President’s Message, summer 2008

Submitted by Carolyn Rock (cjrock@tds.net)

Another Georgia Archaeology Month has just been completed, May 2008! The Spring meeting held on Saturday, April 26, was a grand introduction to the month. Meeting chairman and SGA Vice President Dennis Blanton of the Fernbank Museum put together a well-planned program centered on the theme, “Archaeological Encounters in Georgia’s Spanish Period.” Meeting attendance was around 120, one of the highest, if not the highest, in recent times. Presented were recently investigated Spanish period sites from the coast, coastal plain, piedmont and mountains. The Spanish-Period-themed Archaeology Month poster, created by a design team from the Fernbank Museum (along with a lesson plan by the SGA Archaeology Month Committee) was sent to each SGA member as well as to libraries and educational institutions. For the first time in many years, we sold T-shirts emblazoned with the poster theme on the front and the SGA logo on the back at the meeting. The T-shirts were a success—we actually made a profit to help with future SGA expenses! At the meeting, SGA Secretary Tom Gresham was surprised by a presentation of the Caldwell Award for his exemplary contributions to archaeology in the state of Georgia. Congratulations, Tom!

Special events were held all over the state throughout the month of May. The Coosawattee River Valley, Dacula, and Telfair County (June) were locales for exciting volunteer excavations. There were public open house tours at the Georgia Archaeological Site File in Athens, the Chieftains Museum in Rome, and the University of West Georgia lab in Carrollton. Special demonstrations and activities were presented at Cumberland Island, Fort Frederica, University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia On My Mind Day in Sylvania, the Ezekiel Harris House in Augusta, the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center in Buford, the Public Library in Auburn, and the Archaeofest in Savannah. Activities especially for children transpired at the Public Library in Auburn, Atlanta History Center in Atlanta, and Clayton County Library in Jonesboro. Archaeology lectures were presented in Smyrna and at Bulloch Hall in Roswell, and a historic walking tour took place in Auburn.

Once again I would like to thank all involved for a job well done. Our co-sponsors included the Archaeological Services Unit (Georgia Department of Natural Resources), Bland and Associates, Brockington and Associates, Coosawattee Foundation, Council on American Indian Concerns, Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Environmental Services Inc., Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists, LAMAR Institute, New South Associates, Panamerican Consultants, Southeastern Archeological Services, Terracon, and TRC. Betsy Shirk was the overall Archaeology Month program chair. Without her wisdom and experience, the whole Archaeology Month process would not run so smoothly.

On June 10 (today, as I write this), Governor Sonny Perdue publicly proclaimed the month of May as Georgia Archaeology Month (normally it is proclaimed in May, but unforeseen events pushed the date into June). Present at the signing, and getting their pictures taken with the Governor, were several representatives from co-sponsoring institutions, as well as a few SGA Board members and officers. Yours truly was very excited about attending and being part of the Kodak moment. A picture to impress friends, relatives, co-workers, grandchildren! Fortune smiled as work schedules changed for the week allowing me to arrange the arduous trek from rural south Georgia to the capital city. After checking into the hotel, I telephoned Archaeology Month chair Betsy Shirk to ensure that the Governor’s plans for the next morning had not changed. Betsy’s first words were “Oh hi, sorry we missed you this morning….” What! Couldn’t believe it—I came up on the wrong day! All visions of skipping up the Capitol steps, strolling into the Governor’s office, rubbing elbows with…. Oh dear, then I had to call my boss Paul Brockington to let him know the goofball mistake. How to make memorable impressions the wrong way! Yes, family and friends will remember the year I contemplated photoshopping my mug into the Proclamation Day photo. Not Carolyn the Wise, Carolyn the Adventurous, but Carolyn the Goofball. Ha ha. But Paul was more than gracious, responding that though I missed representing SGA this year, next year I could attend as a Brockington & Associates representative. OK, it’s in writing; you all see it. I will mark each day of my May 2009 calendar as “possible Governor’s proclamation day,” and call Betsy every day for a week before the actual date. A not-to-be-missed event coming this summer is the annual SOGART meeting, offering professional papers at South Georgia College in Douglas, Georgia, on Saturday, August 9. The public is invited to hear archaeological discoveries from the Georgia coastal plain. Contact me or program chair Dwight Kirkland for more details.

Mark your calendars for the 2008 Fall meeting, Saturday, October 18, at the “Forum” in downtown Rome (Georgia, that is). The website www.forumevents.org will have directions/info in the future. There is no charge, and refreshments are included! The meeting will consist of general papers—watch the SGA website for more exciting details as the months progress.

Coastfest will be October 4, 2008. Coastfest is held on the grounds of the DNR office in Brunswick every fall. SGA always has a booth to educate and entertain thousands of visitors. We can use some extra volunteers, no experience necessary, smiles provided! Please contact me (Carolyn Rock, cjrock@tds.net, put SGA in “subject” heading) if you would like to help.

I look forward to seeing you soon, either at SOGART, Coastfest, or the next SGA meeting!