There is new proposed legislation that would seek to bypass Georgia laws in place to locate, study, and protect archaeological and other natural resources. The Senate needs to hear from concerned citizens so read the statement that has been been sent to the Senate Transportation Committee members:
The SGA Spring Meeting will be held on Saturday, May 30, 2015 in Valdosta as part of 2015 Archaeology Month celebrations. The theme for this year’s Archaeology Month is “Native Shores, European Waves: Contact Archaeology in Georgia.” We will meet at the Lowndes County Historical Society, 305 West Central Avenue, in downtown Valdosta.
The Society for Georgia Archaeology proudly presents this year’s lesson plan! This document offers information, instruction, pictures, discussions, activities, and suggestions for additional reading and online resources. We hope that the readers of this lesson plan will learn about the importance of preservation and stewardship of Georgia’s archaeological resources. Click here to access the SGA’s 2014 lesson plan and learn more about archaeology in Georgia and what you can do to protect our common heritage!
The SGA invites you to join us at the 2013 Spring Meeting, scheduled for Saturday, May 18, at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, 301 Cherry Street, Macon (see map below). The theme for Archaeology Month and this year’s Spring Meeting is Digging and Diving into the Past: Celebrating 20 Years of Georgia Archaeology Awareness. The morning’s activities will be indoors, focusing on presentations. In the afternoon, we’ll re-unite at Ocmulgee National Monument for a tour. You must be registered to attend any of these events. You must pre-register if you want a box lunch.
Please pre-register for the SGA’s 2013 Spring Meeting on Saturday, May 18th, in Macon using the SGA’s new online registration option. You can pre-register for morning presentations and an afternoon tour of Ocmulgee National Monument, and pre-pay for a box lunch. (You can also register on-site; you must be registered to attend either morning or afternoon events.) So, get your credit card and proceed!
Long-time SGA member Jack Wynn suggests our members and friends may be interested in reading this story by Hannah Parson, “Students Unearth History and Mystery at the Duckett Site,” posted on The Steeple, the online student newspaper of for the University of North Georgia–Dahlonega and the Military College of Georgia. So far, students—and members of the SGA Chapter Blue Ridge Archaeology Guild—have helped shovel test in a grid across the site area to understand variation across the settlement, and to analyze materials discovered and data recovered during the testing.
The Chesser–Williams House is now at the campus of the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center. The House has exquisite art work on its exterior and interior. By moving the House to the Center, it will be preserved for educational programming. The project has received recognition from the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of 22 projects in the United States that received a Cynthia Woods Mitchell grant in 2010.
Recently, New South Associates was contracted by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to recover, analyze, and relocate the Avondale Burial Place in southern Bibb County. Fieldwork discovered 101 individuals. Later analysis, including historical research, indicates the burial ground was most heavily used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, although there are indicators that this location began as a slave cemetery and was subsequently used by African American tenant farmers. View an excellent video about this important project that’s in the full story.
Despite an announcement that the Georgia State Archives would close in November, an October 18th press release notes, “Gov. Nathan Deal and Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced today that the state will restore $125,000 to Kemp’s budget,” which will keep the Archives open. The SGA was one of many organizations and individuals that publicly advocated that this important research institution not be closed. The Georgia State Archives will maintain its current access hours.
SGA President Catherine Long has sent a letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and others regarding our grave concern over the planned closing of the Georgia Archives on 1 November 2012.
The SGA’s leaders met all afternoon on Friday, August 17th, 2012, in Stubbs Hall on the campus of South Georgia College, in Douglas. Typically, the SGA leadership meets four times each year, because of the many projects and activities the organization has undertaken to attain the Society’s goals and mission. This meeting was scheduled so members could also attend the annual meeting of SOGART, a Chapter of the SGA, entitled “2012 Symposium on Southeastern Coastal Plain Archaeology.”
Call it a megapolitan area or a megaregion, but Georgia’s Piedmont is experiencing an increase in human settlement that endangers—and destroys—archaeological remains. Join the Society for Georgia Archaeology and help preserve Georgia’s archaeological heritage. Once you’ve joined the SGA, volunteer with the Society to actively help the SGA to preserve, study and interpret Georgia’s historic and prehistoric remains.
