Charleston looking to preserve hidden history with new archaeology ordinance

Updated: Oct. 21, 2019 at 11:36 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston is looking at an idea for a new archaeology ordinance which could change building requirements for some parts of downtown.

The discussion surrounding this ordinance has been going on since the 90’s, and now the city with Mayor John Tecklenburg and the Charleston Historic Foundation are finally bringing it forward.

The ordinance would add an extra step for anyone looking to build anything new in Charleston’s old and historic district.

The person would have to go through a process to see if there is anything of archaeological interest on their site, prior to beginning construction.

"Our proposal is actually to hire an archaeologist for the city of Charleston,” said Jacob Lindsey, the director of Planning, Preservation & Sustainability for the city of Charleston. “They would go through the process with the property owner to determine whether any artifacts found are of significance or not.”

The property owner would be able to keep the artifacts if any are found, but they would go through a process of documenting the artifacts with the city archaeologist.

Over the years, we’ve seen just how important these artifacts can be.

In 2013, the remains of 36 people of African descent were found at the construction site of the Gaillard Center, and earlier this year those bones were laid to rest.

The ordinance was discussed during last week’s planning commission meeting.

The city is currently working with the historic foundation to make changes to the ordinance before presenting it to the commission again.

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