Broxton Rocks wetlands mitigation tract testing

Submitted by SEARCH (352-333-0049)

Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH) of Jonesville, Florida conducted limited Phase II test excavations at two archaeological sites (9CF17 and 9CF71) located within the proposed Broxton Rocks wetlands mitigation bank near the Ocmulgee River in Coffee County, Georgia, in September of 2005. The project report was completed in March of 2006. The scope of work for the project was developed in consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District.

Background research conducted prior to entering the field included interviews with archaeologists Frankie Snow and Nancy White and an examination of existing collections from both sites, which are curated at South Georgia College in Douglas. Both sites were originally recorded by Snow, who conducted surface collections over a period of several years during the 1970s. Snow also excavated a burial from 9CF17 that was exposed by erosion and later conducted a salvage excavation of an elliptical arrangement of mussel shells and faunal bone that he interpreted as representing a Spanish Mission-period aboriginal dwelling. The collection from 9CF17 includes over 3,000 ceramic sherds, (fiber-tempered, Deptford Check Stamped, Swift Creek Complicated Stamped, Ocmulgee Cord Marked, Lamar Incised and Complicated Stamped, and San Marcos Simple Stamped, Check Stamped, and Complicated Stamped), a small but exceptionally well-preserved sample of faunal remains (bone and freshwater mussel shell), a large number of projectile points and lithic waste flakes, several pipe fragments, steatite fragments, clay pipe fragments, a few glass beads, and a small copper ornament. The collection from 9CF71 is much smaller and consists of a few sherds (fiber-tempered, cordmarked), a concave-base projectile point, and some waste flakes.

During 16 field days, a crew of four archaeologists excavated 298 shovel tests at 20-m intervals across both sites, visually inspected the ground surface for any exposed artifacts or features, and excavated six 1×2-m test units (four at 9CF17 and two at 9CF71). The results indicate that 9CF17 contains intact archaeological deposits dating from the Kirk phase of the Early Archaic period through the Ocmulgee phase of the Late Woodland period. A possible historic Mission period component also was identified. 9CF71 was found to contain very few artifacts within the recorded site area. No features or midden staining were encountered.