Museums and other institutions store and display artifacts. Curators—the professionals who care for artifact collections in museums and other institutions that preserve artifacts—must be very careful to make sure that artifacts are preserved and not damaged while in their care. Read about many potential agents of deterioration, degradation, and destruction in the full article.
SGA Vice-President Tammy Herron and two colleagues, George Wingard and Keith Stephenson, attended the 75th Anniversary Reception on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at Ocmulgee National Monument. In a later ceremony, the SGA received a Certificate of Appreciation for helping to “preserve and protect the ‘Ocmulgee Old Fields'” and for helping to “create Ocmulgee National Monument” in 1936.
As you consider your charitable gifts for the 2011 tax year, the SGA asks that you add the Society’s Endowment Fund to your list. The Fund supports educational outreach and the preservation of archaeological sites. The SGA is a registered non-profit organization. If you have already donated to the SGA for 2011, the Society thanks you.
Where was Fort Daniel? This frontier fort was long believed to have been on a ridge-top knoll on Hog Mountain in Gwinnett County. In 2007, the Gwinnett Archaeological Research Society, a Chapter of the SGA, began a research program under the direction of Dr. James D’Angelo to locate physical remains of the fort using two forms of subsurface remote sensing, metal detection and ground penetrating radar. This detailed article reports the happy results of that research.
Careful preservation planning means knowledge about important historical and archaeological resources are part of the planning process. In late October 2011, Georgia’s Historic Preservation Division released Preservation Primer: A Resource Guide for Georgia, available in both high- and low-resolution PDFs. The Primer will help you identify historic properties, evaluate them, and develop local preservation planning strategies. And help protect your community’s resources.
Step right up and contribute to the SGA’s Endowment Fund, and help the SGA twice! One way is your check; the second way is that the Coosawattee Foundation has issued a challenge grant—the Foundation will match up to $250.00 any donation received by December 31 in support of the Endowment Fund. Contributions made to SGA, a non-profit organization, help support education initiatives throughout Georgia and protect archaeological sites.
While volcanoes are undeniably destructive, they can aid archaeological tourism by preserving ancient homes and settlements. We discuss the case of AD 79 Roman Herculaneum, formerly on the Bay of Naples, Italy, and offer a few photographs.
You are invited! Come out for an adventurous evening and leave with a treasure! Participate in both a silent and live auction to benefit the SGA on Saturday evening, October 22, 2011, at the Terrapin Brewery, just outside of Athens. Entry is free. Silent auction and tours begin at 6:30pm. The live auction begins at 8pm, with Georgia Hall of Fame Auctioneer Colonel Wilbur C. Mull. We offer two kinds of items for both the live and the silent auctions: 1) Ethnic Objects from Around the World (no archaeological artifacts, of course), and 2) Outdoor Adventure items. Access sample auction item photos in several stories.
This Weekly Ponder considers what archaeological resources are, and what it means to conserve them, using two examples. Earlier this month, the Secretary of the Interior awarded a 2011 Partners in Conservation Award to the Camp Lawton Preservation Team, which has been working to investigate and conserve this recently rediscovered Confederate prisoner of war camp that’s near Millen. The second example is the joint effort by The Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Google to put digital images of the Dead Sea Scrolls online; five are now accessible.
Plan to attend a meeting at 6:30pm tonight, September 6th, at UGA’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, 315 Riverbend Road, to help change the fate of historic Rutherford Hall, which is currently slated for demolition. Rutherford is a dorm in the Myers Quad on the University of Georgia campus in Athens.
Georgia Southern University’s archaeology team has announced more artifacts that have been identified from Camp Lawton. Camp Lawton was a Confederate prisoner of war camp located just outside of Millen. The camp was occupied for only six weeks before evacuations began in the middle of the night on November 26, 1864, as the Union army approached during Sherman’s March to the Sea. “The amount of artifacts and the variety of artifacts we are finding at this site is stunning,” said Georgia Southern archaeology professor and director of the project Dr. Sue Moore. Dr. Moore is a Past President of the Society for Georgia Archaeology. This story considers a trade token found by archaeologists that was issued in 1863 by a grocer-wholesaler in Niles, Michigan.
