Thomas H. Gresham receives 2008 Joseph R. Caldwell Award

gresham_caldwell_2008At the 2008 spring meeting of The Society for Georgia Archaeology (SGA), Thomas H. Gresham received the Joseph R. Caldwell Award for outstanding service to Georgia Archaeology. The Caldwell Award recognizes those individuals dedicating a noteworthy amount of time and energy toward supporting an archaeological project; making outstanding contributions in the area of public education and Georgia archeology; and providing substantial support for SGA and its programs over time.

Mr. Gresham has been dedicated to preserving the history and prehistory of Georgia and making that information available to the public, often by donating his time and expertise, often behind the scenes, for the past thirty years. As a principal in Southeastern Archeological Services cultural resource management firm, Tom has performed archaeological investigations in an ethical and professional manner, resulting in the identification and protection of hundreds of sites in Georgia. He has also pursued research interests such as his investigation of historic rock piles and aided in interpretation of these sites. An Eagle Scout, he has volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America in investigations around Clark Hill Reservoir as well as made numerous presentations to school groups, library groups, and others to raise awareness of Georgia’s archaeological resources.

Mr. Gresham is past President of the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists, long time officer and board member of the LAMAR Institute and President of the Oglethorpe County Historical Society. Tom has worked for the protection of human burials and was on the committee that drafted Georgia’s burial law, OGA 36-72. In addition, as a governor-appointed member of the Georgia Council on American Indian Concerns since its inception, Tom has provided archaeological expertise in dealing with burial issues brought before the Council as well as assisted in producing information to explain the laws and landowner rights to the public and developers. He has devoted innumerable volunteer hours as an active member of SGA.

Mr. Gresham is currently serving his second term as Secretary of SGA, having served a 4-year term as board member prior to taking this office and for five years prior to that as editor of The Profile. During his term as board member, he was instrumental in preparation of the application for 501(c)3 status as well as providing the solution for a permanent address for the organization. As Secretary he has continued to manage the member database, coordinate new member services, and provide support for Early Georgia distribution.

Notably, Mr. Gresham was the mover and shaker behind the recent acquisition of the Athens Clarke County regional library’s retired bookmobile for refitting as SGA’s archaeology mobile, and secured the $5,000 grant from Georgia Transmission Corporation to cover the cost of getting the bus wrapped!

The award, last presented in 2007 to Rita Elliott, reflects the many contributions of Joseph Ralston Caldwell, whose archaeological fieldwork in Georgia and work in the Southeastern U.S. began at the Works Progress Administration excavations near Savannah during the late Depression. He served as Professor of Anthropology at the University of Georgia from 1967 until his death in 1973. The first Caldwell Award was presented in 1990 to long-time SGA member George S. Lewis, followed by Frankie Snow in 1992, Jim Langford in 1993, David Chase in 2000, and Betsy Shirk in 2004.