LAKE CITY— Investigators from the S.C. Department of Transportation and archaeologists have begun looking into whether a site near Lake City contains human remains and artifacts from 8,000 years ago.

The Morning News of Florence reported Thursday that transportation department archaeologist Chad Long said the site was discovered two years ago. Long said the site is being studied to see if the deposits need protection.

“Right now, we’re trying to protect the site and the sensitive deposits there,” Long said. “A crew is in the very initial stages of data recovery, and we’re learning more about the site by the day. We plan to do an intense investigation to retrieve information, interpreting it and doing analysis.”

The site contains human remains, ceramic shards and other artifacts, Long said. He said the transportation department is consulting with the Catawba Indian Nation and historic preservationists.

The site was found during studies for the widening of Highway 378, but the dig work is not expected to cause a delay in the highway project, Long said.

The archaeologist said the quality of deposits is good because they aren’t highly fragmented, and researchers will be able to determine certain time periods when the site was being used.

Long says the investigation will take at least 10 more weeks.

“Due to the very sensitive deposits, the site is not open to the public. It’s not safe to be out there, and we are asking people to stay away until the investigation is complete,” Long said.