The National Park Service manages the Cumberland Island National Seashore, along Georgia’s coast. The 30-day comment period for the management of seven small parcels within the park will end on 12 August 2011. You can submit your comments via email. Follow this link to access the plan online and for instructions on making your comments.
Long-time SGA member Dr. Jack T. Wynn of Dahlonega thanks “the hundreds of volunteers who have helped keep the pursuit of archaeology alive, vibrant, and fun for me for all these years!” He suggests that “if you have been wondering what you could do in archaeology, then contact the SGA leadership, or members of the SGA Chapter in your area, and find out what’s going on in archaeology in your neighborhood.”
A June 2011 report called The State of America’s National Parks warns on page 25 “that cultural resources in the National Park System—considered the most important to our country’s heritage—are in serious trouble. In fact, these places and collections are being maintained in a condition well below the level that the National Park Service itself has deemed appropriate.” The report concludes on page 27 that the reason this has happened is that “[t]here simply aren’t enough qualified and trained people overseeing the parks’ cultural heritage.” Given the many National Park System properties with an historic or archaeological slant in Georgia (e.g., Ocmulgee National Monument and the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site), are you surprised at this situation?
One consequence of wildfires is that they not only threaten homes, but they can also threaten archaeological resources. Buried features may be protected by the soil above them, but many archaeological features extend above the soil. This is true for hundreds of archaeological sites currently threatened by fires in New Mexico and Arizona. This is also true for Georgia sites now threatened by fires near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Consider how we can effectively fight fires and at the same time provide protection for irreplaceable archaeological resources—is it possible?
On May 31st, 2011, Governor Nathan Deal signed the proclamation declaring that May is Georgia Archaeology Month. Seven SGA leaders and members witnessed the signing in the Governor’s office in the Capitol in Atlanta. The Proclamation affirms the importance of Georgia’s archaeological heritage and resources, and notes that the “study, interpretation and preservation of our archaeological sites offer important educational, cultural and economic benefits to all Georgians”.
From mid-2010 to early 2011, Georgia’s Historic Preservation Division sought public input on what HPD should emphasize in their programs over the coming five years. The current State Historic Preservation Plan will be replaced by a new plan by the end of 2011. In general, archaeological resources take a back seat to historical resources, especially standing buildings and historic districts.
Members of the Gwinnett Archaeological Research Society (GARS) worked over the weekend at the Berkmar “mystery” site—this was part of the old Wynne-Russell Plantation but is now Berkmar Middle School, Gwinnett County property. GARS members plan to record the site on 14 May, and are clearing brush, etc., in preparation for doing that with Berkmar MS 8th graders.
Frontiers in the Soil is a classic in archaeological literature that should be useful to everyone. Using easy-to-read text by Roy S. Dickens, Jr., and creative color cartoon illustrations by James L. McKinley, Frontiers interprets Georgia’s past with humor in over 100-pages of delightful reading. Click here to download the order form for Frontiers in the Soil.
On March 5, 2011, Ocmulgee Archaeological Society members chose the Shinholser Mounds site on the Oconee River near Milledgeville for the group’s annual winter hike. Member Dr. Bob Cramer made the arrangements with the Thompson family, which owns the site. Thompson family member Tom Wood guided the group. The OAS is very appreciative of the family’s interest in preserving this important part of Middle Georgia’s past, and wishes to thank them for the site tour and for getting to spend a wonderful rainy day along the Oconee River at Shinholser!
The destruction inherent in modern warfare—for example, bombing, high-powered artillery, defensive construction by heavy equipment—is counter to the preservation of archaeological resources. The September 2010 issue of the newsletter of the Society for American Archaeology includes three articles in a section titled Antiquities in Warfare. More articles discuss Conflict Archaeology.
Preservation of aging buildings can offer knotty problems. Indeed, preservationists are often first faced with difficulties in purchasing the land a building sits on. Since 2004, preservationists have been working to purchase a 12-acre tract that includes the parcel on which the last remaining African American school house on St. Simons Island stands, called the Harrington Tract. The full story recounts where efforts stand as of Fall 2010.
