Archaeology Month 2011 SGA meeting weekend a success

Submitted by Tammy F. Herron (tfherron@gmail.com)

2011 Archaeology Month Nash Farm 2

Group photo at Nash Farm Battlefield on Sunday. Front Row (l to r): Rita Elliott, Mark Pollard, Jenna Pirtle and Jake Geeslin. Back Row (l to r): Catherine Long, Tammy Herron, Bill Bryant, Ben Baughman, Pam Baughman, Scott Chandler, Wayne Wilkes, Dan Elliott, Cassie Barrow holding William Barrow, Georgianna Barrow, and Andrea Dodd.

The Society for Georgia Archaeology’s eighteenth annual Georgia Archaeology Awareness promotion, Archaeology Month 2011, had as its theme Gone But Not Forgotten: Rediscovering the Civil War Through Archaeology.

Our request for a proclamation designating May as Georgia Archaeology Month was received and acknowledged by the Governor’s office. A number of SGA board members and representatives from Georgia’s archaeological community attended the proclamation signing by Governor Nathan Deal on May 31st at the capitol. Read the story of the signing on this website here. Photographed with the Governor were: SGA Board Member Rob Moon—Savannah River Archaeological Research Program; Brandon Batt and Lori Thompson—Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc.; SGA Secretary Pamela Baughman—Georgia Department of Transportation; SGA President Catherine Long—Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center; State Archaeologist Dr. David C. Crass—Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division, and SGA Vice President Tammy Herron—Savannah River Archaeological Research Program.

This annual promotion would not be possible without the assistance received from co-sponsors and event sponsors which allows us to offer this program to the public, thereby reaching thousands throughout the state. Our goal of raising public awareness of the importance of our state’s archaeological resources was met through the distribution of nearly 2000 posters, an associated lesson plan, and the education of those attending archaeology month events scheduled throughout the state in celebration of Georgia’s rich archaeological heritage. These events included archaeological exhibits, artifact identification days, archaeology lab open houses, lectures, public archaeology days, archaeology themed activities focused on Native American crafts and technologies, demonstrations of techniques used in the excavation of an old mill village, and a guided walking tour of Historic Oakland Cemetery—the site where General Hood watched the Battle of Atlanta. The events brochure and lesson plan were placed online in an effort to save on printing and mailing costs, as well as hoping to reach more people through the worldwide web. Posters were distributed to 8th-grade social studies teachers in the public schools, archaeology month co-sponsors, event sponsors, and SGA chapters in May.

Packaging day was held on May 12th at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Volunteers logged approximately 38 hours setting up, collating, stuffing tubes, filling boxes, making mail runs, and cleaning up. Elizabeth Allan, Dennis Blanton, Karen Denham Downen, Scott Goodlow, Tammy Herron, David Kasriel, Jack Kilgore, Catherine Long, David Noble, Leslie Perry, and Ann Rhea donated time to this effort. Some are members of the Greater Atlanta Archaeological Society, and we appreciate their support. Special thanks to Dennis Blanton and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History for providing a conference room for work space throughout the day. Dennis also assisted with loading and unloading boxes for shipping—thanks Dennis!

Click on thumbnails to enlarge.
[nggallery id=49]

SGA’s annual gathering for the spring meeting was held in McDonough, Georgia on May 13-15, 2011. Members of the Executive Board of the Society for Georgia Archaeology held their quarterly meeting in the early afternoon of Friday, May 13th. This meeting was followed by a meeting of the Executive Board of the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists (GCPA). The general meeting of the GCPA was held in the late afternoon. On Friday evening, members of the GCPA and SGA Board Members enjoyed a ramble to The Jailhouse Brewing Company in Hampton, Georgia for a tour and tasting. The brewery is housed in the old city jail and is said to be haunted by someone who was locked up for public drinking a time or two. If you are ever in Hampton, stop by and visit the owners “behind the bars” and sample a taste of Slammer Wheat, Mugshot IPA, and Breakout Stout.

The spring meeting was held on Saturday, May 14th in the Hudgins Room at the Henry County Chamber of Commerce in McDonough. Secretary Pam Baughman and Board Member Lynn Pietak greeted approximately 70 members and visitors at the registration table. At this station, attendees could also purchase t-shirts from previous Archaeology Month celebrations, pick up copies of the 2011 Archaeology Month poster, and purchase copies of Frontiers in the Soil (click here to order your copy). The SGA display board provided newcomers the opportunity to learn more about the Society, and while board member Kevin Kiernan could not attend, he sent a copy of his poster titled “New Deal Archaeology: Preston Holder on the Georgia Coast, 1936-1938” to be displayed. The poster contains various images of excavations that Holder worked on, artifact photos and handwritten notes, as well as profiles, plan maps, and contour maps of several of the mounds excavated on the Georgia coast.

[nggallery id=50]

Interesting and insightful lectures were presented throughout the morning and afternoon summarizing recent work on prehistoric and protohistoric sites in Georgia, as well as highlighting archaeological discoveries at various Civil War related sites across the state. Speakers included Dennis Blanton; Scott Butler; Kevin Chapman; Chris Espenshade; Tom Gresham, Heather Mustonen, Dan Elliott, and Mark Pollard; Jonathan Harton; Adam King and Keith Stephenson; William Phillips; Garrett Silliman; and James Wettstaed, Dan Elliott, & P.T. Ashlock, Jr. Thank you all so much for your willingness to share your research with us. And, we all look forward to hearing enthusiastic chapter reports from around the state during the business meeting portion of the Spring Meeting.

