Green’s Shell Enclosure is a ring of piled oyster shells. It is old, maybe nearly a thousand years old.
It is easy to find, right off Squire Pope Road.
There is a board with information about the history of the shell ring and nature at the shell enclosure.
Welcome! This South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Cultural Heritage Preserve consists of a semi-circular ridge of shell approximately 20–30 feet wide at the base and four feet tall. The ridge was constructed mostly of oyster shell during the Mississippian period (AD 1000-1500). It is one of few undisturbed shell structures in coastal South Carolina, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There is a boardwalk so you won’t walk on the shell ring.
The trail is a little confusing. People seem to have wandered all over the place. There are markers to find the real trail.
A sign says Artifact Collection Prohibited, Surveillance in progress. I looked around. I didn’t see anything. I wonder how we were being surveilled. We didn’t take anything.
No metal detecting either. Surveillance in progress.
There is an overlook. If you take one of the other paths you come out below the overlook. Then you can see that the overlook is on a tall pile of shells.
You can walk down below the overlook.
Greens Shell Enclosure Natural Environment
On the way out, as we walked over the boardwalk, we noticed a US Coastal Geodetic Survey Reverence Mark.
You might have seen these before. This is a USGS Benchmark. The National Geodetic Survey (they used to be called the U.S. Geological Survey) marks precise points with these metal pins to create the National Spatial Reference System.
There are two main kinds. This is a vertical control points. Vertical control points mark a very precise elevation above the “standard datum plane” or above sea level.
The other kind is horizontal control points. They precisely establish latitude and longitude.