The SGA met on St. Simons Island, east of Brunswick, on a lovely fall weekend in mid-October, and explored archaeological sites there and in the SSI area. Enjoy dozens of pictures from the tour in the full story. The SGA thanks all who organized the trip, discussed the places we visited, and gave us permission to visit them—and to all non-members who joined our tour.
By the Oconee River between Athens and Greensboro are the ruins of a fascinating historic industrial complex—with a captivating name: Scull Shoals. Plan a road trip to this interesting place, and bring a picnic!
In the full story, click through photos from two days spent with the ArchaeoBus at the Georgia National Fair, in Perry. Visitors of all ages enjoyed the Fair from October 7–17, 2010. SGA members pulled together to staff the ArchaeoBus exhibit with three or more volunteers at all times, helping thousands of fair-goers learn about Georgia archaeology.
The Cave Spring Historical Society is seeking to restore the town’s old hotel, which has two-story squared-log walls that were long obscured by blue siding.
The Atlanta Regional Commission has recently released a draft of its PLAN 2040: Regional Resource Plan. Among the many important archaeological and historical resources highlighted in this 89-page document is Fort Daniel, a late 18th/early 19th century frontier settlement in Gwinnett County.
The Gwinnett Archaeological Research Society teamed with the Fort Daniel Foundation to again combine their public archaeology event with FDF’s 2nd annual Frontier Faire at the Fort Daniel site in Gwinnett County, May 22-23. A highlight of the weekend was a brick making project employing methods and technology that would have been used in the late 18th–early 19th centuries.
Heritage management involves several basic steps. Resources must be located and described. Once found, some kind of filing and data retrieval system is needed to manage them properly. Here in our state we have the Georgia Archaeological Site File. For places with fewer options than we have in the US of A, the Getty Conservation Institute has spearheaded development of an electronic inventory system that includes locational data; the pilot project is based in Jordan, but probably will be expanded to other areas.
Even the national news recently picked up on the story about Camp Lawton, where investigations, including a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey, have revealed the exact location of this Civil War/War Between the States prisoner of war camp that was established in 1864.
Georgia’s Historic Preservation Division has composed a survey to solicit your input about the goals of their program for their next five-year preservation plan. Their existing plan goes through 2011. The full story has a link to the online survey, which will take you perhaps five minutes to complete. Your opinions are important!
Kennesaw State University journalism student Elizabeth Johnson put together an eight-plus minute video documentary for her senior capstone project about the efforts to preserve and protect the Leake site in Cartersville, Georgia. Go to the full story to read more about the preservation efforts at the Leake site (you can help, too!), and for a link to the video.
Many of us have probably been thinking about impacts of the oil washing ashore on coastal archaeological resources—but what about underwater resources like shipwrecks? An AP story from early July notes that BP has hired an archaeological firm in the face of concerns about the effects of the spill on terrestrial and underwater archaeological resources.
The website of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has been redesigned, and is now more attractive, not to mention useful! The DNR is the state entity responsible for Georgia’s cultural resources. DNR’s Historic Preservation Division “promotes the preservation and use of historic places for a better Georgia.” The Director of HPD is Dr. David Crass, an archaeologist.
Read 11alive’s report on the Fort Daniel Faire and Public Archaeology Event, held at the Fort Daniel historical site in Gwinnett County in late May 2010. The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation named Fort Daniel to its 2009 Places In Peril list in recognition of the importance of this military site. Visit the Fort Daniel Foundation website and learn how you can help save this important place, which is presently on private land.
The archaeological remains near modern Coolidge, Arizona, now known as Casa Grande Ruins National Monument became the USA’s first archaeological reserve in 1892. The roof protecting the large three-story ruin known as Casa Grande was built in the 1930s. The ruin is constructed of locally available caliche. Read more about the architecture at this stunning site, and of the remains that spread beyond the limits of the preserved area.
Campus to Careers is hiring an intern for its National Park Service Climate Change Internship Program at the Russell Cave National Monument, in northeast Alabama. This is a paid internship, lasting up to 12 weeks, working with archaeologist Sarah Sherwood assessing prehistoric climate conditions from soil samples. Online application information is in the full story.
