For hundreds of generations, Native Americans along the South Atlantic coast lived on the bounties of the sea. Some of their seafoods were oysters, coquina, scallops and whelks. They left behind enormous piles of these shells known as middens all up and down the coastline.
West Africans first coming to this country made use of the shells to make a building cement consisting of lime (made from burning the shells), sand, shells and water. The material was called Tabby.
Slave cabins called Tabbies still exist on Ossabaw Island, off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. Used as homes for many years by slave workers who lived and thrived there, the Tabbies held up against the gale force winds and rains of many a tropical storm and hurricane.
In St. Marys, Georgia the Tabby Ruins of a Sugar Works Plantation show the steadfast endurance of this unique indigenous building material.