Greenspace is good for archaeology

Submitted by Sammy Smith (sammy@thesga.org)

Greenspace projects involve lands set aside to remain undeveloped. In cities, publicly owned greenspace is often in parks. The central purpose of greenspace is to assure that some terrain remain protected from building.

However, greenspace, or lands set aside for planning and conservation, also has significant collateral bonuses. For example, they provide opportunities for recreation, and ecological and environmental benefits. Also, preserving greenspace can often mean the preservation of archaeological sites.

How does that happen?

MNP_sign_Lenox_Road_CUHere is an example of a new park in Atlanta, called Morningside Nature Preserve. The 32-acre Preserve was dedicated on a foggy morning—Monday, December 14th, 2009. Yes, it’s a preserve, and it is also greenspace.

The Preserve’s property was landlocked, or in the middle of a developed area—both residential and business—and lacking legal access, even for a footpath. Thus, a big part of making this preserve more useful was to obtain legal access, develop a parking area, and build a path from the parking area to the core of the Preserve.

At the dedication, interested individuals and a few dogs assembled. Speakers spoke. Many individuals and organizations received heartfelt thanks and a moment of applause.

Several characteristics of this ritual are common to this sort of dedication. First, it took the cooperation of many stakeholder organizations to make this Preserve happen. The impetus for formation of this preserve came from a few individuals, who kept pushing for this to happen for over nine years.

There was also considerable institutional cooperation. Important organizations involved in the establishment and development of the Morningside Nature Preserve included, of course, the city of Atlanta and several neighborhood organizations, the city’s parks department (which is now responsible for maintaining the Preserve), and, especially Georgia Power Company. Georgia Power set aside land for the parking lot and contributed to development of an access corridor to the central part of the Preserve.

Without all of this cooperation, the Morningside Nature Preserve could not have been dedicated.

Check out the photo gallery for a dozen pictures of this event and the Preserve.

So, how do greenspace projects, like the Morningside Nature Preserve, benefit archaeological preservation? Don’t forget to add your comment….

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