Long-time SGA member and past president Rita Elliott has been informed in a letter from Governor Sonny Perdue that she will be a recipient of the prestigious Governor’s Award in the Humanities. The presentation ceremony will be held Tuesday May 11, 2010 at the Old Georgia Railroad Depot in Atlanta, beginning at 10:30 AM with a lecture. The awards luncheon will follow at noon. Ticket information is in the full story.
Follow the GaPA blog to read up on the latest news about legislative sessions, budget proposals, etc. GaPA stands for Georgians for Preservation Action. GaPA coordinates historic preservation advocacy efforts within our state. The SGA leadership has often worked with GaPA, since our organizational goals overlap.
The Phoenix Flies unites a community of Preservation Partners, to enhance Atlanta and promote its heritage. The 2010 The Phoenix Flies: A Citywide Celebration of Living Landmarks has over 160 FREE events scheduled around the city from Saturday, March 6th, through Monday, March 22nd.
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.
The Archaeological Conservancy owns Stallings Island, and has partnered with the Augusta Archaeological Society to monitor and help protect this significant site, which is difficult to access and protect. Unfortunately, looters have returned. We all lose when our hidden heritage is destroyed and thus important information is lost.
The SGA Board and Officers met on Saturday, February 6th, 2010, at the Ashantilly library, named after the home’s builder, Thomas Spalding. Ashantilly is a plantation just north of Darien. The SGA and its members owe a big debt of thanks to the wonderful, kind folks at the Ashantilly Center, who hosted our meeting.
The Society for American Archaeology recently announced that their newsletter, published five times each year, is available in a new format for reading online beginning with the 2010 issues, and also is downloadable.
Burke County State Court Judge Jerry Daniel in January handed down heavy fines on four east Georgia men who pled guilty to multiple counts related to looting a Late Archaic, Stallings culture shell midden site on the Ogeechee River in southern Burke County. The four men were apprehended on private land by Georgia Department of Natural Resources Ranger First Class Jeff Billips and Ranger First Class Grant Matherly in late September 2009.
Quick: what is the only installation built by the United States military during the settling of the interior of the continent to protect Indians from Indians (rather than settlers from Native Americans)?
In mid-December 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the National Park Service is awarding $46.5 million in historic preservation grants to 59 states and U.S. territories. However, nine states will receive more than $1 million each, leaving just under $35 million for the other states and non-states. Georgia’s piece of this historic preservation pie? Read the full story for more details.
George S. Lewis, a very active member of the Augusta Archaeological Society and the Society for Georgia Archaeology, wrote a history of the AAS in July 1989. Titled “A Brief History of the Augusta Archaeological Society,” this document is now available in PDF form.
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.
Greenspace projects involve lands set aside to remain undeveloped. In cities, publicly owned greenspace is often in parks. The central purpose of greenspace is to assure that some terrain remains protected from construction, paving, and other development. In short, it will remain “green.” Preservation of greenspace often means the preservation of archaeological sites. How does that happen?
Plan an event anywhere in the state for Archaeology Month in spring 2010! This story links to a form you can download and fill out to get your event in our Calendar of Events brochure. Activities of all sorts are welcomed!
Georgia’s Jekyll Island has an interesting past, detailed here. The Island is owned by the the people of Georgia and managed on their behalf by the Jekyll Island Authority. It’s a natural and cultural treasure most of us don’t know enough about.
SGA members are concerned about predictions of global increases in sea level because Georgia’s coast has many archaeological sites, including shell mounds and historic buildings, that are right at sea level or only a few feet above sea level. Therefore, changes in water levels will damage fragile archaeological resources. The full story examines some of the factors involved in generating a good model of the coming changes in sea level.
The Savannah River Archaeological Research Program is seeking information about prehistoric metavolcanic stone quarries in the Carolina Slate Belt Region in South Carolina. As this map shows, the Carolina Slate Belt Region is prominent in the Carolinas, and extends southward into Georgia.
