GARS is busy at rock shelter, Fort Daniel

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Families visiting the rock shelter site during the Winn Faire.

The Gwinnett Archaeological Research Society (GARS) held a public archaeology day at the Creekside Rock Shelter on the property of the historic Elisha Winn House in the Gwinnett County during the 2009 Winn Faire (October 13 and 14). The Faire, sponsored by the Gwinnett Historical Society (GHS), brought hundreds of visitors to the site where Jim D’Angelo and GARS members answered questions about archaeological method in general, and the on-going work at the rock shelter site in particular. Several youths lent a hand at screening. Though no new artifacts were recovered that weekend, previous digs at the site have produced an Archaic projectile point, a trade bead and Lamar ceramics (see the story on this website).

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Catherine Long screening with young visitors to the rock shelter site.

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The Creekside Rock Shelter final photograph after clean-up.

GARS and the newly incorporated, not-for-profit, Fort Daniel Foundation (FDF), also had a booth at the Faire where Fort Daniel artifacts as well as artifacts from previous GARS excavations on the Winn property, were featured. The exhibit was displayed in FDF’s 1812 War period wall tent that was purchased through donations for this purpose. Shannon Coffee, GHS, GARS and FDF historian and GARS/FDF member Christine Durgan greeted visitors dressed in late 18th–early 19th century clothing.

The FDF expects to have tax-exempt status in early 2010, after which it can aggressively pursue grants for development of the proposed approximately 15-acre Fort Daniel Historic and Archaeological Research Park. The master plan for this park was developed by jB+a, inc. in 2009 with a preservation grant the Friends of Fort Daniel obtained from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation (see http://thesga.org/category/publications/the-profile/summer-2009-issue/). Even though purchase of the 3 tracts for the proposed park from SPLOST funds has been deferred due to the poor economy, the Foundation is proceeding with optimism.

On November 14 GARS members, under the direction of Jim D’Angelo, continued limited excavations at the Fort Daniel site, focusing on “chasing” the palisade wall trenches of the south and west walls in order to determine the size of the fort (see the story on this website). At its November 17 meeting, member Scot Keith spoke about the Leake site, recently named to the 2010 Georgia Trust Places in Peril list. GARS active membership now stands at 31 and includes 4 Georgia archaeologists.

Both GARS and FDF have web sites, which detail their respective missions and activities as well as meeting times.