Archive for the ‘Revolutionary War’ Category

Efforts underway to preserve Revolutionary War battlefield | The Augusta Chronicle
April 13, 2014

Caledonia is a Rock Star!! Brier Creek! Brier Creek! Caledonia! Caledonia!

Efforts underway to preserve Revolutionary War battlefield | The Augusta Chronicle.

Efforts underway to preserve Revolutionary War battlefield

Dan and Caledonia at Brier Creek finding a truck's chrome tailpipe!

Dan and Caledonia at Brier Creek finding a truck’s chrome tailpipe!


By Rob Pavey
Outdoors Editor
Friday, April 11, 2014 7:59 PM

SYLVANIA, Ga. — More than two centuries after a daring British surprise attack routed American forces at Brier Creek, new efforts are underway to preserve one of Georgia’s least explored Revolutionary War sites.

“This battlefield has all the components very rarely seen in preservation,” said archaeologist Dan Battle, who has spent the past year assessing the Screven County historic site to determine what secrets it might still hold.

The Battle of Brier Creek unfolded March 3, 1779, when a British force of 1,500 men led by Col. Marc Prevost circled back on Gen. John Ashe’s encamped Patriot army, which included about 1,700 soldiers.

The late afternoon attack was a complete surprise. About 150 Americansdied, while hundreds of others were captured. The fleeing survivors left behind their arms, food and supplies.

The British victory was so decisive scholars believe it prolonged the American Revolution by a year, changing the course of U.S. history.

Today, much of the site lies within the 15,100-acre Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area owned by the state of Georgia and managed for hunting and fishing – but not specifically for historic preservation. Portions of the battlefield and related camps sprawl onto private tracts. Although the area is marked by a bronze historical commission marker erected in 1956, little has been done in terms of formal archaeology.

Battle’s company, Cypress Cultural Consultants, began evaluating the area last year with funding from a Transportation Enhancement Act matching grant obtained by the city of Sylvania.

Objectives of the cursory assessment include pinpointing certain battle features – and possibly graves of the soldiers who died there.

Although a final report isn’t due until later this year, the results are encouraging.

Using technology known as LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, three-dimensional maps were used to identify the defensive line hastily arranged by the Patriot forces. Further studies helped locate other key areas, which are remarkably intact.

“The American camp is still in good shape – not pilfered,” Battle said. “We’ve also come across a site where the Patriots were manufacturing musket balls, which is unique in its own right.”

Teams extracted about 600 items that were carefully preserved and recorded and will undergo curation and analysis at University of Georgia. “There are things from the camp, from the American lines – and we even know where the exchange of gunfire occurred,” he said.

As historic battle sites go, Brier Creek’s remoteness is part of its charm – and also its curse.

“The only thing that happened out there was the battle – then it got left alone,” he said. “It’s one of the best preserved sites in the country.”

Its secluded setting, however, makes it vulnerable to tampering by relic looters, and possible degradation through land management programs, such as timber harvesting.

Lee Taylor, regional game management supervisor for Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division, said state officials are doing all they can to protect the resources at Tuckahoe, but will need a final report with hard data and recommendations.

“We are anticipating getting the final report from the surveyors by the end of the year, so Wildlife Resources Division and the Historical Preservation Division can develop a comprehensive management plan for the WMA,” Taylor said. “To date we have received no information from the survey.”

In the meantime, DNR keeps the area patrolled and under the watch of its officers, who will arrest anyone caught digging or looting. The area is also posted to warn against using metal detectors.

Maintenance at Tuckahoe, including road scraping, is conducted carefully and will not include any excavations deeper than past activities, Taylor said.

Any proposed logging activity will be screened by the Historic Preservation Division’s Archaeology Section, he said. Currently, however, “no timber operations have been proposed for Tuckahoe WMA.”

The ultimate objective, he said, will be to preserve the area’s cultural resources while also making sure Tuckahoe remains available to the public for hunting and fishing – the purposes for which most of the site was purchased in 1989, using license fee revenues from Georgia’s anglers and hunters.