On November 4th 2009, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation announced its list of Georgia’s top ten Places in Peril, which includes the Leake Archaeological Site, a rich Middle Woodland and Late Mississippian-period prehistoric settlement on the outskirts of Cartersville. Scot Keith, an archaeologist who lead recent excavations at the Leake Site, notes, “with help from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and numerous volunteers, we will be conducting many activities in the next year (and beyond) to foster public awareness of the site and its important place in history. This will include public education days at the site, community meetings, interviews, articles, partnerships and grants, research and fieldwork, and regular website updates.”
Georgia’s Mobile Archaeology Classroom—the ArchaeoBus—provides hands-on and minds-on activities to enthuse your students about learning. Archaeology is a great tool for turning on the minds of students, as well as a great motivational tool. More important, it is a discipline capable of instruction in a wide variety of skills. Archaeology is a holistic academic and intellectual approach that involves all subject areas, social skills, and conceptual skills. Georgia’s Mobile Archaeology Classroom offers the opportunity for students and teachers to leave the traditional four-walled classroom and use a new approach to learn state standards!
The Fort Daniel Foundation has scheduled its annual meeting for 7:00 pm on December 15th at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center (GJAC) in Lawrenceville in the 2nd floor conference room center.
Recent data from a geophysical survey of the Roman town of Venta Icenorum, in Norfolk, England, directed by researchers from the University of Nottingham, reveals that this walled town was less densely settled than previously thought. Geophysical surveys do not disturb buried archaeological remains and can reveal important data, using less expensive and repeatable research methods.
Do some research online and save fuel! Georgia’s Secretary of State’s website includes the Virtual Vault, which contains historical documents, records, maps, etc., dating back to 1733, as well as recent photographs.
John H. Blitz doesn’t mince words. Answering the question who built the mounds at the famous Mississippian settlement next to the Black Warrior River at Moundville, Alabama, Blitz writes: “We don’t know” (page 4). Nevertheless, Blitz presents a useful summary of the settlement, research relevant to interpreting it, and the history of how it came to be the 320-acre Moundville Archaeological Park in a new book.
Even a cursory examination of cross-cultural data indicates that around the globe, in many societies, peoples with many belief systems have built structures important to them on high places. In addition, the structures are often unusually tall when compared to residential buildings. Indeed, important buildings are often tall, large, or both. Why?
The 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.
In Cultures of Habitat: On Nature, Culture, and Story (Counterpoint, 1997) ethnobotanist and essayist Gary Paul Nabhan argues that modern peoples tend not to have opportunities for discovery in the natural world, and that this distance from our environment means we don’t grasp the complexity of the world and of ecology. Do you agree?
Preservation Georgia Online for September 12–18, 2009, lists the four grants funded through statewide preservation license tag sales. The four SFY 2010 Georgia Heritage Grants total $46,285.
Quick: where in the world is the largest concentration of Bronze Age graves?
Can’t you just guess that they might be threatened by development?
One thing we have to consider when reconstructing ruins of any sort, including historic and ancient buildings, is the period or date to make the reconstruction match.
Weekly Ponder considers this important issue.
An August 18th article published by onlineAthens.com, notes that construction workers on the crew renovating New College, one of the University of Georgia’s oldest buildings, have been recovering artifacts from beneath the building.
A crew of students lead by Diana Greenlee of the Department of Geosciences at University of Louisiana at Monroe tested buried circles in the plaza area of the famous Poverty Point site in northeast Louisiana this summer and was able to date the features they tested. This important civic-ceremonial site dates to the Terminal Archaic and is open to the public.
Your tax dollars support many governmental programs. One is archives of historic information. The Southeast Region Archives building is just south of Atlanta, in Jonesboro. Among the many resources there, I recently examined some pictures of farms that were bought by the US government and flooded to make TVA reservoirs that still make hydropower we use today.
