Archaeology Month 2008 recap

Submitted by Betsy Shirk (b.shirk@comcast.net)

From the spring symposium at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, which kicked off Archaeology Month, to the proclamation signing ceremony at the Capitol, which this year provided closure, Archaeology Month 2008 was a success. Months of planning and hard work by the Archaeology Month committee and volunteer laborers preceded the promotion. Archaeology Month committee members included Betsy Shirk (chair), Dennis Blanton and Kate Ruedrich (poster, lesson plan and spring program), Pamela Johnson (events), Catherine Long (distribution), and Tammy Herron (publicity).

Once again, SGA relied on contributions of co-sponsors and event sponsors to take this program to the public, reaching thousands through our annual promotion. We met our goal of raising public awareness of the importance of our state’s archaeological resources through distribution of 3,000 posters, 1,200 lesson plans, and education of those attending the 22 archaeology month events, including our spring meeting, that celebrated our state’s rich archaeological heritage.

The fifteenth annual Georgia Archaeology Awareness promotion had as its theme “Archaeological Encounters in Georgia’s Spanish Period.” As in past years, educational materials and associated poster, as well as event brochures were distributed statewide to public middle schools, regional libraries, federal and state parks and historic sites, legislators, SGA members in good standing for 2008 and various historical organizations and museums. Event brochures were sent to Georgia Visitor Centers as well.

Materials were distributed the week of April 7. The place to be on Packaging Day, April 8, was Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Catherine Long, Dennis Blanton and Kate Ruedrich coordinated this effort. Volunteers provided the more than 113 hours required to package and distribute the materials. Those who contributed their time were Tammy Herron, Catherine Long, Dennis Blanton, Kate Ruedrich, Tom Gresham, Michael Shirk, Allen Vegotsky, Dick Brunelle, Terri Hynes, Justin Arrington, Scott Morris, David Kasriel, Tom Peard, Lyn Kirkland, Furney Hemingway, Jack Kilgore, and Andrew Vaughn. Members of the Greater Atlanta Archaeological Society and Fernbank Volunteers were instrumental in getting the task accomplished.

Dennis Blanton and Kathryn Ruedrich of Fernbank Museum of Natural History provided poster design and associated lesson plan as co-sponsor of Archaeology Month. The poster graphic profiled the three groups (Native Americans, Spanish soldiers, and priests) representative of the Spanish period in Georgia. Text on the poster back addressed archaeological evidence of the Spanish period in Georgia. The lesson plan consisted of 12 pages and included activities and text targeting 8th grade objectives.

Pam Johnson coordinated events, and the events brochure listed 21 events, including artifact identification days, site tours, open houses, lectures, and exhibits. Mary Beth Reed oversaw event brochure design and printing.

The spring meeting was held on April 26 in Atlanta at Fernbank Museum of Natural History and included a full day of presentations entitled “Archaeological Encounters in Georgia’s Spanish Period: New Discoveries and Improved Understandings.” Speakers included Dave Crass, John Worth, Richard Melvin, Jim Langford, Dennis Blanton and Frankie Snow, Jeannine Windham, Mark Williams, David Hurst Thomas, Richard Jefferies and Christopher Moore, Carolyn Rock and David Hally, and Marvin Smith. A highlight of the meeting was presentation of the Caldwell Award to Tom Gresham.

Once again, SGA reached thousands through its Archaeology Month program. We realized our goal of raising public awareness of the importance of our state’s archaeological resources through distribution of posters and educational materials, and education of those attending the archaeology month events that celebrate our state’s rich archaeological heritage.