The Baucom Hardaway Site (Peck and Painter)

can be persuaded to make further studies of the site and its contents. Fully 50% of the overall site has been retained intact for this purpose.


The Baucom Hardaway Site is located in the northeastern corner of Union County, North Carolina (35degrees 02’ 75" North latitude, 80 degrees 18’ 30"West longitude), at a point where State Highway #742 crosses the Rocky River. The Rocky River forms the boundary between Union County on the south and Stanly County to the north. Union County lies between Anson County to the east and Mecklenburg County to the northwest, the southern and western borders of Union County is the North Carolina-South Carolina state line (Map 1). The site is situated on the flood plain of the Rocky River between the bridge approach of State Highway #742 and the base of a high hill to the west (Map 2). Mineral Spring Branch flows between the site and the highway bridge approach and joins the river on the upstream side of the bridge. Mineral Spring Branch originates from a spring about one-half mile south of the site.

The site was originally about four acres in extent, however, when the bridge and its earth fill approach was constructed in 1937-1938 a major portion of the site was destroyed and Mineral Spring Branch was re-routed from the east side to the west side of the bridge and its approach (Map 2).

The original topsoil level of the site before removal operations reduced it by two to three feet was approximately eighteen feet (18’) above the mean water level of Rocky River. The original level of the site had been built up over unknown thousands of years by flood deposited alluvium. The high hills crowding the river on either side of the downstream flank of the site formed a restriction to river flow during flood stages. This restriction caused the water to back up and form an eddy over the site, the water thus slowed in the eddy, deposited much of its suspended silt and sand over the habitation levels. As much as two feet of water over the site has been noted during recent floods.

This sporadically habitated site was ideally situated (as are all major sites) from the ecological standpoint of early semi-nomadic peoples. 1) it was located at a shallow natural ford or crossing point in the river where during low water stages one could leap from rock to rock and perhaps cross without, wetting his feet. Large animals such as mammoth, bison or caribou would also seek these crossing points and could be ambushed easily by hunters. 2) the silicified-slate cliff located on the riverward side of the adjacent high hill (Map 2) furnished lithic materials for the manufacture of tools and weapons. No apparent quarrying indications have been noted but, this means little for loose stone can be picked up along the cliff base. 3 ) the clear, pure spring water furnished by Mineral Spring Branch could serve the inhabitants during periods when the Rocky River was muddy and trash laden. 4) five miles to the north is the present town of Big Lick (Map 1) which derived its name from a nearby salt lick. This lick would have attracted many types of large animals (along with predators both human and animal) to its salty earth. Herbivorous animals such as mammoth, mastodon, bison, caribou, elk and deer could establish beaten paths leading to saline's or salt licks. Early hunters followed these same paths and used salt licks for ambushing large game. All these factors added to the desirability of this site as a place for human habitation.

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