Artifact information

Archaeologists rely heavily on stylistic and typological changes in artifacts to date archaeological occupations and features.

There are 27 articles in this category. Each excerpt below links to the full article (click on the article headline or the 'Click here to read' link!)

Artifacts in Athens: an historic cannon

Submitted by Sammy Smith (

Double barreled cannon 2011 CUMake a field trip to Athens and check out the Civil War-period double barreled cannon on the top of the highest hill downtown, on the northeast corner of the grounds of the old city hall. Consider visiting the cannon on 22 October 2011, as well as attending the SGA’s Fall Meeting that day and the Society’s silent and live auctions in the evening. Click here for more information on the Fall Meeting.

Terminology: What do archaeologists mean by “symbol”?

Submitted by Sammy Smith (

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has acquired a ubiquitous modern symbol: the @ symbol. Consider what makes a symbol a symbol and what symbols you are familiar with in the modern world, and what symbols you have seen in books or museum displays. Go to the full story for a lengthier discussion….

Blue jeans and radiocarbon dating

Submitted by Sammy Smith (

Blue jeans, what do blue jeans have to do with radiocarbon dating? Click on the headline to go to the full story and discover the answer! In the process read about relative and absolute dating, calibration curves, and more! This wandering Ponder began with explaining the notation “cal BP,” which you may encounter in archaeological reporting.

Artifacts and context

Submitted by Sammy Smith (

This Weekly Ponder considers artifacts and context, defining and discussing how archaeologists use these terms and what that means for interpretation of artifacts—and sites. The Ponder goes on to consider the context of the Shroud of Turin, which will be on display in spring 2010, in Turin, Italy.

“…iron gall ink on parchment”

Submitted by Sammy Smith (

What is iron gall ink? Parchment is a common term, but what is that ink? Colonial-period documents were commonly written in iron gall ink. Georgia’s copy of the Declaration of Independence was. Even Bach and Da Vinci used it! Read more about this ink in the full story. Find out how many kinds of trees it takes to make the ink, too!

New radiocarbon calibration curve: IntCal09

An international working group called INTCAL has announced an updated radiocarbon calibration curve based on cross-checking thousands of tree-ring samples with raw radiocarbon dates. The new curve is available online.

New metal artifact preservation method explored

Submitted by Sammy Smith (

On 27 December 2009, the online version of Charleston’s Post and Courier published a fascinating story by Tony Bartelme titled “Research on Hunley spurs new discoveries.” The new discoveries relate to faster methods for preserving metal artifacts, like the H.L. Hunley Confederate Civil War submarine, which sunk near Charleston in February 1864.

“Preserving Georgia’s Historic Cemeteries”

Submitted by Sammy Smith (

cemetery_marker_GA_cuThe Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has a downloadable sixteen-page booklet dated November 2007, titled Preserving Georgia’s Historic Cemeteries that you may find interesting.

Considering taxonomies in the twenty-first century

Submitted by Sammy Smith (

Deptford_Ch_St_UGA_CUArchaeologists use and develop taxonomies, or systems for classifying artifacts, etc. That fewer people are proficient in taxonomic classification these days is alleged in a recent article. Read more about classification systems in general, and generalized categories, e.g., for bushes, trees, and vines, that are common in multiple cultures.

Identifying and dating glass bottles

Submitted by Sammy Smith (

bottlegroup_CUGlass bottles are quite common on historic sites, and we can often find interesting specimens at flea markets or in antique stores. This website, sponsored by the Society for Historical Archaeology and the Bureau of Land Management, provides detailed information about bottles made in the USA (and some from Canada) between about 1800 through the 1950s.

Learn about Georgia’s prehistoric pottery online

Submitted by Sammy Smith (


To explore and learn about the decorations used on prehistoric pottery from Georgia, visit the University of Georgia’s website on Georgia Indian ceramics. The helpful website has pictures, discussions, and full bibliographic citations for pertinent literature.

Who made the “LACLEDE KING” brick: The answer

Submitted by Dick Brunelle (

laclede-brick-co-1854_cuDick Brunelle has revealed the answer to the challenge he posed to readers almost two months ago, since no one logged in and submitted the answer. He asked people who made a brick he saw in LaGrange with “LACLEDE KING” stamped on it. As a tease, he noted: The brick is more closely related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, than it is to covered bridges in Georgia. Ed. note: You must read the full story; it’s wonderful!

Old money

Submitted by Sammy Smith (

ocmulgee_five_cuIn the nineteenth century, banks around the USA commonly issued their own currency, like this five-dollar note from Ocmulgee Bank of Macon. Banking standards affect capitalization of projects and the economy in general. Read more about the Panic of 1857 by clicking [More].

