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Nov 30, 2009


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John D. Young

And in our backyard, right here in NC near the town of Badin in Stanly County is the 12,000 to 15,000 year old Paleo-Indian Hardaway site. The Hardaway site appears to be closely linked to the huge rhyolite outcrops from the area and especially from Morrow Mountain that is right down the road from my new home. Morrow Mountain rhyolite was prized for its spear points and tools and was actively traded very far and wide.

According to the Stanly News and Press in an article in 2007:

"The Hardaway site is the oldest excavated settlement in North Carolina and one of the oldest and most significant archaeological sites in North America.... The site was discovered in 1937 by Alcoan H.M. Doershuk, an amateur archaeologist, and Dr. Joffre Coe, an eminent archaeologist. (From Greensboro and UNC.) The site overlooks Badin Lake and has unearthed 12,000-year-old prehistoric Native American artifacts.

From the 1930s until the 1950s Coe and his students and staff conducted archaeological digs uncovering evidence that more ancient cultures than anyone had ever guessed lived in the state. At the Hardaway site they discovered not one, but two different cultures camped there during a period know as the Paleo-Indian, meaning “oldest Indian.” This period spanned time from 10,000 to 20,000 years ago and preceded the Archaic times, about 8,000 years ago.

The Hardaway site was officially designated a National Historic Landmark Nov. 5, 1990, at a ceremony at Alcoa Conference Center in Badin."

For more information see:


The Hardaway site sounds fascinating. I will have to take my son -- who, at not-quite-age-5 has declared his intention to become an archeologist (inspired largely by watching the adventures of Young Indiana Jones) -- to check it out.


When I was a kid, every N.C. schoolchild, it seemed, went on a field trip to the Town Creek Indian Mounds. Do they still do that?

John D. Young

Indeed the 3,000 year old Town Creek Indian Mound site in Mt. Gilead, off of Hwy 220 below Asheboro makes a wonderful trip. It is a NC Historic Site with a good museum. It is also a great astronomy site for star gazing since it is far away from city lights. See - click the special events tab for star gazing.

Unlike Town Creek Indian Mound the ancient Hardaway site that sits on a hill overlooking the Yadkin River, now Badin Lake because of the Alcoa Narrows Dam, is strictly off limits to any visitors. (Over a 100 years of looting has sadly made this necessary.) If Alcoa and the state eventually come to some agreement about the re-licensing of the dams at High Rock Lake, Tuckertown Lake and Badin Lake (a huge battle with Gov. Perdue arguing that Alcoa may own the electricity producing dams but not the water in the Yadkin) Alcoa has offered to gift a large tract of land from Morrow Mountain State Park, along the very pristine Falls Reservoir and around to the Hardaway site. So if this current Alcoa land becomes part of Morrow Mt. State Park at some point a Hardaway site museum could be created and the tons of Hardaway artifacts that are stored at UNC could be returned to an area museum. (A cute museum in the small town of Badin, opened on Tuesday and Sunday afternoons, does have a small Hardaway exhibit and also tells the story of early aluminum production using the power of the Yadkin River.)

A great field trip to Morrow Mt. State Park is featured as a chapter in the excellent "Exploring the Geology of the Carolinas" by Stewart and Roberson, UNC Press. On this trip you walk on knapped pieces of Morrow Mt. rhyolite that have been broken away from outcrops over 18,000 years. Spear points from Morrow Mt. rhyolite were formed to hunt wooly mammoths and mastodons throughout the Uwharrie Mountains and the eastern US.

Both the ancient Hardaway site and Town Creek Indian Mound are featured in "Time Before History - The Archaeology of NC" by Ward and Davis, UNC Press. By the way the old Bering Sea land bridge route into North and South America may be challenged by the super ancient nature of the Hardaway site. Paleo-Indians may have come to NC from another, earlier entry point.

david trotter

My grandfather told me that a indian mound was pushed over by bulldozer, at morrow mountain park to make way for a parking lot..this parking lot is located next to the water on upper lake tilley, and just down the road from Dr. Krone's home..maybe someone else can add more to this..

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