The sixteenth annual Georgia Archaeology Awareness promotion, Archaeology Month 2009, had as its theme Mounds in Our Midst: Monuments of Prehistoric Culture in Georgia. The annual Spring Meeting was held on May 16 at Wesleyan University in Macon with a crowd of 103 in attendance. An interesting array of presentations was compiled by President Dennis Blanton who was in charge of coordinating the program for the day. While the majority of the presentations focused on the archaeology of mound sites throughout the state, the audience also received an update on the preservation efforts at the Fort Daniel site in Gwinnett County and learned about the documentation of the Flat Rock African-American Cemetery in DeKalb County. The highlight of the day was the long-awaited unveiling of the ArchaeoBus (A.B. or Abbey for short); the rain ceased just in time for this special occasion. Those who were brave enough to wait out the rains Saturday evening and night and face the mud and biting insects on Sunday morning received another special treat. Approximately 25 courageous individuals hiked into the swamp under the leadership of park rangers from Ocmulgee National Monument to tour the Lamar Mounds and Village site.
With the crash of a champagne bottle over her fender, a new green bough laid upon her, the cadence of a drum roll, and the suspenseful unveiling of the tarp, Abby the ArchaeoBus was officially christened. Over 70 guests participated in the historic event during the spring Archaeology meeting in Macon on May 16, 2009. […]
The Coastal Heritage Society of Savannah has been sponsoring archaeological research on Revolutionary War archaeological sites across the city as part of the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (your tax dollars at work!). The report of this highly successful research is now complete, and available as a downloadable PDF.
The Society for American Archaeology, a national organization with over 7000 members, is concerned about Senate Bill 409, which would swap some federal lands for other property. The SAA is concerned about the loss of protections to archaeological sites on the lands that will pass out of federal ownership.
The famous Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site, just south of Cartersville, is now only open Thursdays through Saturdays, 9 am to 5 pm. On Saturday, the 3rd of October, however, you can join a special evening walking tour of the site by torchlight.
Ryan Blackburn, of Online Athens, the online version of the Athens Banner-Herald, has written a glowing article about the SGA’s own ArchaeoBus! (picture from Online Athens)
Wanna read about how “real archaeologists” compare what they do with what Indiana Jones does? The National Science Foundation (your tax dollars at work) funds archaeological projects, and the present an online “report” discussing what archaeologists the NSF has funded really do—in contrast to the behavior of Dr. Jones in the Steven Spielberg and George Lucas movies.
Heritage News is a monthly e-newsletter published by the National Park Service that delivers timely information on national heritage topics including grant opportunities, new laws or policies, events, and activities of interest. The July issue notes that a 1929 house in Dawsonville was listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places in May 2009. The house was owned by a moonshiner who built his still right in the house.
Undisturbed archaeological sediments and remains include invisible chemical and physical clues to the past. Scientists studying ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland have analyzed the oxygen isotopes in small air bubbles contained in ice cores from ice that was formed thousands of years ago. They have found that the Earth underwent abrupt climate change between 14,700 and 14,500 years ago.
Every once in a while news about the archaeology of southeastern North America is reported in mainstream publications. In June, the New York Times includes a report on carvings found on the wall of a cave in southeast Kentucky which may be an extremely early version of Sequoyah’s Cherokee syllabary. The final syllabary had 85 characters, each representing a syllable.
This week our federal government released a report on global climate change that says in part, “Likely future changes for the United States and surrounding coastal waters include more intense hurricanes with related increases in wind, rain, and storm surges (but not necessarily an increase in the number of these storms that make landfall), as well as drier conditions in the Southwest and Caribbean.” These changes will affect Georgia’s archaeological heritage.
Many academic archaeological research projects are funded at least in part by the National Science Foundation. President Obama has made it an administration priority to as part of his Plan for Science and Innovation to double funding to key research agencies over the next decade. The House of Representatives in turn has proposed a reduction in the President’s proposed increase for FY 2010 for NSF.
The National Park Service website offers a list of laws and regulations pertaining to our nation’s cultural heritage on its website, along with links to the complete texts of the legislation. Perhaps most historically important is the Antiquities Act of 1906, which has been amended once and protects historic and prehistoric antiquities on Federal lands. Another important one is Executive Order 11593, signed in 1971, which charged the Department of the Interior with leading historic preservation activities for the nation.
Peoples with material culture common across the North American Southeast lived even farther north than the area around Criel Mound, in western West Virginia. Even if you’re most interested in Georgia’s archaeological past, you can best understand it in a regional context….