“The Georgia DNR will continue to rigorously protect intact portions of the site and ensure the entire battlefield is managed appropriately,” Taylor said.

One of the biggest mysteries of the Battle of Brier Creek involves where the American soldiers killed in battle were buried, and by whom.

Based on details from comparable battles of the Revolutionary War, the dead were likely moved into piles, near where they fell, and are probably in mass graves, Battle said.

As far as who buried them, one piece of the puzzle turned up in an unlikely place: the archival records of the Dallas (Texas) Historical Society.

It was there that references were found that the British Army’s 71st Highlanders ordered Loyalists from nearby South Carolina to bury the casualties, starting the day after the battle. Other clues emerged from maps and regimental records identified in the New York Public Library.

Efforts to locate graves have included the use of “cadaver dogs” specially trained to detect the scent of human remains, even if those remains are centuries old. The surveys yielded positive hits, but further studies would be needed to confirm what lies beneath the surface soil.

Battle believes the presence of Patriot casualties should earn the site more attention in the future.

“Over 150 U.S. soldiers and militia are buried on the battlefield, not found or ever celebrated by America,” he said, adding that George Washington is believed to have visited the area during his Southern tour and said prayers for the killed Americans.

“The forces at Brier Creek were a multinational force that included soldiers from almost every state of the 13,” he said. “Many of Georgia’s Continentals were actually recruited from Pennsylvania and Virginia.”

Preliminary findings will likely recommend more detailed explorations in the future, but such projects are expensive – and tend to move slowly.

“That’s why one of the most needed things at the site is a management plan,” said Dan Elliott, president of The Lamar Institute, a non-profit group that works with universities and state and federal agencies to conduct archaeological research.

The findings so far indicate the battlefield was impacted by farming – in particular plowing – in the past, but is still relatively intact.

“In the bigger picture, things aren’t too bad,” Elliott said. “Plowing disturbs things, but even if some of the site was farmed over the centuries, it doesn’t move things too far.”

Many artifacts discovered by the teams were left “in situ,” or in place, without being disturbed. Items were removed only from the shallow surface layer of disturbed soil, or “plow zone,” he said, and deeper items that were identified and left alone were mapped for future reference.

Although the lead musket balls and decaying metal fragments buried in the sandy soil have little monetary value, they have a tremendous value in their ability to tell a compelling story if properly extracted, Battle said.

“It’s really rare to be able to put things you find in the ground into a particular day and year,” he said. “Usually, you’re lucky if you can even get the right century. We have a chance, right here in this battlefield, to study that.”

Kettle Creek battle site expands with 60-acre purchase
January 22, 2014

Great News from Wilkes County!

Kettle Creek battle site expands with KCBA’s 60-acre purchase.

Archaeology is Happening in Georgia!
January 20, 2014

Below are links to several recent newspaper articles about archaeology projects in coastal Georgia where LAMAR Institute researchers have been active. Both of these projects, the Brier Creek Battlefield Survey and the Isaiah Davenport House Museum excavations, are ongoing. The Brier Creek project is directed by Cypress Cultural Consultants, LLC with archaeologist Daniel Battle serving as the project’s field director and Daphne Owens as Principal Investigator. The LAMAR Institute has assisted at Brier Creek with skilled labor, loan of equipment. The Davenport project is a LAMAR Institute project with Rita Elliott serving as its PI. Both projects are telling us great things about the past and we look forward to bringing more of these discoveries to the public eye.