Beveled points and Edgefield scrapers

Submitted by Scott Jones (

The Edgefield scraper is a diagnostic tool of the Early Archaic period that is geographically distributed throughout much of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida. It is essentially a unifacial hafted tool with a bifacially worked side-notched base that typically co-occurs with side-notched points of the Big Sandy/Bolen/Taylor group (Goodyear et al. 1980), but is […]

Interesting artifact

Submitted by Heather Mauldin (

Click to see larger. New South Associates, Inc., recently performed excavations at the Berry Creek site (9MO487) in Monroe County, Georgia, for Georgia Power Company. Many of the ceramics in the artifact assemblage were identified as representative of the Swift Creek culture, and several ground- and chipped-stone tools were recovered. One artifact of note, identified […]

Of rock shelters and work at Fort Daniel

This year the GARS Archaeology Month event was a public archaeology day at the Creekside Rock shelter located on the historic Elisha Winn property in Dacula, on May 3 and 4. The site was first identified, recorded, and excavated by GARS in 2006. Although contending with intermittent showers and poor turnout on Saturday, two large […]

Dugout canoe déjà vu?

Submitted by Fred Scheidler

Initial view of dugout canoe in 1970. In late December 1970, I assisted the Broward County Archaeological Society in the location, recovery, and restoration of an abandoned, twelve and a half foot long, cypress dugout canoe. It became the primary display in the small museum the group maintained for public education. My friend Keith Hunt […]

Pipeline and other surveys

Submitted by TRC (770-270-1192)

Since the summer, TRC has continued to work hard on pipeline (and other) projects across the Southeast. In Georgia, we have carried out a handful of survey projects in DeKalb, Cherokee, Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Houston, McDuffie, and Whitfield counties, with nothing especially interesting to report. One project that seemed to have potential for some good […]

Fort Daniel news, artifacts

Submitted by Gwinnett Archaeological Research Society

Figure 1. English leaded crystal from Fort Daniel. GARS continues its study of the Fort Daniel site (9GW623) in Gwinnett County, having completed the first phase of investigations on November 9 after 16 weekends in the field. Results of the investigations to date were presented at the Fall SGA meeting. A PowerPoint presentation in PDF […]

Fall Picnic; dugout canoe

Submitted by Coastal Georgia Archaeological Society

This year our Society held its Fall Picnic on November 3 at Fife Plantation, later than usual due to warnings about heat and mosquitoes, the hazards of visiting a Savannah River plantation. Nevertheless, after a slightly chilly start, it was a perfect fall day with brilliant sunshine lending a glow to what were once rice […]

A discussion of Joseph Caldwell’s Late Archaic Stamp Creek Focus of northwest Georgia

Submitted by Jerald Ledbetter (

Many of the archeological phase names currently used for northwest Georgia are directly attributable to the work of Joseph Caldwell in Allatoona Reservoir more than fifty years ago (Caldwell 1950, 1957). While terminology has changed over the years, most of the designations used by Caldwell remain in use today. For instance, the old term “Kellogg […]

A Swift Creek Site in southern Indiana

Submitted by Dean Wood (

In September 2006, Leake Site Principal Investigators Scot Keith and Dean Wood took a trip to Indiana in order to conduct research into the Mann site, a Middle Woodland Hopewell site located in southwestern Indiana. This site is notable due to the presence (and abundance) of Swift Creek complicated stamped pottery, as well as sand […]

Notes from the Hardin Bridge Site

Submitted by Jeannine Windham (

Meta-slate axe from the Hardin Bridge site. Research of the Hardin Bridge Site (9BR34) in Bartow County site is ongoing at New South Associates. Laboratory analysis has shown that the Hardin Bridge site represents a Late Archaic through early Middle Woodland timeframe based on lithic and pottery specimens. To date, the majority of hafted bifaces […]

Points, pottery, and hafting

Submitted by Scott Jones (

Major technological and cultural innovations have the potential to influence technology and culture beyond the immediate realm of the innovation itself. While the widespread adoption of fired clay ceramics in the terminal Archaic/Early Woodland era is directly relevant to food preparation, the transition from indirect heating (stone-boiling) to direct heating in pots represents a dynamic […]

Echeconnee Creek sites tested

Submitted by Ellis Environmental Group

Archaeologists with EEG recently completed the evaluations of 11 sites on Robins Air Force Base in Houston County, Georgia. Sites 9HT55 and 9HT56, both near Echeconnee Creek, were the only two found to be eligible for listing on the National Register. The former had seven components (Early, Middle, and Late Archaic; Early and Middle Woodland; […]

Multicomponent site on Big Tucsawhatchee Creek investigated

Submitted by Edwards-Pitman Environmental (770-333-9484)

Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc. (EPEI) recently completed Phase III fieldwork at 9PU20 near Hawkinsville, GA. The excavations were conducted on behalf of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) as part of a proposed bridge replacement over Big Tucsawatchee Creek (also known as Big Creek) on State Route 230. The site is located on a fluvial terrace […]

Learning through archaeology: Kolomoki

Georgia Archaeology Month 2002 focused on the prehistory of southwest Georgia, and especially the archaeology of the famous village and mound community we now call Kolomoki (pronounced ‚“Coal-oh-moe-key”), which is located in Kolomoki Mounds State Historic Park in Early County, near Blakely. At Kolomoki, Native Americans lived, worked, played, and died. It was most heavily […]