Register NOW for Fall Meeting

Submitted by Kevin Kiernan (

Historic Preservation of Prehistoric, Colonial and Plantation Structures on the Coast

UPDATE: Read final meeting agenda by clicking here.

Now’s the time to mark your calendars and register for the Society for Georgia Archaeology’s Fall Meeting, which will be Friday-Sunday, 15-17 October. Reservations for room and board must be in by 8 September 2010. This year’s theme is Historic Preservation of Prehistoric, Colonial and Plantation Structures on the Coast.

Tabby ruins on the Coast.

The Fall 2010 meeting of the Society for Georgia Archaeology will take place on St. Simons Island and environs from Friday-Sunday, 15-17 October 2010. The general theme of the meeting is Historic Preservation of Prehistoric, Colonial and Plantation Structures on the Coast. Instead of the traditional set of formal papers, we are holding a moveable feast of archaeological sites with discussions led and sustained by knowledgeable members of SGA.

Those of you arriving early on Friday might want to visit Fort Frederica National Monument, which closes at 5. There you might track down Chief of Interpretation, Jon Burpee, to ask him about his new findings about the old town. While you are in the area, you are strongly encouraged to visit the Harrington one-room schoolhouse, built in the 1920s by African-American tradesmen for their children and grandchildren, and now the focus of urgent historic preservation as a “Place in Peril” in the vanishing history of coastal Georgia. In particular, the Harrington School invites Fall Meeting attendees to visit between 5-7 pm. In the evening you will find plenty of great places to have dinner on St. Simons or further afield in the Golden Isles.

On Saturday morning we will convene briefly in the Sea Palms meeting hall for short orientation talks by David Crass, State Archaeologist and Head of Historic Preservation, and Dennis Blanton, President of the Society for Georgia Archaeology. We will then move out and have a working lunch at Gascoigne Bluff, where LAMAR Institute archaeologist Dan Elliott will conduct ground-penetrating radar at a promising new site near the tabby slave cabins, with permission of access from the Cassina Garden Club. The docents will have the cabins open for us and will answer any questions you may have about them. Also greeting us and taking care of us there and elsewhere will be members of the Golden Isles Archaeological Society.

Attendees should plan ahead to carpool on Saturday afternoon to remote, seldom visited, sites in Brunswick and Glynn County, guided by archaeologists Fred Cook, Keith Stephenson, and other experts. Among key sites we will visit, with permission of Morningstar Academy and the landowners, are the old plantations of Elizafield and Evelyn, which were first excavated by James Ford and Preston Holder during the “Golden Age of Archaeology” in the 1930s. Once thought to be an Indian mission and thus developed as Santo Domingo State Park, Elizafield has beautifully preserved tabby ruins where sugarcane was milled and processed. Evelyn has several preserved Savannah and Swift Creek Indian mounds, including Bartram’s famous “tetragon terrace,” as well as the tabby foundations of the 19th-century plantation house and the historic Brunswick-Altamaha canal, all quietly integrated into a modern neighborhood.

On Saturday evening Fort Frederica is holding a festive lime-burning, one of the essential steps in Colonial tabby-making (other steps are off-site revelry, before and after).

On Sunday we plan to continue the tour with expert guides to special sites in Darien and McIntosh County, including stops at Fort King George, Ashantilly, and The Thicket. Steven Smith will welcome us to the Fort King George Museum. Harriet Langford will introduce visitors to Ashantilly, the mainland tabby home of Thomas Spalding. With access arranged by Fred Cook from the developers of the property, we will close the meeting at The Thicket on Tolomato Island, site of the Carnochan tabby sugar mill and rum distillery, formerly identified as a Spanish mission, and the unusually well-preserved slave cabins. There are some great places to have lunch in Darien, whenever we get hungry.

We are reserving rooms, a hospitality suite, and a meeting hall for you at the beautiful Sea Palms Resort. Sea Palms has given us bargain rates, starting from $109 for a deluxe room with two double beds and a screened porch or sunroom overlooking the spectacular marshes or a lagoon. You carpoolers are also welcome to room-pool, as you see fit (or as you fit). You must make your own reservations by downloading this form and sending it by fax or email to Sea Palms by 8 September 2010 to get the special rates.

We also must tell the caterers by 8 September how many of you want box lunches on Saturday. Here’s the form for pre-registration and for ordering your box lunch.

October is a glorious time of year on the Coast. We look forward to seeing you all down here for a memorable Fall meeting. If you have any questions, or would like to contribute your knowledge to discussions at the sites, please email me by clicking here.

Cordially, Kevin Kiernan, Chair, Fall 2010 Meeting

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