Mounds in Our Midst

Monuments of Prehistoric Culture in Georgia

The Society for Georgia Archaeology is proud to announce the theme for presentations at our semi-annual meeting associated with Archaeology Month 2009: Mounds in Our Midst: Monuments of Prehistoric Culture in Georgia. The Annual Spring Meeting will be held over two days in Macon. On Saturday, 16 May, we’ll meet at the Anderson Amphitheater in the Taylor Building on the campus of Wesleyan College for a series of presentations. Registration is $10 per person. On Sunday, 17 May, attendees have the opportunity to join a guided tour of the Lamar Mound site, south of Macon; this site is normally closed to the public.

Georgia’s archaeological landscape features numerous sites with artificial, human-constructed earthen mounds. Created by diverse Native American cultures, mainly between 500 BC-AD 1550, these remarkable monuments are evocative reminders of prehistoric societies that once flourished in every corner of the state.

Archaeology Month 2009 is devoted to a celebration of their survival and a meditation over their purpose and meaning. Long gone are the days when the impressive tumuli were explained away with reference to a lost race of “moundbuilders,” somehow distinct from Native cultures known to the same area. More than a century of archaeological study tells us that indigenous peoples are, in fact, responsible for the mounds. The same work has established that the mounds are not all the same but varied considerably in their design and purpose.

Also long gone are the days when Georgians could take prehistoric Indian mounds for granted. Because knowledge is the foundation for stewardship, Archaeology Month 2009 features new research that is improving our sense of the place these ancient constructions held in the societies that erected them. And important among these efforts are creative solutions for preserving more mound sites from looting and destruction.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of an archaeology awareness promotion in Georgia. From its inception as a weeklong celebration in 1994, the observance has grown to an entire month of special public events, exhibits, and demonstrations in communities across the state; check our calendar for events we’ve heard about. The SGA serves as the primary sponsor of Georgia Archaeology Month. Co-sponsors include state agencies, private firms, and non-profit and professional organizations. Public outreach is a critical link in fostering better awareness of archaeology and a sense of stewardship for our state’s archaeological sites. The SGA advocates preservation, protection and interpretation of these fragile resources, including the dramatic monumental architecture, or mounds, that are the focus of this year’s Spring Meeting.

Meeting program
    Saturday, 16 May
  • 8:30 am • Registration begins
    Cost is $10 per person.
  • 9:15 am • Dennis Blanton
    Welcome and Introduction
  • 9:30 am • Kevin Kiernan
    A Little-Known Prehistoric Indian Mound on St. Simons Island
  • 9:50 am • Dennis Blanton and Inger Coxe
    Mound Burials Across Two Millennia on the Georgia Coast: The Perspective from St. Catherines Island
  • 10:10 am • Tom Whitley
    End of Days: The Legitimization of Chiefly Power and Earthen Mound Burial Practices at the Time of European Contact on the Georgia Coast
  • 10:30 am • Break
  • 10:50 am • Keith Stephenson and Frankie Snow
    A History of Mounds and Mound Exploration in Georgia’s Interior Coastal Plain
  • 11:10 am • Tom Pluckhahn
    Rethinking Mound D at Kolomoki
  • 11:30 am • Jim D’Angelo
    A Report on Preservation Efforts at the Fort Daniel Site in Gwinnett County
  • 11:50 am • Lunch
  • 1:30 pm • Adam King
    Latest Results of Geophysical Testing at Etowah and Ocmulgee
  • 1:50 pm • Scot Keith and Dean Wood
    Mound Use On and Around the Leake Site in Northwest Georgia
  • 2:10 pm • Jared Wood
    Mounds Abound! Mississippian in the Savannah Valley
  • 2:30 pm • Break
  • 2:45 pm • Mark Williams
    Behind Closed Doors: What Goes on in the Temples on Mississippian Mound Summits
  • 3:05 pm • Jeffrey Glover and Georgia State University students
    Report on Documentation of the Flat Rock African-American Cemetery in Dekalb County
  • 3:15 pm • Brief Business Meeting
  • 4:00 pm • ArchaeoBus christening
    Parking lot.
  • All Day Poster Presentation • Karen Smith and Keith Stephenson
    Analysis of Vessels from the Shelly Mound in Pulaski County, Georgia
  • Sunday, 17 May
  • 10 am • Walking tour of the Lamar Mounds Site, Ocmulgee National Monument (conditions permitting)

Here are two maps that indicate where Wesleyan College can be found. Click on either to get to an interactive Google map of the area. Also, click here for information on a reserved room block for meeting attendees at a nearby hotel.