Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Advisor

Dr. Carter E. Hudgins

Committee Member

Katherine Pemberton

Committee Member

Andrew Kohr

Committee Member

Dr. Nic Butler

Abstract

The fortification walls that once protected the bustling colonial port of Charles Town, South Carolina lie buried under a thriving, modern city. After almost a century of rediscovery and neglect, local scholarly expertise in the form of a city task force regularly explore the history and structure of the walls that once played an integral role in the daily operations, survival, and success of the young and isolated British colony. Archaeological excavations and archival research within the last decade have made significant progress in unearthing information previously lost to development and memory. These methods have experienced limitations, however, since access to the fortifications is obstructed by both historic and modern infrastructure. The study of the brick collected from the walled fortifications using analytical techniques presents potential for new interpretations of its development during Charleston's colonial period. The analytical method focuses on chemical, mineral, and physical analysis of bricks to determine a source of origin. Brick samples from the walled fortification were collected for testing, as were brick samples from local historic sites whose construction dates corresponded with time periods of the wall's use. The comparison allowed for patterns of sourcing and dates to emerge. The brick sample set was analyzed using X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, colorimetry, and water absorption to determine individual chemical and mineralogical compositions that could then be compared as a whole. Analysis of the results revealed patterns of provenances used in an attempt to reveal periods of rebuilding and repair of the wall. Although an in depth timeline could not be determined, the data clarifies where the bricks used to defend Charleston during the seventeenth and eighteenth century were being made and how their source changed in response to Charleston's emergence as a world class city.

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