GAAS April meeting topic is William Bartram

Submitted by Sammy Smith (


Dr. Jim Kautz will speak to the Greater Atlanta Archaeological Society, a chapter of the SGA, at our regular GAAS meeting on Tuesday April 13th. (These gatherings are on the 2nd Tuesday night of every month, and start about 7 PM with the talks beginning at 7:30 PM.  They are held in the Fernbank Museum of Natural History on Clifton Road, just north of Ponce de Leon.)

Dr. Kautz’s talk is titled “William Bartram and Archaeological Understandings in the Deep South”. Dr. Kautz described his talk as follows:

William Bartram traveled through large swaths of the South late in the eighteenth century and recorded a range of observations about Native American life. I plan to outline Bartram’s life, travels, and general contributions, and will discuss several of Bartram’s descriptions and narratives that lend themselves to understanding the cultures of the South (Indians, plantations, etc.) and the way they may assist archaeological understanding. Finally, I will say a bit about the theme of my book: the way Bartram allows us to understand changes in the South over the centuries.

Dr. Kautz has researched Bartram for some time and is the author of a recent biography of this famed writer, explorer, anthropologist (who visited and studied Native Americans in the late 18th century), naturalist, and poet. The biography is titled Footprints Across the South.

Jim Kautz went on his first archaeological expedition in 1966, to excavate et-Tell in the West Bank (Jordan) and participated in that project into the early 1970s. He was part of Max Miller’s team in the Moab project in Jordan. In America, Kautz excavated with Charles Faulkner in Knoxville and with the Tennessee-Tombigbee project in Mississippi. Born in Washington, D.C., Dr. Kautz taught at three colleges in the South and conducted archaeological explorations in the Middle East and America. In 2001, he began his quest along Bartram’s trail. Over five years, he traveled 15,000 miles across seven states, tramped trails, paddled and motored rivers and streams, and interviewed dozens of residents, scientists, and community leaders in revisiting Bartram’s Trail.

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