Windsor Bypass, North Carolina

In the summer of 2001, ESI conducted an archaeological survey of the 10-mile long, 1,224 acre, preferred corridor for the US 17 Windsor Bypass for the North Carolina Department of Transportation in Bertie County. As a result of this survey, 23 prehistoric and historic archaeological sites were recorded, five of which were determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Two of the archaeological sites were located within the final right-of-way and could not be avoided by construction activities. ESI conducted data recovery excavations of the Pierce-Harden Site in the fall of 2005 and the Windsor Site in the winter and spring of 2006.

Excavations at the Pierce-Harden Site, a late 19th-20th century tenant house, included 49 formal units and yielded over 6,000 artifacts. The investigations revealed a continuity of tenant lifeways extending into the late 20th century, well after conventional wisdom holds that tenant farming disappeared in the southern United States. The results of this data recovery were presented by ESI at the 2007 Southeastern Archaeological Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Excavations at the Windsor Site included the stripping of approximately 1.1 acres, which revealed over 2,400 features, mainly dating to the Transitional and Middle Woodland periods, a period of time ranging from approximately 3000 BC to AD 1000 . Among the features were the outlines of dozens of prehistoric structures, which are not well documented in North Carolina or the Southeast for this time period. ESI worked in conjunction with NCDOT and the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office to phase clearance for this project to allow construction activities to proceed without adversely impacting the project schedule. ESI participated in a joint session at the 2008 Southeastern Archaeological Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, to present the results of this data recovery.

Portion of soapstone bowl recovered
from Windsor Site

View of excavations at Windsor Site
showing ongoing construction
Profile of Feature 10 at
Pierce-Harden Site

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