OAS members busy attending, sponsoring events

The OAS continues has continued its work throughout Middle Georgia this fall, and has quite a few interesting activities to report.

Mark Barnes, recently retired National Park Service Archaeologist, gave the OAS a great talk on the old and new theories about Clovis and pre-Clovis sites on November 5, particularly relating to the Borax Lake site in California, the Hester site in Mississippi, and the Hardaway site in North Carolina, and expressed an interest in returning to give a talk on the Spanish mission period in the Southeast, another area of his expertise. Mr. Barnes is also willing to give talks to other SGA chapters. Other recent speakers have included Marty Willett, Chairman of the Fort Hawkins Commission, who spoke on the commission’s plans for the fort’s future, and Dan Elliott, President of the LAMAR Institute, who spoke on his recent findings and theories regarding Fort Hawkins archaeology.

Two OAS members, David Mincey and Stephen Hammack, attended Dr. Al Goodyear’s wonderful Clovis and pre-Clovis talk about the Topper site, which he gave to our sister organization, the Augusta Archaeological Society (AAS) in October.

Stephen Hammack attended the SHPO conference “Eternal Places: Discovering Georgia’s Historic Cemeteries,” and learned a great deal about Cemetery Preservation Plans, cemeteries and Georgia law, and several other topics that will be beneficial to the OAS as it continues to record cemetery sites and to work with historical organizations to document and delineate historic cemeteries. In fact, the Warner Robins Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp has asked that the OAS assist in delineating and mapping the Lt. James T. Woodward gravesite/cemetery, which is under threat from development all around it. This project will be done this winter.

In October, OAS members recorded several sites where Jones County landowner Jennifer O’Kelly has been finding artifact concentrations. These sites include a Clovis point site, a Dalton site that also has other Archaic material, a moonshine still site, a historic house site, a historic cemetery site, a large multi-component site dominated by Late Archaic material, and site where only lithic debris has so far been found.

Landowner Tony Pierce, from the same county, reported that he thought his artifact collection contained some Ocmulgee Fields pottery, indicative of the Creek towns along the Ocmulgee from 1685-1716. As the relocation of these towns is a new OAS initiative, Dr. Bob Cramer and Stephen Hammack visited to peruse the collection. It did indeed include Creek pottery, and a return visit will be necessary to record the site it came from. The collection also includes a great amount of the same pottery from the Mile Track site in Bibb County, as well as a Dalton point, Early, Middle and Late Archaic points, some Woodland points, and a few sherds of Lamar pottery from various sites around Middle Georgia. Also of note was a pipe stem fragment from Sonova Beach, across the Ocmulgee River from the new Waterworks Park, that has a 7/64th bore indicating a date range of 1650-1710.

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Lloyd Schroder assisting the public at Seven Islands Artifact ID Day.

The OAS has sponsored 3 Artifact Identification (ID) days this fall, including:

• Seven Islands Artifact ID Day held in Indian Springs at the William McIntosh house on October 27, 2007. This event was a tremendous success and was held in conjunction with the Butts County Historical Society (BCHS), which marketed the event in Atlanta and Middle Georgia. A whopping 175 people brought items to be identified—so many that numbers had to be given out and people had to wait until their names were called! Lloyd Shroder (see photo at right), John Whatley, David Mincey, and Stephen Hammack were on hand to assist the public. Artifacts identified were from both the prehistoric and historic eras and included an unfinished Clovis point, a Suwannee/Simpson projectile point/ knife (see photo below), and two Daltons (all of which were recorded for the Georgia Paleoindian Recordation Project); many Early Archaic crystal quartz points; a fair number of quartz Morrow Mountain points; great numbers of Late Archaic points; some Woodland and Mississippian material; and historic ceramics, spikes, and nails. One gentleman with a large collection of Early Archaic points from a single site on his property attended UGA and took an archaeology course in the 1950s with Dr. A.R. Kelly! It was fascinating to talk to him about his experiences digging on different sites with Kelly and Joseph Caldwell. Another local landowner invited the OAS to visit his family farm and visit what may be the first site that was recorded in Butts County— a project that is now planned for January when deer season is over. Special thanks goes to W.J. Shannon of the BCHS, who organized the event and made it so successful!

• Warner Robins Artifact ID Day held on November 8, 2007, as part of Native American Heritage Observance (NAHO) month. OAS members David Mincey and Stephen Hammack assisted the public. Folks brought in collections from Middle Georgia and from as far away as the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Artifacts included two Clovis points, one Dalton point, Early, Middle, and Late Archaic material, and a small amount of Woodland and Mississippian material. The gentleman from New York shared some pieces from his collection, which was begun by his grandfather and father and includes material from the Lamoka Lake site and many others. He also shared his father’s notebooks, which preserve in great detail the locations of sites and what was found there. Some of the material is on loan to a local New York historical society museum. It is hoped that the three Paleo points, all from Georgia sites, can be recorded at a future date, as the owners said they would contact the OAS for this to be done. Other NAHO events included a luncheon, American Indian dancing and musical performances, primitive skills demonstrations by the talented Scott Jones, free roasted corn, and three talks by the base archaeologist—two at Macon’s Museum of Arts and Sciences and one before the Old Clinton Historical Society. Special thanks go to the Robins NAHO committee for making these events possible.

• Jones County Artifact ID Day, held in conjunction with the Old Clinton Historical Society (OCHS) on November 17, 2007. AAS member John Whatley and OAS members David Mincey, John Trussell, and Stephen Hammack assisted the public, and recorded one Dalton projectile point/knife and made plans to record about 15 more, all from Jones County. Other artifacts included Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian material, and several historic artifacts including a Union officer’s sword, and a token with Arabic writing on one side and possibly Chinese writing on the other that has a square hole through the center and probably dates to the early 20th century. But the most fascinating artifact, if it turns out to be authentic, was a small item carved from a rock with the consistency of soapstone. This artifact came from a field near the Savannah River in Effingham County, and depicts what appears to be a dead Indian with clothes and a haircut from the Spanish Mission era whose sarcophagus is decorated with many native plants and animals (see photos below). It could date as early as the sixteenth century and as late as the late seventeenth century, if it is not modern. Special thanks go to SGA and OCHS member Carol Krom for making this event possible and for showing OAS members and their families around her family farm and feeding us afterwards!

The OAS continues to meet the first Monday of each month at 6:30 PM in Room 143 of Mercer University’s Science and Engineering Building. Please come and visit!

The photos below are various views of an unusual artifact brought to the Jones County Artifact ID Day.