GARS and FDF hold Frontier Faire

Skip Hopkins at the Helm of the FDF

Skip Hopkins at the Helm of the FDF

Catherine Long trains young archaeologists

Jim D'Angelo Pitches Ft. Daniel Park Master Plan

Jim D'Angelo Pitches Ft. Daniel Park Master Plan

Members of the Keith Family Tour Ft. Daniel

Members of the Keith Family Tour Ft. Daniel

The Gwinnett Archaeological Research Society (GARS) and the Friends of Fort Daniel (FFD), recently announced that FFD has reorganized as The Fort Daniel Foundation (FDF). The new organization will be a non-profit, tax-exempt entity that can receive donations and grants directed at the on-going work at the site, including site preservation.

In connection with these efforts, on May 2 GARS and FDF held a Frontier Faire at the site as part of the Georgia Archaeology Month celebration. Several members wore period garb including Skip Hopkins, a direct descendant of General Allen Daniel, who had a period general’s uniform made especially for the occasion. A Fort Daniel “museum,” featuring conserved Fort Daniel artifacts, was presented by site historian Shannon Coffey in a large War of 1812 re-enactment wall-tent purchased by GARS through private donations. In another area, GARS members erected a half-scale portion of the palisade wall and corner blockhouse that corresponds to features excavated in what is believed to be the southwest corner of the fort. Logs for that activity were donated by Chad Stephens through the efforts of Skip Hopkins, and stone was purchased, at a discount, from supplier Roy Strickland by member Wayne Waldrip. SGA Vice President and past president of GARS, Catherine Long, led several young people in the excavation of a unit that revealed still another portion of the palisade wall trench. Children also enjoyed screening ‘salted’ buckets of dirt, thanks to the efforts of members James and Betty Kinsaul.

Other activities included story telling and re-enactments with a period militiaman (Bruce Maney), a Scot frontiersman (Tim Hall), and a blacksmith (Doc Watson). With an estimated 250 persons attending, the Faire was also the occasion for the debut of the Fort Daniel Historic and Archaeological Research Park master plan developed by jB+a Inc.’s Raigan Carr and made possible through a Georgia Trust matching grant. Phil Hoskins, Director of Gwinnett County Community Services, which included the county’s Parks and Recreation program, attended the Faire and was favorably impressed with the site and the plan. The county will be meeting sometime in June or July to assess the current status of SPLOST funds from which the land for the proposed park would be purchased, but given the dramatic drop in tax revenues, the outcome is anything but certain. We will keep you posted…

GARS archaeological advisor, Jim D’Angelo has also announced that the Gwinnett County Site Assessment Project, approved by the GCPA three years ago, has been revived after being shelved while excavations at Fort Daniel and at Creekside Shelter left no time for other projects. Five GARS members, under Jim’s supervision, have begun the process of locating previously recorded sites so that they can be visited and their condition evaluated. Priority will be given to sites that were recommended eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, followed by sites whose eligibility was undetermined. Ineligible sites and isolated finds will not be re-visited. Though the project will probably take a couple of years to complete, it is anticipated that some useful cultural resource management information will come out of the study.