The Society for Georgia Archaeology » GDOT Archaeology Unit busy

GDOT Archaeology Unit busy

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Archaeology Unit at the Office of Environment/Location is an integral part of the GDOT mission statement that promises a “safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia’s economy and is sensitive to its citizens and environment.” The responsibilities of the GDOT Archaeology Unit within the mission are two-fold. The GDOT Archaeology Unit primarily performs environmental regulatory functions that facilitate the approval of proposed road projects from Preconstruction through Construction, ensuring that GDOT is in compliance with numerous local, state, and federal historic preservation laws and ordinances, as they relate to proposed transportation projects.

Secondly, the GDOT Archaeology Unit, as cultural resource managers and stewards of the state’s cultural environment, looks outside the regulatory box and incorporates its responsibility to Georgia’s “citizens and environment” in every facet of the job. The GDOT Archaeology Unit provides the public with educational opportunities that promote cultural awareness and respect for Georgia’s shared cultural heritage. GDOT Archaeologists are architects of progressive Public Education/Outreach initiatives that reach Georgians of all ages and interests. Through partnership with the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), GDOT archaeologists have created educational products and programs that effectively engage children in archaeology and Georgia’s prehistory.

The GDOT Archaeology Unit is proud to share the information it gathers through its work with residents of the State of Georgia and with the professional archaeological community. GDOT Archaeology produces reports about their investigations, publishes research volumes, offers informational brochures and posters, develops traveling exhibits, and provides teaching trunks/tools and curriculum/activity guides to classrooms and the public. These resources are outlined below and are available by request. If you are interested in any of these resources, please contact the Archaeology Unit supervisor, Eric Duff, at the Office of Environment/Location [telephone 404-699-4406, or at email eduff@dot.ga.gov]. We’ve already done so many great things through wonderful partnerships with, the Federal Highway Administration, the Department of Education, the National Park Service, Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Technology Authority, our tribal partners, our consultants, and many others; and we’re always looking for new ideas! The Archaeology Unit strives to proactively engage the public in its work and works to promote cultural awareness, cultural heritage education, and respect for Native American culture and historic resources.

Teaching trunks provide a hands-on archaeological experience within a classroom setting and provide appropriate lesson plans defined to satisfy criteria for the Georgia Performance Standards. These trunks are loaned by the Unit to schools and systems across the state for established periods of time. Please contact the Archaeology Unit supervisor to request a trunk. GDOT Archaeologists are available for speaking engagements at Metro Atlanta schools. Please contact Archaeologist Sara Gale, at 404-699-6880, or at sgale@dot.ga.gov to schedule a visit. Classrooms can visit GDOT archaeological excavations by scheduling a visit with the GDOT Project Archaeologist in charge of operations at each site. Mitigations of archaeological sites occur in all areas of the state and can provide an interactive experience for students looking to “get their hands dirty.” Please contact the Archaeology Unit supervisor to discuss options. Release forms must be signed in advance of the visit.

The Archaeology Unit has the following brochures and/or rack cards (hard copies or digital copies of these can be requested), reading and visual material sources: The Bridges at Piscola Creek, Brooks County, Georgia (brochure); Archaeology of Tenant Farming on the Upper Coastal Plain of Georgia: The Free Cabin Site (brochure); Battery Hamilton (brochure and informational kiosks on location), information also online here; Camp Lawton, Magnolia Springs State Park, Millen, Georgia (brochure); New Echota, A Cherokee Traditional Cultural Property (brochure); Explore Georgia’s Old Federal Road (driving tour brochure and rack card); The History and Archaeology of a Civil War Soldier, by William R. Bowen, Staff Archaeologist, Georgia DOT (booklet). The Archaeology Unit also produces research reports called “Occasional Papers in Cultural Resource Management.” This series currently includes 11 volumes, one recently published in conjunction with the Society for Georgia Archaeology in the form of the journal, Early Georgia. These research reports are mostly available in paper and/ or digital format (Adobe PDF) and can be requested from the Archaeology Unit supervisor. Many more of these volumes are currently being developed, so check back often if you are interested in reading about the most up-to-date research that is involved with major excavations by the Department.

The Archaeology Unit is associated with a website that contains the New Echota video, which can be viewed and downloaded. This video is titled A Traditional Cultural Property Study of New Echota, the First Cherokee National Capitol from 1825-1838, Gordon County, Georgia. The video is also available on VHS or CD from the Department. The website is here. A CD Presentation (Powerpoint) about the excavations at the Free Cabin Archaeological Site is also available from the Archaeology Unit. [Information on this resource can also be found online here.] The Old Federal Road Driving Tour package is available for download from the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s web page, which is at http://www.georgia.org/podcast. Finally, the series Georgia Outdoors on your local Georgia Public Television channel has featured “Archaeology” shorts and previous GDOT excavations. These episodes are re-run often, and there are more planned for future seasons. The recent episode entitled “Held in Trust” featured GDOT’s work with the GaDNR at Magnolia Springs State Park in Millen, Georgia. Additionally, the Archaeology Unit is associated with the following websites that exist today:

Spier House

Bartow Archaeology (Leake Site)

Hardin Bridge Site, Bartow County

Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Educational Program

The Archaeology Unit has already developed two traveling exhibits (housed in small display cases) about archaeology in Georgia. One of these rotates around GDOT’s district offices, and one is housed at a summer camp facility, Camp Twin Lakes, in Rutledge, Georgia. Finally, we have recently distributed an educational poster to middle schools and museums in the Northwest Georgia area; this poster, entitled “Before the Cherokee: Prehistoric Indians of Northwest Georgia,” educates children about prehistoric cultures and the basics of archaeology. In the future, keep open to the local media (newspapers/radio/ TV), as there are often features discussing GDOT archaeological excavations in your area. The Department also has many other educational products in development at this time, including websites, video games, and informational signage stations, and we hope to soon share those with the archaeological community and the public.