The SGA welcomes its newest Chapter: The Golden Isles Archaeological Society—GIAS

Submitted by Jamice Meschke, President GIAS (jdmeschke@comcast.net)

The Golden Isles Archaeological Society (GIAS) is the newest Chapter of the Society for Georgia Archaeology. After a long, deliberative process, Jamice Meschke, president of GIAS, appointed a sub-committee of Ellen Provenzano, Billy Bice, and Kevin Kiernan, with herself as chair, to write up new By-Laws in compliance with the rules and obligations of the SGA.

After discussion at several monthly meetings, the new By-Laws were distributed to all members by email in preparation for a vote at our 7 December 2010 meeting. Archaeologist Ray Crook attended the meeting to discuss archaeological ethics, as well as relevant state and national laws, and then answered questions from the floor. After discussion, GIAS members voted unanimously to accept the new By-Laws and become a Chapter of the SGA. The most relevant By-Laws are Articles I, II, and XII, as follows:

Article I—Name
1. The name of this organization shall be Golden Isles Archaeological Society, hereinafter referred to as GIAS, a chapter of Society for Georgia Archaeology.

Article II—Purpose
1. To unite all persons interested in archaeological and historical remains and to increase knowledge through research, site and museum visitations and participation in archaeological projects.

2. To promote archaeological identification, documentation and research of both known and unexplored archaeological resources.

3. To involve and raise public awareness of the significance of these cultural remains. To help prevent wanton destruction, vandalizing looting, and careless, unrecorded digging of archaeological sites. To discourage the sale of real and fraudulent antiquities.

4. To encourage preservation of our archaeological and cultural resources.

Article XII—Cultural Materials Deposition

1. Members of GIAS agree to abide by the ethical standards of conduct held and promoted by the Society for Georgia Archaeology, as described in the policy statement published by the Society for American Archaeology in American Antiquity (Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 137-138). Artifacts forever lose their scientific, historic, and cultural value, if the context in which they are found is not formally documented. For this reason, no member shall collect, remove, trade or sell any artifact for the purposes of personal gain. GIAS will participate only in excavations supervised by a professional archaeologist, who will ensure that proper field records are kept for posterity. It is the right of private landowners who have permitted an excavation on their property to keep these records and any artifacts that are found. However, GIAS will encourage the deposition of these records and accompanying artifacts in a scientific or educational institution or museum, where they may be permanently curated and studied to contribute to the understanding of our past.

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On a lighter note, GIAS had a busy Fall. Archaeologist Fred Cook addressed the Society at its September meeting to recruit members to participate in a dig at Selden Park in Brunswick, where Fred had identified a likely habitation area of prehistoric Indians. The dig took place under Fred’s supervision, with the knowledge of City officials and the State Archaeologist, on Friday and Saturday, 1-2 October, with several GIAS members participating. On Saturday, 1 October, members of GIAS also participated in the day-long SGA activities at CoastFest 2010, which drew in a record crowd of over 7500 people.

Two weeks later, a large number of GIAS volunteers helped make the annual SGA Fall meeting a success, by providing water for all site visits, and setting up and cleaning up our picnic lunch at the Hamilton Slave Cabins. GIAS and Cassina Garden Club member Leslie Carlton facilitated our visit to this historically and archaeologically compelling site on Gascoigne Bluff. In November GIAS was invited to visit and picnic at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Tannis Cross, whose property once sustained prehistoric Indians on a high bluff overlooking the upper reaches of the Darien River.

If you have any suggestions or questions regarding SGA’s new Chapter GIAS, please contact Jamice Meschke, President, Golden Isles Archaeological Society, via email by clicking here.