President’s Message, fall 2008

Submitted by Carolyn Rock

It’s hard to believe that my term as President of SGA is coming to an end. I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with so many volunteers, both professional and avocational, who are dedicated to the preservation of Georgia’s archaeological heritage.

I would like to thank board members Stephen Hammack, Tammy Herron, Terry Jackson, Pam Johnson, Catherine Long, Chris Murphy, Rick Sellers, and John Whatley for their commitment and enthusiasm. All contributed to the success of SGA over the past two years. Terry, Pam, Chris and Rick will be ending their four-year terms, but as dedicated avocational or professional archaeologists, they will continue to be active in SGA programs. I am expecting they will persist in the efforts of the board committees that they chaired—Advocacy, Publicity, Collectors Survey, Fundraising—not because they are required, but simply because they are so interested in these efforts and have tasted success. Officers Dennis Blanton, Tom Gresham, Michael Shirk, and ex-officio Lucy Banks have been indispensable administrators, offering in turn sparks of ingenious creativity, words of caution and reason, technical advice, visionary ideas, blasts of humor, and admirable leadership qualities, all combining to provide substance to our dreams of an ideal archaeological world.

As I type this letter, the Board Development Committee headed by Beth Gantt is still deciding on the nomination of new board members and officers. Thanks, Beth, for committing to this crucial but often tedious job. As you all know, general membership votes on the new board members. When you get the ballots, please don’t forget to send them in by the stated deadline. If all goes smoothly, the new board members and officers will be installed during the annual business meeting on October 18 in Rome.
One officer that is for certain is Dennis Blanton as the incoming President. As you know according to the by-laws, the vice president automatically becomes the next president. Dennis, I am confident that your leadership abilities will steer SGA on through bigger and better dreams, tempered with doses of reality, humor, and unparalleled dedication to Georgia archaeology.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the other enthusiastic volunteers who have committed so much time to SGA. Betsy Shirk chaired the Archaeology Month Committee both years of my tenure. Thanks Betsy—with your experience from previous Archaeology Months, I knew that I did not have to worry about the success and scheduling of all the components involved in that process. Betsy also acted as interim editor of Early Georgia, taking up the reins after the resignation of Adam King, and before handing the job over to Tom Pluckhahn. Dave Hally has proven to be a stabilizing force during the turnovers, continuing to act as managing editor. Editorship of the SGA newsletter, The Profile, can be a rewarding but time-consuming task. These past two years have seen the transfer of editorship from Brian Thomas to Larissa Thomas. I’ve heard that somehow these two people know each other, so the transition has been as smooth as glass. Thanks, Brian and Larissa, for a first-class newsletter!

The organization of fall and spring meetings requires hours of behind-the-scenes time and effort. A big thank you goes to those who organized those adventures. Dan Elliott’s 2007 spring venue at Fort Hawkins was well done and very creative in its “passport” approach to visiting several important fort sites in the Macon area. Catherine Long’s 2007 fall meeting at the Gwinnett Heritage and Education Center was a great success with over fifty people in attendance and a full slate of very interesting papers. Dennis Blanton’s 2008 spring meeting at Fernbank showcasing Spanish contact sites drew the largest attendance in perhaps the last 20 years; over 120 people showed up for the presentations. I expect Dave Davis’ 2008 fall meeting (October 18) in Rome will draw a crowd, too. Rome is a beautiful place to visit in October. As I write this message, his presentation line-up is not completed, but I hear that there will be some great papers. Also free snacks! Check the SGA website for updates on the fall meeting.

Our most ambitious project to date is the acquisition and equipping of the “Archaeobus,” a used bookmobile converted into a mobile archaeology classroom. As I write this letter, two grant awards are being used to re-paint and equip the vehicle in libraries (the bus was “donated” by the Athens area library system). We are expecting to expand programs to eventually cover the entire state. Rita Elliott has devoted much of what spare time she has to chair the Archaeobus Committee. Thanks, Rita, for all you are doing!

The past two years have seen a flurry of activity from our 10 chapters within SGA. I will not write about your successes or escapades here because I want to encourage you to continue submitting those great news articles to The Profile. Keep up the good work!

I probably left some people out that I should have thanked. My best excuse is that I am older and often forget things that I consider very important…like where I put my driver’s license when I am at the airport ticket counter, or which day an important meeting is, or the name of someone I have known a long time that I want to introduce. So consider it a compliment if I have left your name out, or if I have forgotten to mention that very important event!

I leave SGA with the completion of our first ever Annual Report. This report, summarizing our successes for the year 2007, is of the type often requested by funding or granting agencies. It is one more tool we can use when applying for donations of any type. Look for it soon to be posted on our website.

Don’t forget, Coastfest on Saturday, October 4. This annual DNR event attracts thousands of children and parents. SGA will have a table and can always use volunteers. If you would like to help, contact me at cjrock@tds.net.

I hope to see all of you at our next meeting in Rome, Georgia, on Saturday, October 18. For more details of the meeting, check this newsletter (see page 7) or the website.