BRIER CREEK BATTLEFIELD STORIES

Archaeologists zero in on Revolutionary War battle site in Screven County, Ga.–article by Rob Pavey, Augusta Chronicle, January 19, 2014:

http://chronicle.augusta.com/node/572243#.UtyXQ2Ksc-4.gmail

http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports/outdoors/rob-pavey/2014-01-18/archaeologists-zero-revolutionary-war-battle-site-screven

History in Screven County can be Revolutionary- article by Enoch Autry, January 17, 2014, Sylvania Telephone:

http://www.sylvaniatelephone.com/news/history-screven-county-can-be-revolutionary


ISAIAH DAVENPORT HOUSE MUSEUM ARCHAEOLOGY STORIES

Archaeology at the Davenport House, Professional excavation happens Saturday in the courtyard– article by Jessica Leigh Lebos, January 15, 2014, Connect Savannah:

http://www.connectsavannah.com/savannah/archaeology-at-the-davenport-house/Content?oid=2327564

Archaeological excavation underway at Davenport House– article (with video clip) by Dash Coleman, January 19, 2014, Savannah Morning News:

http://savannahnow.com/news/2014-01-18/video-archaeological-excavation-underway-davenport-house#.Utxfzvso7Dc

Gators in Brier Creek
January 2, 2014

SAR Samuel Elbert Chapter Presents Award to Daniel Elliott, December, 2013.

SAR Samuel Elbert Chapter Presents Award to Daniel Elliott, December, 2013.

Dan-Award2013aEnd of the year report on our Revolutionary War research in Georgia! The big gators were out on New Years Eve (2013) at Brier Creek. The LAMAR archaeologists are busy finding our Revolutionary War history in the ground. A recent Associated Press news story highlighted our archival research on the Revolutionary War in Georgia, which appeared in many news outlets. We are busy writing grant proposals for other revolutionary War battlefields in the Carolinas. Next week my colleague P.T. and I are giving a paper in Quebec at the Society for Historical Archaeology meeting on our 100+ horseshoes from the Carr’s Fort battlefield landscape in Wilkes County, Georgia. Busy times here in south Georgia. We look forward to writing up some of these stories for the public in 2014. Happy New Year!

Trip uncovers records of Revolution-era Georgia – WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports
January 2, 2014

Trip uncovers records of Revolution-era Georgia – WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports.

AP ARTICLE BY RUSS BYNUM ON LAMAR INSTITUTE PROJECT.

Kettle Creek battlefield group gets support from state SAR
October 30, 2013

Kettle Creek battlefield group gets support from state SAR.

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom
September 8, 2013

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom.

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom-By Mike Toner
August 15, 2013

Follow this link to a short Archaeology magazine article on Carr’s Fort by Mike Toner:

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom.

Long-lost Carr’s Fort site found by LAMAR’s archaeology team
May 23, 2013

Long-lost Carr’s Fort site found by LAMAR’s archaeology team.

Frontier fort from Revolutionary War found in Ga.
May 9, 2013

Frontier fort from Revolutionary War found in Ga..

Carr’s Fort Nailed
May 8, 2013

Here is a link to today’s article in Augusta’s Metro Spirit about our Carr’s Fort Battlefield discovery:

http://www.metrospirit.com/?p=7122

The News-Reporter, Washington, Georgia also had a feature story on the find in this weeks paper. It is free to subscribers at:

http://www.news-reporter.com/

And freely released to the general public in two weeks.

The story also ran in the online version of Spiegel magazine in Germany at this link:

http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/archaeologie-reich-der-kerma-am-nil-roemer-im-alten-aegypten-a-897904-4.html

I guess a little got lost in the translation. Carr’s Fort is in Georgia, not Virginia.

A version was posted in the e-zine PastHorizons.com in England yesterday.

Russ Bynum’s Associated Press story appeared in well over 300 media outlets in the U.S., as well as Algeria, Ghana and Australia. And probably hundreds more that I am not aware of.