SGA President Dennis Blanton has received a Preservation Achievement Award from the Georgia Historic Preservation Division, honoring him for his success in bringing one of Georgia’s few existing Native American dugout canoes to Fernbank Museum, among his many other activities that promote archaeology in Georgia. Kudos to President Blanton!
The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is soliciting nominations to its 2010 Places in Peril list. Selected properties will receive matching grants and advice in improving the properties’ preservation plans. Fort Daniel was on the 2009 list, and efforts there escalated after it was selected. Read the full story for qualifications and the link to the nomination form.
The Society for American Archaeology, a national organization, sent a letter of concern about major cuts to the state’s archaeology program to Georgia’s Republican and Democratic leaders during budget negotiations at the end of March.
On Tuesday May 5th, Georgia’s Historic Preservation Division and the Georgia Trust are offering an all-day orientation session on the programs and services offered by the two organizations. Cost is $30 per person, which covers program materials, continental breakfast, and the afternoon break, and the orientation will be held in downtown Atlanta. The full story has the agenda and a link to the registration form.
On Thursday, 2 April, Governor Sonny Perdue proclaimed May Archaeology Month for 2009. Part of the proclamation states “Whereas: The study, interpretation and preservation of our archaeological sites offer important educational, cultural and economic benefits to all Georgians….” Read the full story and download a PDF of the proclamation by clicking [More] below.
Georgia State students got real-world experience in salvage archaeology and historic preservation projects under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Glover when they worked recently in Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery. The March 2008 tornado tipped over trees, bringing up soil and potentially disturbing human remains. Students used archaeological field techniques to examine this disturbed soil.
Late on the afternoon of March 24, Georgians for Preservation Action reported that the Georgia House budget for SFY 2010 cuts over $279,000 in funding for the Historic Preservation Division, effectively gutting the state’s archaeology program. In a followup email on the 26th, the group reported that they could not determine the reason for the cuts.
Identify the maker of a brick GAAS and SGA member Dick Brunelle found and photographed at Hills and Dales, the Callaway family plantation near LaGrange, and shown in the picture to the left.
Dick even gives two hints to make this puzzle easier….
Wiley Publishing has just issued Archaeology for Dummies ($21.95) by SGA member Nancy White. The book tells how archaeology is detective work and traces over 2 million years of prehistoric human cultures. It demonstrates how archaeology uncovers things about historic times that history can’t, and shows how archaeological knowledge is useful for modern issues like […]
The wooden building known as Gum Creek Courthouse is over a century old, and can be viewed in northern Newton County.
Manufacturer’s names on products like bricks allow us to reconstruct trade relationships across regions like Southeastern North America.
On Monday, November 17, 2008, the Columbus Museum formally transferred ownership of the Singer-Moye mound site property, located in Stewart County, to the University of Georgia. The ceremony, which was attended by Museum and UGA representatives, local elected officials, members of the Singer and Moye families and a number of interested citizens, was the culmination […]
The recent amendment to one of Georgia’s archaeology laws might affect you, whether you are an avocational or professional archaeologist. Code Section 12-3-621 has always required a person who is going to dig on an archaeological site to first notify the Office of the State Archaeologist. This recent amendment has made that notification a lot […]
Many readers of The Profile have no doubt heard of the recent announcement of the pending transfer of ownership of the Singer-Moye mound site from the Columbus Museum to the University of Georgia. Those that have not will likely want to know how this decision came about, while those with some understanding of it will […]
Resources at Risk: Defending Georgia’s Hidden Heritage is a special issue of Early Georgia, published in May 2001. The goals of this issue were 1) to expand public perception of what archaeology is and what archaeologists do; 2) to call attention to the urgent need for the preservation and stewardship of archaeological resources, or at […]
Archaeologists seeking to reconstruct past lifeways rely for their interpretations on the timeworn remains of ancient cultures for guidance; here in our humid Georgia climate, we are further disadvantaged since often only the inorganic residues of prehistoric culture remain. The study of stone tools, sherds of pottery, and the scant remnants of organic items and […]