Resources at Risk

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Resources at Risk: Defending Georgia’s Hidden Heritage is a special issue of Early Georgia, published in May 2001. The goals of this issue were 1) to expand public perception of what archaeology is and what archaeologists do; 2) to call attention to the urgent need for the preservation and stewardship of archaeological resources, or at least the recovery of basic information before it is destroyed; and, 3) to spur discussion of new ways that Georgians can accumulate more archaeological knowledge and save more resources, and disseminate this new information to the public.

In short, this issue is a primer of Georgia archaeology, with these articles:

  • Georgia’s Hidden Heritage at Risk: An Introduction
  • What is Archaeology? How Exploring the Past Enriches the Present
  • Why is Archaelogy Important? Global Perspectives, Local Concerns
  • An Introduction to the Prehistory of the Southeast, or, ‚“They were Shootin’em as Fast as They Could Make ’em” and Other Popular Misconceptions about the Prehistoric Southeast
  • Archaeological Resource Protection in Georgia: Federal, State, and Local Legislation and Programs
  • This Is Not Your Mother’s SGA
  • Sprawl and the Destruction of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources: Transforming Citizens into Defenders
  • Jargon Commonly Used by Archaeologists: Glossary of Terms

The articles work in concert as an overview of the besieged state of archaeological preservation in Georgia. Although this publication dates to 2001, its fundamental message about the desperate need for preservation and stewardship of archaeological resources has only become more acute with continued sprawl and land-use changes and forests and fields become become buildings and roads. As Charlotte A. Smith, author of the introductory article, notes:

All around Georgia, archaeological sites are being destroyed or are under threat of destruction. While it can be argued that ‚“development” is the natural progress of things, obliterating the past before it’s been recorded and understood is not ‚“natural,” nor does it have to be an inevitable by-product of progress.

In Georgia we lack sufficient infrastructure to implement a large-scale systematic project to record archaeological resources before they disappear forever. That infrastructure cannot be constructed without public support, and that support will not emerge without public understanding. And public understanding, in turn, stems from outreach by professionals and those committed to archaeological preservation.

Click here to download the entire issue in PDF format (2 MB). A listing of all issues of Early Georgia, along with an order form, can be found here.