Archaeologists Discover Revolutionary War Carr’s Fort on Georgia Frontier
April 30, 2013

Wilkes County, Georgia – Archaeologists with the LAMAR Institute discovered the location of Carr’s Fort, a significant frontier fortification that was attacked on February 10, 1779. The discovery was funded through grants from the National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program, Kettle Creek Battlefield Association, and The LAMAR Institute. The month-long search by a team of six researchers encompassed more than 2,700 wooded acres of the Beaverdam Creek watershed. Battlefield archaeology at Carr’s Fort yielded about a dozen fired musket balls, several musket parts and several hundred iron and brass items from the 18th century.
Robert Carr was a Captain in the Georgia Patriot militia and by 1778 his frontier home became a fort for more than 100 soldiers. In late 1778, the British launched a campaign to reclaim the southern colonies, which included a major recruitment effort among the frontier settlers. On February 10, Carr’s Fort was occupied by 80 Loyalists (Tories) led by captains John Hamilton and Dougald Campbell. Almost immediately, 200 Georgia and South Carolina Patriot militia, who had been hot on the trail of the Loyalists, laid siege to the fort in an attempt to take it back. An intense fire fight raged for several hours, in which more than a dozen were killed or wounded on each side. Patriot forces, commanded by Colonel Andrew Pickens, were ordered to break off the siege after he received word of that larger party of 750 Loyalists advancing from the Carolinas. The Patriots rode off taking the Loyalist’s horses and baggage with them. The Loyalists marched several hundred miles back south to rejoin the main British invasion force. Several weeks later, Captain Carr was killed at his home by a raiding party of Loyalist Creek Indians, while his wife and children escaped.
“The search for Carr’s Fort was like looking for a needle in a haystack, only harder. We had no map and few descriptions of the fort, so its location was entirely unknown. Historians and land surveyors provided some clues to about a dozen potential target areas, which helped narrow the search. The LAMAR field team discovered Carr’s Fort on the last hour of the last day of the field project. Although our funds were depleted, I had no trouble convincing my crew to return with me to volunteer with me for another day or two to better establish the identity of the archaeological finds as Carr’s Fort”, stated Daniel Elliott, President of the LAMAR Institute. The archaeological team used metal detectors to systematically comb the woods for any evidence of the fort and battlefield. Each find was labeled and carefully plotted using GPS technology. More than a dozen 18th century settlements were located, but none of these proved to be the fort.
Wilkes County was a hot-bed of revolutionary fervor during the American Revolution. The discovery of the archaeological remains of Carr’s Fort indicates great potential that remnants of more than 30 other forts in Wilkes County may still exist. The identification of such resources can provide important new information on Georgia’s role in the American Revolution and how this international conflict affected remote frontier settlements.
Researching, locating, identifying, and interpreting fortifications and battlefields is one of The LAMAR Institute’s research focuses. This includes the Colonial, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and the Civil War periods. Prior investigation of Revolutionary War sites has included the battle fields of Kettle Creek, New Ebenezer, Sansavilla Bluff, Savannah, and Sunbury. A complete report on the Carr’s Fort Battlefield project will be available to the public in early 2014.

Supplemental: And I forgot to note, thus far we have seen zero evidence for cannibalism at the site. Metadata: cannibalism

Search for Revolutionary War fort here recalls Wilkes families frontier history
March 7, 2013

Search for Revolutionary War fort here recalls Wilkes families frontier history.

Archaeologists searching for long-lost Wilkes fort, Revolutionary-era items
March 7, 2013

Archaeologists searching for long-lost Wilkes fort, Revolutionary-era items.

Data Recovery in Queensborough Township at Hannah’s Quarter
February 25, 2013

Life in the Queensborough Township

Life in the Queensborough Township: Data Recovery at Hannah’s Quarter (9Jf195), Jefferson County, Georgia. Report prepared by Southern Research Historic Preservation Consultants, Inc., Ellerslie, Georgia.

Archaeologists to research location of Carr’s Fort site along Beaverdam Creek
January 8, 2013

Archaeologists to research location of Carr’s Fort site along Beaverdam Creek.

