October 4th, 2012


I came THIS close to being a movie star!!

Let me tell you all about it, including the journey, which was as exciting as the destination.

I know you’ve heard of Public Broadcasting System’s (PBS) Time Team America and how that television show was filming an episode in Millen. The team was there at Camp Lawton, where archaeologists have discovered the site of a Civil War prisoner of war camp. The team got a lot of archaeologists together who are experts at remote sensing. (Diary, that’s when they use all these high tech tools like ground penetrating radar and other gizmos to see underground and help determine where they will excavate.) Well after they gathered all this cool information, they started excavating and found two palisades that surrounded the camp! You’ll see all of this on the show when it airs in 2013. (It takes a long time to make a TV show!)

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The film crew shoots a segment about one section of the palisade, located at Magnolia Springs State Park.

So what does this have to do with me being a movie star, you ask? Well, my friends at The LAMAR Institute took me out to Camp Lawton. One of them, Real Dan, had helped make the original discovery and then was one of the remote sensing experts gathering archaeology data recently. He, Veronica, and Sunny took me to Camp Lawton to see what new discoveries had been made and to give me a marketing opportunity and a chance at stardom!

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Veronica drives, Sunny rides shotgun, and Real Dan provides commentary during our trip.

We had a nice drive from Effingham County northwest to Millen. We saw some friendly-looking men in funny white striped pants and orange jumpsuits picking up litter on the side of the road. They waved back to Veronica. And then Diary, we drove through Paradise! Yep, if you don’t believe me you can see the photograph Real Dan took to prove it. Funny, Paradise didn’t look exactly like I pictured it would. We drove some more and went right by this cool old farmhouse that is for sale to be moved. It is at the base of this impressive hill called Paramore Hill, which is one of the highest, if not the highest, points in southeastern Georgia! (Wheeze, wheeze—oh excuse me, I still get out of breath when I remember riding up that hill!) I felt kinda sorry for the forlorn farmhouse, because sometimes being relocated takes a little getting use to.

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Passing by the prison bus.

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Cruising through Paradise.

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Old farmhouse in Jenkins County.

Diary, you can see that the journey to Camp Lawton was an adventure in its own right. It was quite exciting to cap it off with a visit to the actual Civil War archaeological site. It is hard to imagine that in 1864 more than 10,000 Union prisoners suffered tremendously in this makeshift camp. Today the site sits partly in what is now the Magnolia Springs State Park and partly in the Bo Ginn National Fish Hatchery. It is a fittingly beautiful spot to the memory of those who suffered here and elsewhere on both sides of the atrocious American Civil War. I know a little about that because when I was a bookmobile I had quite a few books about that horrible part of the country’s history.

Now the story of Camp Lawton is being unveiled and told through archaeology. Many people will learn about it through the Time Team America program. I am sure that the Time Team America crew really wanted to film me as well, but they were on such a tight schedule they couldn’t come over to meet me. I hope that by admiring me from afar they didn’t mess up the filming. So while I might not be a star today, you just never know what may happen to tomorrow—just like in archaeology, you never know what the next shovel will uncover or the next document will reveal!

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Here I am, overlooking the frenzy of archaeological activity and television filming at Camp Lawton.

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The latest discoveries from the remote sensing and excavation work make newspaper headlines.