Summer 2014 President’s Message

Submitted by Tammy Herron

It is hard to believe that another Georgia Archaeology Awareness promotion has come and gone! Hopefully though, the Spring 2014 Meeting will linger through the memories that were made—whether through seeing old friends, making new friends, or learning new information about Georgia’s past. I personally wish to thank each and every one who worked to make the 2014 Spring Meeting at Red Top Mountain State Park and the tour at Etowah such a success!

Throughout the morning, it was interesting to hear about some of the current issues in the field of Georgia archaeology from the perspective of non-archaeologists as well as professional archaeologists. All too often we lose sight of issues such as personal safety when it comes to protecting archaeological sites. Scot Keith of New South Associates described the substantial loss of portions of the Leake Site through time due to development. In the absence of Jimmy McConnell, pinch hitter Joseph Roberts led us through a website chronicling the efforts of the Historical Society of Forsyth County to preserve cemeteries in their county. Metal detectorist and lifelong history enthusiast Bill Dodd spoke of how the Georgia Historical Artifacts & Research Group (GHARG) has partnered with archaeologists to locate and recover artifacts prior to development plans at Pickett’s Mill and Nash Farm battlefields. Mr. Dodd serves as Curator of the Nash Farm Battlefield Museum. RFC Jeff Billips of the Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division, Region III, detailed the involvement of DNR law enforcement in apprehending looters of pre-contact and historic cultural resources in two recent cases in Burke County, Georgia. We owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who don the uniform day in and day out to protect our freedoms and our shared cultural heritage.

Following this eye-opening presentation, Tom Gresham of Southeastern Archeological Services, Inc. summarized the salvage archaeology that took place at these looted sites, as well as the sentencing and fines for restitution that resulted from these cases. Chief Park Ranger Anthony Winegar of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park spoke of a Fall 2013 looting incident by a metal detectorist and the continuing efforts of the park staff to protect the cultural resources within the park boundaries. Finally, State Archaeologist Bryan Tucker presented interesting insights into the negative effects of reenactments on historic battlefields. I hope that everyone in attendance enjoyed the presentations as much as I did, and learned more about Georgia’s cultural resources throughout the course of the day. Click here to view the abstracts from the 2014 Spring Meeting.

Presenter Bill Dodd speaking about Nash Farm and the Georgia Historical Artifacts & Research Group (600x378)

Morning presentations were followed by the SGA Business Meeting. Most of the local chapters were represented by those in attendance. It is always rewarding to hear the reports of the Presidents and representatives and to see how chapter members are furthering the mission of the SGA. During the meeting, I was honored to present the George S. Lewis Archaeological Stewardship Award to the Clayton County Water Authority (CCWA) for its assistance in preserving the McVicker Family Cemetery in Jonesboro, Georgia. This cemetery had fallen into disrepair, was overgrown with vegetation, and was missing some tombstones that had been previously recorded. As part of a comprehensive preservation program designed for the cemetery at the request of the CCWA, researchers conducted an archaeological survey. Four family box tombs were restored, and the ornate fencing surrounding the plot was repaired and reset as a result of the project. Mr. Donnie Kiblinger, the gentleman responsible for initiating these efforts, accepted the award on behalf of the Clayton County Water Authority. Please see the article in the upcoming issue of The Profile to learn more about this story. Hopefully, the message of this story will reach far and wide and inspire people to undertake similar projects in their community.

Following the adjournment of the meeting, participants enjoyed a boxed lunch during an afternoon thunderstorm, and then journeyed to Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site. Dr. Adam King, Research Associate Professor with the University of South Carolina’s South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, led an enlightening tour of Etowah through an intermittent drizzle. Adam has conducted research at Etowah for a number of years and is seeking to reconstruct the history of the polities associated with the site. Recent research includes investigating the layout of the site via full coverage remote sensing surveys.

Adam_s tour of Etowah captivated the attention of approximately 30 participants. (600x399)

If you are traveling in the vicinity of Cartersville, I encourage you to stop in and visit the archaeological sites at Etowah and Red Top Mountain. Red Top possesses an interesting place in the history of Georgia’s iron ore industry; its name stems from the red soil of the area due to the high content of iron ore. Although not an official part of our tour, we also promoted visitation of the Interpretive Trail at the Leake Mounds that was dedicated last fall. This important site is situated just north of Etowah and was occupied during the Middle Woodland period approximately 300 BC to AD 650. You may also take a virtual tour of the site, listen to podcasts, and much by clicking here.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend special thanks to the following individuals. Chris Moore of the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program assisted in making my ideas for the 2014 Archaeology Month poster come to life through his computer graphics expertise—thanks Chris! Click here to access a PDF of the 2014 Archaeology Month poster. I wish to thank Leslie Perry for sending out the press release to numerous entities to advertise Archaeology Month and the Spring meeting. Special thanks to Marcus Toft and the staff at Red Top Mountain for all of their assistance and for allowing us to meet at this wonderful facility perched on the shore of Lake Allatoona. The hospitality proffered by the staff of the park was like a breath of fresh air. Joseph Roberts is to be commended for organizing the lineup of presenters for the morning session. Special thanks to Steve Hadley and Keith Bailey of Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site for assistance in coordinating the special tour of the park and museum, and to Dr. Adam King for leading the group on a wonderful tour of the site. Leslie Perry and Lyn Kirkland coordinated the refreshments that were enjoyed by the Spring meeting attendees—thanks ladies! Lastly, I wish to thank each of the presenters who offered your time and talent so that those in attendance could learn more about the archaeology and history of our great state.