2011 Archaeology Month financials

Rita Elliott and Leslie Perry working feverishly to calculate the total proceeds from the Silent Auction.

Leslie Perry, Rita Elliott, and Catherine Long were instrumental in planning a Silent Auction that ran concurrently with the Spring Meeting. “Winners” were announced at the conclusion of the meeting, and we are proud to report that approximately $400 was raised for the Endowment Fund. An extra special thank you is extended to Allen Vegotsky of the Greater Atlanta Archaeological Society for donating the majority of the items for the Silent Auction! Thanks to the coordinators, donors, and buyers who made the Silent Auction a success!

Bright and early Sunday morning, those interested in the optional tour headed to Nash Farm Battlefield and Museum. The tour group split into two groups with one group touring the museum, while the other got to take a spin in the “limousine” for a tour of the battlefield. Cassie Barrow, Andrea Dodd, and Scott Chandler related interesting facts regarding the artifacts displayed in the museum, while local historians Mark Pollard and Bill Dodd accompanied by our own Dan Elliott, Principal Investigator of the Nash Farm Battlefield excavations, led a tour of the battlefield. Did you know that “Kilpatrick’s Charge” at Nash Farm is the largest cavalry charge recorded in the history of Georgia? Although many places in Georgia escaped conflict, four battles occurred on or very near this site in 1864; however, the battle that took place on August 20, 1864 is the most remembered. Special thanks to the volunteer staff at Nash Farm for lending us the “big” coffee pot for the Spring Meeting on Saturday and for allowing us to tour the site on Sunday, May 15th. I wish to acknowledge Cassie Barrow for assisting me in my search for a place to hold the Spring Meeting, for bending over backwards trying to find a free or low-cost meeting venue for SGA, for arranging the tour of Nash Farm Battlefield & Museum, and for coordinating refreshments for the tour participants.

Our next tourist destination was Heritage Park for a tour of the Historical Military Museum by proud veterans of the United States Armed Forces. A number of local veterans have donated memorabilia from their private collections to fill the museum and share their stories with interested visitors.

The Historical Museum in Heritage Park is dedicated to all veterans and their families and to those that serve now and in the future. The museum is full of vehicles, uniforms, artifacts, a lasting display of the two Henry County Medal of Honor recipients, and a Henry County Fallen Hero area. The staff of the museum is most knowledgeable in the history of all the uniforms and artifacts and will gladly spend as much time as you would like to tell you the history. [quoted from the Museum’s website here]

Following the museum tour, it was just a short walk through Heritage Park to the Veterans Wall of Honor.

The Veterans Wall of Honor is a unique national monument that honors all veterans, living and deceased, for their service and sacrifices to secure our freedom. Dedicated on Veterans Day 2008, it sits on a 2 ½ acre hilltop site in the historic Heritage Park in McDonough, Georgia. Old Glory, the 50 state flags and the emblems of all the military branches provide a grand backdrop for the focal point, a 75-foot long granite wall laser-engraved with depictions of various scenes of battle and service by our military, as well as famous quotes by our nation’s leaders and excerpts from inspirational poems. [quoted from the Wall of Honor’s website here]

The historic village at Heritage Park contains a 181-year-old log cabin originally built by Turner Hunt Clements, a detached cookhouse, a corncrib, a blacksmith shop, a one room schoolhouse, Henry County’s first library, a 1934 steam engine locomotive, Lane’s Store, a raised roof cottage known as the George M. Nolan house, the actual planing mill and a replica of the saw mill used at Miller’s Mill on Hwy. 155 North, and a beautiful community garden maintained by a number of Henry County’s senior citizens.

[nggallery id=51]

Months of planning and hard work by the Archaeology Month Committee precedes Archaeology Month each year. The 2011 committee members included Chairman Tammy Herron, along with Pamela Baughman, and Catherine Long. Pamela Baughman coordinated the calendar of events and created the e-brochure that was posted on the website. Pam also staked out the Jailhouse Brewing Company and arranged the tour and tasting. Catherine Long assisted with scheduling the proclamation signing through the Governor’s office, meeting arrangements, poster distribution, and provided refreshments for the Spring Meeting. Tammy Herron assisted with scheduling the proclamation signing through the Governor’s office and poster packaging and distribution, compiled the poster and lesson plan, coordinated meeting arrangements, and coordinated Sunday’s tour. Publicity was tackled by each of these members and then some.

Special thanks to Dan Elliott for providing much of the information used for the text on the back of the poster. We would also like to thank Rob Moon for assisting with graphic design and layout of the lesson plan and poster. Thanks also to Ashleigh Roell, Special Events Coordinator, with Henry County Parks and Recreation for providing images of Nash Farm, assisting with tour arrangements, and providing information about tourist attractions in the area; Laura Luker, Director of Tourism and Communications, and Phyllis Reeves, Information Specialist, with the Henry County Chamber of Commerce for assisting with meeting arrangements and providing information about hotels, local attractions, and restaurants; and Jim Joyce, Recreation Facility Coordinator/Community Services, with Henry County Parks and Recreation for arranging the tour of the Historical Military Museum at Heritage Park.

In these tough economic times where funding for various agencies continues to be cut and donations have fallen drastically, we would like to especially thank our 2011 co-sponsors: Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists, Georgia Department of Natural Resources—Historic Preservation Division, New South Associates, LAMAR Institute, Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, and TRC.

Thanks to all who helped make the 2011 event possible and to those who came out to join us for their support. Be sure to join us next year as we commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of the War 1812, and thank you for your continued support of archaeology in Georgia!