to ask: what in the world did they find? Truth be told, we don’t know. We thought we had meticulously researched and documented the area they unearthed, but their discovery is a head-scratcher. But fear not, for this discovery is just the tip of the archaeological iceberg so to speak. It's like a plot twist in a mystery novel — one discovery leads to another, and before you know it, we're knee-deep in history.

And it's not just Redcliffe digging up trouble. Over at Oconee Station, a bit of sleuthing by a new recruit revealed that our "Iron Mike" statue isn't quite what we thought he was. Turns out, he's just “A CCC worker”. And let's not forget the bona fide revelations at Charles Towne Landing, where DNA testing on some old bones led us to purchase not one, but two Florida Cracker Cattle. Who knew history could be so... beefy?

But it's not all about dusty old relics and mysterious ruins. Our park teams are on a mission to restore, refurbish, and revitalize, one project at a time. From battling invasive species to deciphering historic blueprints, we are working to rediscover what belongs. Our adventures lead to stone steps winding through lush trails, native plants swaying in the breeze, and old buildings getting a shiny new makeover. It's like HGTV meets National Geographic, and we're loving every minute of it.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore your state parks like never before. And remember, if it all seems a bit too familiar, take a closer look. Ask questions, listen to stories, and soak in the rich tapestry of history unfolding before your eyes. Because in the end, it's not just about discovering who we were, but about creating unforgettable experiences for generations to come.

See you in the parks, fellow adventurers!


March 2024

An Archaeological Field School Experience at Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site, Beech Island, South Carolina from George Wingard on Vimeo.