Of cemeteries, borrow pits, and Resaca battlefield

Submitted by New South Associates (770-498-4155)

The staff at New South Associates (NSA) has been very busy this year. In addition to the following Georgia projects, our employees have been working on a variety of additional projects in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, New York, and Puerto Rico. The Berry Creek Site (9MO487) was investigated by R. Jeannine Windham during March and proved to be a small upland Swift Creek site (see artifact feature elsewhere in this issue of The Profile). Although the site has been significantly eroded, small features and potentially structure-related curvilinear trenches were discovered. On going analysis suggests that this site was occupied for a short time period and/or possibly on a seasonal basis.

In March, Diana Valk conducted a Phase I Survey along SR 24 in the areas of a proposed new right-of-way (ROW). The project resulted in the expansion of a previously recorded historic house site and the discovery of a new historic artifact scatter. Both sites were not eligible for the NRHP. In addition to Phase I work, the possible existence of an infant burial in the proposed ROW was also investigated. The landowner informed us that the previous resident of the address indicated his stillborn brother was buried on the land in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. During that time period, it was not uncommon for rural families to bury their deceased relatives on their land. They would mark the burial with a formal stone, a field stone, or nothing at all. In this instance, the landowner said that he had never seen surface indications of the burial and that he could not be sure of its exact location or if it even existed. Surface examination and subsurface probing revealed no clues as to where the burial might be located. A smooth shovel trackhoe was brought in to scrape off the plowzone layer in the six-meter square area that the burial was purported to be. After shovel shaving the stripped area, several features were identified, but none appeared to be a graveshaft. We concluded that if a burial does exist on the land it does not lie in the area surveyed.

For the last 12 months, Heather Mauldin has been working in conjunction with ecologists at PB World on the first year of a 3-year contract for Georgia Department of Transportation borrow pits through Edwards-Pitman Environmental. To date, she has completed 61 individual survey tracts throughout the state, ranging from Catoosa County, to Glynn, from Burke to Clay, to Rabun, and a variety of places in between. While criss-crossing the state to locate proposed pit areas, this project has allowed Heather to explore often unseen corners of our great state, and sample a few great “out of the way” barbecue places on the way! Additionally, Ms. Mauldin has worked on a number of additional transportation and bridge replacement projects in Barrow, Clayton, Bartow, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Walton, and Fulton counties as a member of the Express Projects Team at NSA.

Christopher Espenshade, Mark Swanson, and Shawn Patch conducted archival research and archaeological survey of a portion of the Resaca battleground for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Parks, Recreation, and Historic Sites. The fieldwork included an intensive metal-detector survey of 37.35 acres of former pasture on the floodplain and terraces of Camp Hill Creek and surface survey and the mapping of trench remnants and possible rifle pits on 7.60 acres of wooded hillside, at the north end of the project’s Area of Potential Effects (APE). The metal-detector survey, which covered the entire floodplain and terrace portion of the APE, recovered 126 artifacts that can be securely attributed to Civil War military action and an additional 26 horseshoes, which may be from the battle. A well-preserved trench line and three possible rifle pits were also discovered on the hill slope. The artifact patterns suggest that the APE saw action on May 9, 1864, when the Federal probe reached at least as far east as the APE. The probe may have been repelled, in part, by Confederate artillery fire from a battery near the present I-75 interchange (outside the APE). The Federal troops were members of the XVI Corps, including the 66th Illinois and the 9th Illinois Mounted Infantry. The APE also witnessed action on May 14, 1964, when the Federals took the hills east of Camp Hill Creek, including the trench system in the northern end of the APE. Members of the XV Corps, including the 12th Missouri and either the 46th Ohio or the 97th Indiana, were engaged in the APE. New South recommended that due to the possibility of battlefield graves, the archaeologists monitor the removal of plow zone in all the proposed construction areas, and that further steps be taken if burials are found during monitoring.