South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
South Bluff Heritage Preserve
Property LocationLadys Island, SC 29907
Latitude: 32.472 Longitude:-80.594
Property Type: Heritage Preserve - Cultural
NO Hunting Allowed on Property
Hours of Operation
The area is open during daylight hours year-round.
Activities / Facilities
The South Bluff Heritage Preserve covers 24 acres in Beaufort County. The South Bluff Shell Rings are the most recently discovered shell ring sites in South Carolina and are one of only 15 known site complexes of this type in the state. They contain a crescent-shaped ring and another that was once a complete ring. Because of a reduced level of erosion, South Bluff is one of the most well-preserved shell ring complexes in the state.
Shell rings occur along the coast and are close to tidal creeks. They were created during the Late Archaic Period 5,000 - 3,000 years ago. Archaeological work indicates that during this period, human groups made extensive use of coastal resources, particularly shellfish. The remains of the shellfish, along with refuse from other human activities, form midden deposits from which archaeologists can reconstruct past human activities and environments.
Of the four shell rings owned and managed by the SC Department of Natural Resources, South Bluff is the only one that can be reached by land. It's an upland area containing a well-developed maritime forest community with dominant species including live oak, cabbage palmetto, loblolly pine, wax myrtle, yaupon holly, and switchcane. South Bluff provides habitat and protection for a variety of wildlife species including resident and migratory birds, game and non-game mammals and reptiles and amphibians.