Busy spring and early summer for AAS

The Augusta Archaeological Society (AAS) has recently gained a few members—YEAH!!! We continue to meet every other month at Famous Dave’s, a barbeque restaurant located at 2821 Washington Road in Augusta, Georgia. Chapter members remain active with a list of our activities included below. John Whatley worked with Lloyd Schroder at an Artifact Identification Day held at the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site on April 12th.

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Vivian McDiarmid mans AAS exhibit at Regal Cinemas Exchange 20.

Tammy Herron set up an SGA exhibit at “Georgia On My Mind Day” on April 17th at the Sylvania Visitor Center along Hwy. 301 in Screven County. Visitors had an opportunity to read about the various objectives of SGA and activities that members are involved in around the state via the display board. A number of students enjoyed making pottery designs in clay and using the sorting game to sort artifacts into categories (see photos). Various handouts and brochures were available as well, including the SGA brochure and crossword and find-a-word puzzles for the kids using archaeological terms. Tammy just had to ask the students and teachers with the cool “SGA” T-shirts to pose for a photo in front of the SGA exhibit. Their SGA stands for Sardis-Girard-Alexander Elementary School located in Burke County, Georgia. Although the staff of the Visitor Center did not have an exact head count for the number of visitors during the day, they stated that they usually expect 500-600 people to attend. Members plan to attend “Georgia On My Mind Day” at the Augusta Visitor Center along I-20 scheduled for July 18th.

The Society’s April meeting was held on the 17th at Famous Dave’s. Our speaker for the evening was Dr. Mark R. Barnes, a Senior Archaeologist based in Atlanta with the Cultural Resources Division of the Southeast Regional Office of the National Park Service. Dr. Barnes gave a general overview of the Paleoindian period and the current status of Paleoindian archaeology, as well as detailing various recent discoveries. Diane Black, Tammy Herron, and John Whatley assisted members of the Beech Island Historical Society with the 2nd Annual Beech Island Tour of Historic Homes and Sites on April 19th. The trio was stationed at the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary.

Tammy Herron, Chris Murphy, Keith Stephenson, and John Whatley attended the annual Spring Meeting of the SGA held on April 26th at the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta. Each chapter was encouraged to bring a display so that the meeting attendees could view them during breaks throughout the day and perhaps promote interest in non-members to join the Society. Chapter member Rosanne Stutts crafted an informative tri-fold display detailing information about the history and activities of the AAS.

Over a dozen chapter members participated in a field trip to visit Kenny Jarrett’s museum in Jackson, South Carolina on May 12th. Mr. Jarrett has a very interesting display of War Between the States artifacts and locally collected Native American artifacts.

John Whatley worked with members of the Ocmulgee Archaeological Society at an Artifact Identification Day held at Fort Hawkins in Macon on May 17th.

Vivian McDiarmid worked with staff members from the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program (SRARP) on May 24th at the Regal Cinemas Augusta Exchange 20. The SRARP had an exhibit in the lobby of the theater to educate the new Indiana Jones movie entitled Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Aside from assisting SRARP staff, Vivian handed out fliers advertising Artifact Identification Day to be held at the historic Ezekiel Harris House, an event cosponsored by the AAS.

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Artifact Identification Day pottery stamping activity.

Despite the soaring temperatures, our annual Artifact Identification Day co-sponsored by the Augusta Museum of History and the Ezekiel Harris House was a success with over 100 visitors braving the heat and humidity (see photo at left). The event was held on June 7th at the historic Ezekiel Harris House (ca. 1797) located along Broad Street overlooking the Augusta Canal. Participating archaeologists included Pam Johnson with Georgia Department of Transportation, Renee Lewis with Fort Gordon, and Tammy Herron, Rob Moon, and George Wingard of the SRARP along with Field Technicians Maggie Needham and Megan Taylor. Flint knappers and primitive skills demonstrators included Donnie Collins and Clint Hutcheson from Stillmore, Georgia, and Bob Hill from Washington, Georgia. Danny Greenway, Lloyd Schroeder, and John Whatley fielded numerous questions regarding projectile points collected in the local area and elsewhere in Georgia and South Carolina. Danny Greenway and Emory Fennell exhibited projectile point displays from their private collections throughout the day. Tammy Herron also brought along the SGA display board, brochures, and activities for the children. Charles and Vivian McDiarmid provided hotdogs and cold drinks to the participants for lunch. Good publicity played an important role in the success of this year’s event, especially through avenues connected with the Augusta Museum of History and by Ben Baughman, Curator of the Ezekiel Harris House. Chapter members Vivian McDiarmid and John Whatley made several contacts in the Augusta area prior to the event, and colorful fliers prepared by the museum helped to boost public awareness of and spark interest in the event. A reporter from The Augusta Chronicle visited the event and wrote an article that was printed in the June 8th edition of the paper.

On June 10th, Tammy Herron attended the Archaeology Month 2008 Proclamation signing by Governor Sonny Perdue at the Georgia State Capitol. Diane Black and John & Andrea Whatley recently traveled to Natchez, Mississippi. While Andrea and Diane enjoyed an interesting and informative tour called the Natchez Pilgrimage, John visited the Historic Natchez Village and the Emerald Mound. Danny Greenway continues to work with Jerald Ledbetter on the Georgia Paleo projectile point survey and with Dr. Al Goodyear by providing site information and Clovis point data. Jill Nazarete continues her volunteer work with the SRARP. Leon Perry worked with Dr. Al Goodyear for a week at the Topper site in Allendale County. Finally, members will be assisting Beth Gantt of R.S. Webb and Associates, Inc. of Holly Springs as work progresses during excavations along the Augusta Canal.

Our group has been contacted by the Archaeological Conservancy regarding the opportunity to serve as site stewards for Stallings Island, a National Landmark located in the Savannah River just a few miles upstream from the downtown Augusta. Members will be honored to assist in protecting this important archaeological site and await final details regarding the agreement.