Our theme for Georgia Archaeology Month 2014 was “Site Destruction: Pieces of the Past Lost Forever.” Materials associated with Georgia Archaeology Month were once again distributed to middle schools across the state, and the lesson plan will be posted on the website in plenty of time for teachers to prepare for the 2014-2015 school year. I wish to extend special thanks to our co-sponsors for assisting in our efforts to further the Society’s vision of reaching out to all Georgians and helping them understand the significance of archaeological sites so that they support archaeological preservation, education, and research. Our co-sponsors this year included: Brockington and Associates; Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc.; Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists; Historic Preservation Division – Georgia Department of Natural Resources; LAMAR Institute; New South Associates; Savannah River Archaeological Research Program; Southeastern Archeological Services, and TRC. Without the support of organizations such as these, we would not be able to reach as many members of the public as we do each year!

The SGA’s request for a proclamation designating May as Georgia Archaeology Month was received and acknowledged by the Governor’s office. Click here to access a PDF of the Proclamation. SGA officers and board members, representatives from Georgia’s archaeological community, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) attended the proclamation signing ceremony with Governor Nathan Deal on the morning of Thursday May 1st at the Capitol in Atlanta.

Proclamation Photo-Op 5.1.2014_2 cropped (600x354)
Pictured left to right: Joseph Roberts – SGA Board Member and representing Edwards Pitman Environmental, Inc.; Matt Matternes representing New South Associates; Scott Goodlow – President of the Greater Atlanta Archaeological Society; Leslie Perry – Vice President of the SGA; Governor Nathan Deal; Tammy Herron – President of the SGA and representing the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program; Bryan Tucker – State Archaeologist and Section Chief, Department of Natural Resources – Historic Preservation Division; and Jon Blackwelder representing Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc.

Early Georgia Editor Jared Wood assures the membership that the Spring 2014 issue is in the final stages of production. According to Jared, “this issue is a non-thematic production which includes a diverse set of submissions that will reveal investigations into one of Georgia’s oldest Colonial cemeteries, expose readers to the history and mystery of a specific case of petroglyphy, cover the survey and testing of historic settlement on one of our barrier islands, delve into cuisinary complexity at a contact-period cultural confluence, follow the botanical queries of ongoing research at a Middle Woodland site in our northern climes, and include a book review on Cherokee lifeways during the late 17th to early 18th centuries.” Coming soon to your mailbox!

Save the Date! The Fall Meeting of the SGA will take place on Saturday, October 18, 2014 in Statesboro, Georgia. Matt Newberry and P. T. Ashlock are in charge of local arrangements for the meeting. A block of rooms has been reserved at Spring Hill Suites, 105 Springhill Drive, Statesboro. The rate per room, including hot breakfast, is $89 single, $99 double, and $109 super double. The last day to book for this offer is Friday, September 26, 2014. The phone number for the hotel is 912-489-0000. Click here for the hotel’s website.

Click on the this link to book at the group rate.

Join us for exciting presentations about Georgia archaeology throughout the morning session, followed by the SGA Business Meeting. After lunch, we will journey to Magnolia Springs State Park for a tour of Camp Lawton, a Civil War prison camp located in Jenkins County near Millen, Georgia. Professors and students with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Georgia Southern University have been conducting investigations at the site since 2009. A tour of this site will be a unique way to commemorate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Civil War—one of the most defining events in the history of North America.

Consider joining us for CoastFest—a fun-filled, educational event featuring over 70 exhibitors striving to educate the public about the environment and Georgia history. The event will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2014 on the grounds of the Georgia DNR Coastal Regional Headquarters at the base of the Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick. Volunteer for a fun-filled day educating the public at the SGA tent and Abby the ArchaeoBus! This is an awesome educational event, and volunteers are always needed.

Keep in mind that the deadline for submissions for the Student Research Grants sponsored by the SGA, Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists, and the Georgia DNR is September 1, 2014. The committee hopes to receive a large pool of qualified applicants! Click here to learn more about the debut of the research grant and to link to the grant application.

Please visit the website often for updated postings regarding archaeology in Georgia, including issues that may call for immediate action on your part. Consider submitting an article for the website if you visit an archaeological site on your travels throughout Georgia this summer! Chapters, please remember to submit information about your meetings and activities, too. We are always seeking submissions. I hope that you have a great summer and look forward to reading about your archaeological adventures!

—Tammy Herron, President