Great New Book Out! particularly Chapter 11.
November 1, 2012

Rita Ann Veronica Folse Elliott, M.A., R.P.A., G.C.P.A. has yet another publication under her garter. It is an edited volume by Todd Andrlik, entitled “Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It was History It was News”. On sale now at Amazon.com and other fine book vendors. Follow this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Reporting-Revolutionary-War-Before-History/dp/1402269676/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351788719&sr=8-1&keywords=Reporting+the+American+Revolution+andrlik

Reporting the Revolutionary War

On Sale Starting November 1, 2012

LAMAR Institute awarded grant to find Carr’s Fort battlefield
July 10, 2012

Official NPS press release for our grant project award.

The LAMAR Institute Inc. (Georgia) $68,527
During the American Revolution, Georgia was the scene of vicious fighting between Loyalist and
Patriot forces. One such engagement was the little known siege of Carr’s Fort which began February
11, 1779. The LAMAR Institute intends to locate Carr’s Fort archeologically and delineate the
battlefield boundaries around it. It is hoped that by identifying this site they will be able to shed some
light on this turbulent time.

NPSpressrelease7-9-12

 

 

 

Front Page News of The News-Reporter (Washington, Georgia) for August 23, 2012, written by the editor of the newspaper:

Wilkes County’s ‘pristine’ Kettle Creek site gets state, federal grant money to develop

Calling the Wilkes County battle site at Kettle Creek “the most pristine Revolutionary War site left in the United States,” a new advisory committee met recently to kick off a study to formulate a land use plan for the site.

Led by the Community Affairs Department of the Central Savannah River Area Regional Commission and funded by a state grant, the plan will provide a working foundation for economic use and development, said committee member Tom Owen. “In addition to Kettle Creek, Wilkes County has a watershed of Revolutionary and Colonial assets. Directly associated with the Kettle Creek battle was the siege at Carr’s Fort. In July 2012, the Lamar Institute was awarded a federal grant for the archeological study of this Wilkes County Revolutionary War asset, which in the long term will bind the two locations.”

The Kettle Creek project has been the primary objective of the Kettle Creek Battlefield Association (KCBA), which is working towards the preservation and educational development of the historic site. “The battlefield area is recognized as perhaps the most pristine Revolutionary War site left in the United States,” Owen said, “and as a strategic untapped economic asset for Washington-Wilkes and Georgia.”

Project lead from the CSRA Regional Commission’s Planning Department will be Christian Lentz with Jason Hardin as research and plan developer, along with Anne Floyd, Director of Local Government Services at CSRA RDC. The Kettle Creek Advisory Committee will hold additional meetings in 2012 on October 16 and December 11, as well as a final meeting on February 13, 2013.

Owen said that a public meeting and open house is being planned for a date yet to be determined. The Kettle Creek Battlefield Association has provided the primary leadership toward driving this project and for the preservation efforts. The KCBA membership has been joined by the state organizations of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution from Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina, as well as members in 15 states as far away as the West coast, he said.

In addition to the CSRA personnel, the committee members in attendance included Joseph Harris, KCBA; Thomas Owen, KCBA; Betty Slaton, KCBA; David Tyler, Wilkes County administrator; Jim Rundorff, Plum Creek Forestry director; Walker Chewning, KCBA; David Jenkins, City of Washington economic development director; Jenny Clarke, executive director, Washington-Wilkes Chamber of Commerce; Stephanie Macchia, Washington Historical Museum director; Emory Burton, KCBA, and Steven Rauch, U.S. Army command historian, Fort Gordon.

http://newsreporter.our-hometown.com/news/2012-08-23/Front_Page/Wilkes_Countys_pristine_Kettle_Creek_site_gets_sta.html

DAR members hear program about Kettle Creek site archaeological finds
May 27, 2012

DAR members hear program about Kettle Creek site archaeological finds.

Dan Elliott of the Lamar Institute in Savannah presented the program to members of the Kettle Creek Chapter NSDAR and guests at the meeting Monday, January 19, at the Washington Woman’s Club.

Mr. Elliott, who resides in Rincon, spoke on the topic “Archaeological Finds at the Kettle Creek Battle Site.”

