The 2022 Southeastern Conference on Historic Sites Archaeology (SECHSA)
will be held August 5th and 6th  
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Parker Annex Archaeology Center
2025 Barnwell Street in Columbia, South Carolina

The venue is located within the “BullStreet District”, a redevelopment of the former home to the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum founded in 1828. Learn more about the history of the property

About the Conference Site

The location of SECHSA’s 2022 annual meeting in the City of Columbia, SC provides a great setting for this year’s conference theme. The greater Columbia Area was the focus of early trade, commerce, and settlement.

Early trade began with the construction of Fort Congaree in 1718 to facilitate the deer skin trade between European settlers and the Catawba and Cherokee Nations. The fort closed in 1722 and about a decade later a backcountry township called “the Congarees” was laid out in the vicinity of the old fort and Thomas and Patrick Brown established a trading post nearby.

By the mid-1730s, Swiss and German settlers began to arrive and settle the township, which had been renamed “Saxe Gotha” in 1737.  Due to flooding and other issues, the town itself died out and the village of Granby, located immediately north of Saxe Gotha, essentially replaced the town.

No real center of activity, or village had developed in the township until businesses started locating near Friday’s Ferry, which crossed the Congaree River at what would become Granby. Many of the Saxe Gotha settlers moved slightly north to the hub of activity in the village of Granby that was developing in the late 1750s. A trading post was founded by James Chesnut and Joseph Kershaw in 1765. It was known as the “Congaree Store” and became one of the first important trading posts in the interior of the colony. It was used to store cotton and other products to be shipped by boat to coastal towns. As land upriver was cleared for cotton farming, Granby became prone to flooding and the county seat was relocated in 1818 to Lexington.

Meanwhile, Columbia, on the opposite side of the river, was chosen as the location for South Carolina’s capital in 1786 spurring its growth and the further decline of Granby. The State Legislature first met there in 1790. After remaining under the direct government of the legislature for the first two decades of its existence, Columbia was incorporated as a village in 1805 and then as a city in 1854.

Columbia received a large stimulus to development when it was connected in a direct water route to Charleston by the Santee Canal. This connected the Santee and Cooper rivers in a 22-mile-long (35 km) section. It was first chartered in 1786 and completed in 1800, making it one of the earliest canals in the United States. The Columbia Canal was later built. Completed in 1824, the canal was designed to enable the navigation of the Broad and Congaree Rivers at their confluence in Columbia at the Fall Line. It was part of the state-sponsored system of internal improvements designed to create inexpensive and efficient transportation facilities across South Carolina.