The SGA at CoastFest 2012

Submitted by Kevin Kiernan (

Over 8000 people from across Georgia and neighboring states crowded onto the grounds of the DNR’s Coastal Regional Headquarters near the beautiful Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick for the 18th annual CoastFest on Saturday, October 6, 2012.

01 BeautifulBridge PK sml

Eleven of the fifteen volunteers (Fred, George, Kevin, Peter, Leslie, Ellen, Cay and, not pictured, John, Charlotte, Dawn and Rita) arrived early to set up the tables, hang the banners, and wait for the onslaught! We were ready for action by 10.

02 Fred George KK PK Leslie Ellen Cay RE 1583 sml

As she has for the past several years, Archaeologist Rita Elliott of the LAMAR Institute near Savannah drove down the very popular ArchaeoBus, which has become a main attraction of the SGA at CoastFest and around the State.

05 ArchaeoBus RE redux

This year CoastFest allotted more space for the ArchaeoBus, which allowed us to park it right next the SGA tent.

21 CrowdAtFreds ABK 02

Their proximity beautifully integrated the activities under the tent with the exhibits in the ArchaeoBus, as many visitors observed with approval.

03 04 Combo RE 1615

The tables held the usual educational displays and interactive games, testing the skills of young and old visitors. Until this year, when the budget axe fell, the Glynn County Board of Education had for eighteen years sponsored an award-winning fourth-grade archaeology program to teach children critical skills through the study of Archaeology.

06 ABK Kids RE 1601

Aidine draws an enthusiastic group of kids around the ever-popular sorting of artifacts from Fort Frederica, which had participated in the Glynn County Archaeology program by allowing children to participate in mock excavations at the site. Nearby Oglethorpe Elementary provided a laboratory, where students analyzed their finds.

07 Cay Dawn K RE 1593

Dawn looks for reinforcements as a crowd begins to form around her station. Children always show a fascination with the interactive archaeological games. This year we heard frequent laments from parents and children that they were not able to study Archaeology this year.

08 ComeOnGeorge ABK 01

Cay and Leslie take a time-out to examine Fred’s exhibit, here displaying the wide range of shells, representing both food and tools, which he excavated from a prehistoric Indian home on St. Simons Island.

09 GeorgeRitaLeslie PK
10 Group redux

There was never a dull moment for any of the volunteers over the six hours.

12 PaddleStamping ABK 01

Kevin explains how Native Americans used carved paddles to stamp their clay pottery with simple, complex, and cord decorations before firing them.

14 Rock Jack RE 1605

Archaeologist Carolyn Rock of Brockington Cultural Resources Consulting distributes SGA posters to teachers.

This year, to teach some of the key principles of archaeology to the general public, we invited archaeologist Fred Cook to take over a table to present some results of his recent excavation of a Kelvin culture home site on St. Simons Island.

19 FredsTable PK 02

Fred gets the full attention of a spell-bound boy, who touches some of the labeled plastic bags containing the shellfish and faunal remains the prehistoric occupants consumed at the home.

17 GettingBusy PK 01

Fred’s display presented a piece of the house, consumed shellfish remains, faunal remains, pottery used to cook the food, decorative artifacts, tools made from bone and shell, a written analysis of faunal remains, and a field map of the house.

18 FredsTable PK 03

The teaching exhibit drew the attention of both young and older visitors. The 50-lb square hunk on the right is from the ash-packed floor of the home site, helping to illustrate the importance of stratigraphic excavation, which preserves the vital cultural context of artifacts.

Fifteen volunteers, including three professional archaeologists and eleven members of the Golden Isles Archaeological Society, held sway under the SGA tent and in the ArchaeoBus.

23 BeautifulRiver PK

After four years with Kevin Kiernan coordinating the event, Susan Shakleford of the Golden Isles Archaeological Society has handsomely agreed to take over as coordinator for CoastFest.

Acknowledgments: Jack Caldwell, Leslie Carlton, Fred Cook, George and Cay Ellis, Rita Elliott, Dawn Chapman Guest, Aidine, Kevin and Peter Kiernan, John and Charlotte Morin, Ellen Provenzano, Carolyn Rock, and Susan Shackelford for keeping things hopping from 10-4; and Rita Elliott, Aidine Kiernan and Peter Kiernan for contributing photographs for this article.

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