Archaeology Work at Future Jordan Lake

On December 7, 1970, the groundbreaking for what would become Jordan Lake took place. The lake was full about 12 years later.  Its namesake was U.S. Senator B. Everett Jordan.

Today many North Carolinians enjoy the water, beaches, trails, and woodlands at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, but the area was not always a recreational space. After a devastating tropical storm in 1945, the government began to look at methods of flood control for the Cape Fear River basin.  In 1962, the Army Corps of Engineers submitted a plan that recommended building three reservoirs. Ultimately only the construction of Jordan Lake was realized.

As a regulatory requirement, a thorough archaeological investigation had to be made.. The cultural resources management project was conducted in 1978 and 1979 by a Michigan company, led by principal investigator Steve Claggett, who ultimately would return to North Carolina to become State Archaeologist.

The project’s archaeological surveys determined that there were about 350 sites in the area; two were the focus of extensive excavations. Archaeologists verified that Indians had inhabited the vicinity as far back as the Early Archaic period—or about 10,000 years ago. To this day the work stands as one of the largest salvage archaeology programs carried out in the state.

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