AAS Chapter busy with meetings, events

The Augusta Archaeology Society Chapter is busy now with a variety of projects, meetings, and events. We are working on an update of our Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) Hafted Biface Types booklet, this time adding an abbreviated ceramics component. Long-time member Vivian McDiarmid has involved herself in assembling our AAS records into an up-todate history. Being the good packrats that we are, many of us who have been around a while have bulging file folders at her beck and call.

We meet 6 times a year: four dinner/speaker meetings, our Identification Day meeting in conjunction with the Augusta- Richmond County History Museum, and our Holiday Social. Our annual holiday party/potluck dinner for 2008 was December 11 at the home of Audrey and Paul Mahoney—two very enthusiastic people. Their house exudes Paul’s passion for understanding the Paleo-Indian culture of this area. We put forth our slate of 2009 officers and we elected John Arena, president, Diane Black, treasurer, and we can’t let our faithful and wonderful secretary and Debitage editor, Donna Hope go…she’s consented to stay on! Yea! Audrey Mahoney and John Whatley are co-workers on our program speakers and special events. So if you are in the neighborhood…. At the moment, our vice-president/president-elect position is vacant…but we have a great meeting coming up in April, so who knows, maybe someone will be inspired to step forward. The meeting will be at Famous Dave’s BBQ on Washington Road at 6:30 PM on April 17.

At our February meeting, our speaker was Dr. Thomas G. Whitley from Brockington and Associates. He has 18+ years experience on 300+ prehistoric and historic archaeological projects all around the United States. His presentation was on Hammond’s Ferry, more technically 38AK933, the Riverfront Village site, during the Early Mississippian and Contact Period in North Augusta, South Carolina. This site was a Yuchi village which was raided by the Westo in 1660. Our meetings are open to the public, so feel free to join us.

John Arena, Vivian McDiarmid, and John Whatley visited Stallings Island on January 30 to check on the goats and donkeys and the state of the site. The animals were in good shape and the site appeared undisturbed. We are helping the Archaeological Conservancy keep this valuable and unique site clean of weeds and free of looters. Stallings Island flourished some 3,700 years ago during the Late Archaic Period (3000–1000 B.C.). The Stallings Island culture produced the oldest documented pottery in North America, evidence of the first local shellfishing, and the region’s first settled communities. The repeated use of village sites, coupled with their consumption of large quantities of shellfish, produced the large shell midden mounds. They produced the earliest forms of elaborately decorated pottery, along with carved bone pins, banner stones, and stemmed projectile points.

We have tentatively scheduled May 23 for our Archaeology Day event at the Ezekiel Harris House. Located on Broad Street in Augusta, the house was built in 1797 and is said to be “the finest eighteenth-century house surviving in Georgia” (The Smithsonian Guide to Historic America). The house is an outstanding example of early Federal style architecture and is a reminder of the days when tobacco was the primary cash crop in Georgia. We look forward to a great turn-out.