Long Swamp site reexamined

Submitted by Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc. (770-333-9484)

Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc. (EPEI), under a contract with GDOT, has completed a large-scale data recovery project at 9CK1, the Long Swamp site, situated on the Etowah River outside of Ball Ground, Georgia. The site was first professionally examined by Robert Wauchope in the late 1930s. He excavated on the east side of what is now State Route (SR) 372, where a low mound was located with an associated village. Lewis Larson also completed some fieldwork on this portion of the site at its northern end in the late 1940s. EPEI’s work was conducted on the west side of SR 372, in an area surveyed and tested by Southeastern Archeological Services in 2003 and 2004.

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View of Edwards-Pitman’s excavations at 9CK1.

During EPEI’s project, test units were excavated, the entire +4-acre site was stripped, and numerous features were explored. On the terrace, a complete, burned structure with a central hearth was identified. The structure was circular with a diameter of approximately 6 m. There are 22 posts that make up the exterior walls of the structure. A 1-m wide entranceway consisting of two 25-cm wide trenches with a 50-cm walkway is located along the southeastern side of the structure, and extends roughly 2 m from the wall. One radiocarbon date has been processed and the date returned
was A.D. 1610. Additional dates are planned.

In the floodplain, a second structure was found, also with evidence of burning. This structure was constructed of posts, roughly square, and measured 7 by 8 m. It had a central hearth and pit features. In addition, a palisade wall with an associated ditch was located. The palisade was traced from the previous location of the bank of the Etowah River to its turn under SR 372. Various features including refuse pits and roasting pits as well as apparent borrow pits situated on the outside of the palisade were excavated. At present, no radiocarbon dates have been run for this portion of the site. However, the occupation appears to date to the Early Mississippian, Late Etowah phase, approximately A.D. 1100-1200.

Laboratory analyses and report writing are currently underway. EPEI has planned a symposium discussing our findings at the 2009 Society for American Archaeology meetings, scheduled for Atlanta. New South Associates is undertaking the subsistence studies for the project and Keith Seramur is the geomorphologist. GDOT archaeology staff, led by Terri Lotti, conducted geophysical studies at the site during the early fieldwork phase. In addition, EPEI is preparing a public document regarding the prehistory and history of the Etowah Valley region in conjunction with this project.