Mountains Chapter tests quartz quarry

Submitted by Jack Wynn

Members of the Georgia Mountains Chapter have recently conducted a preliminary test on the newly discovered Hummingbird Hill Quartz Quarry on the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve near Gainesville.

A few months ago, Elachee volunteer “Doc” Johnson recognized a spread of quartz rocks on the lower part of a ridge nose in the preserve as a possible quarry site. He called Elachee Nature Science Center’s CEO Andrea Tempone’s attention to it, and then led chapter advisor Jack Wynn to inspect it. Soon after, Primitive Technologist Scott Jones was invited to examine the site, and with Wynn, plans were made to grid and possibly test the site.

Once the plans were made and SHPO notified, the GMAS members met on Saturday, February 4, to grid the site and begin the test. They decided to do very limited testing on the 20×50-m quarry area, in part because of the steep location. There was concern that digging there might exacerbate the already severe erosion into the Walnut Creek area. It was also expected that a limited amount of data could be retrieved from such a resource area, since it did not show signs of being used for finishing artifacts.

The test team was first composed of Lorraine Norwood, Erin Andrews, Joe Randazzo and his son Joseph Randazzo, supervised by Wynn. They began with a small, 50-cm test unit, more or less in the middle of the site area, and excavated it by 10-cm levels, parallel with the slope. The excavation methods included screening and removing all the stone from each level. The amount of stone there was truly amazing. The first work day, the crew removed nine bags of stone to the lab for washing and identification. Since it all had to be hauled uphill all the way back to the vehicles, the amount and weight of the stone became important.

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Joseph and Joe Randazzo, Lorraine Norwood, and Erin Andrews working on the site.

The crew was so stimulated by the project the first day that they returned on Saturday, February 18 to finish the test into the red sandy clay subsoil at about 35 cm below surface. That day, they were joined by David Hughes, Janice and Tom Bagwell, Greg Britt, and site’s discoverer, Doc Johnson. At the base of that level, most of the square was taken up by large quartz boulders, but the crew still removed 5-6 bags of materials. Lab cleaning and analysis was conducted that day by Dan and Diedre Page, Pat LoRusso, and David Hughes.

The club members have begun the washing and examination of the stones removed, but much remains to be cleaned and sorted. They have found a few flaked tools and some bipolar percussion pieces, as well as lots of general shatter. Once it is all cleaned and initially sorted, Scott Jones has agreed to examine it for additional indications of stone working techniques.