Introduced by the January program chairman, Nancy Sisson, Mr. Elliott presented the interesting program on the results of an indepth research study of the Kettle Creek Battle site conducted by the Institute. The study, funded by the National Park Service and the City of Washington, included archaeological finds as well as genealogical information and other studies of the site. The Battle of Kettle Creek took place on February 14, l779, in Wilkes County and was a moral victory for the Patriots. Much of the findings and collections will be placed in the Washington-Wilkes Historical Museum.

Prior to his presentation Anneice Butler, co-regent, presided. Ginny Broome, chaplain, led the chapter in the opening rituals and offered the blessing for the delicious lun- cheon.

After the luncheon and program, Mrs. Butler conducted the business meeting. Milly Arnold gave the National Defense message on the upcoming celebrations being planned for the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. Carol Faz, co-regent, reminded the club of the recognition of the Founding of Washington to be held at Fort Washington on January 23 at 1:30 p.m.

Other items of business were conducted before the meeting adjourned.

Members present were Ginny Broome, Nancy Sisson, Oleta McAvoy, Laura Toburen, Anneice Butler, Carol Faz, Louise Burt, Lou Singleton, Mary Ann Bentley, Edith Lindsey, Milly Arnold, Maxine Singleton, Anna Gunter, Phyllis Scarborough, Michelle Smith, Paula Butts, Debra Denard, Rosalee Haynes, Joanne Pollock, Linda Chesnut, Kathryn Sanders, Suzette Kopecky, Jane Burton, Carol Crowe Carraco, Betty Slaton and Kathy Dinneweth. Guests included David Denard, Stephanie Macchia, Jennifer Atchison and Dan Elliott.

Dedication for graves of the unknown held at New Ebenezer | savannahnow.com
May 27, 2012

Dedication for graves of the unknown held at New Ebenezer | savannahnow.com.

By DeAnn Komanecky

Prayers for those who died long ago filled the sanctuary and grounds of Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church on Saturday during services held for those buried in at least 250 unmarked graves outside the walls of the church’s cemetery.

Many of the graves belong to slaves, buried just south of the church cemetery that contains generations of the area’s descendants, the Salzburgers.

Other unmarked graves are also located outside the cemetery’s brick walls, on the side nearest the New Ebenezer Retreat Center. The graves may contain those of soldiers and civilians who died during the Revolutionary War.

The graves were identified by a team, led by Dan Elliott, with the LAMAR Institute. The work was done with the support of the Georgia Salzburger Society. The institute is a nonprofit archaeological research organization. The team used ground-penetrating radar to find the graves with no disturbance of the soil. The work was done in 2010 with the purpose of determining the cemetery’s lines.

A British-built Revolutionary War fort was also built in 1779 at Ebenezer and its octagonal shape has been previously marked by Elliott. According to unit rosters from the time, some 500 soldiers died of natural causes while at Ebenezer.

In Elliot’s report of the archaeological findings, he noted that the earliest marked grave in Jerusalem Cemetery is dated from 1813 and very few engraved markers exist prior to 1830. Elliot also reports that while burial records for New Ebenezer exist from 1736 through the 1800s, they are inconsistently documented.

Saturday’s services were led by the Jerusalem Church, and their sister church, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Savannah. Holy Trinity is the only Black Lutheran Church in Savannah, member Ditric Leggett said.

Leggett said he spent time as a child coming to Ebenezer and to be back for this event was memorable.

“It’s like coming home for us (the congregation),” Leggett said.

Being a part of a cemetery dedication for so many slaves that were in Effingham County made Saturday a special day, for Eva Goldwire of Clyo.

“Our family name came from John Goldwire, a slave owner in Guyton,” she said. “It gives me chill bumps to be here.”

Bishop H. Julian Gordy of the Southeastern Synod of the ELCA, told those attending any differences in life among those buried at Ebenezer are gone.

“In death they are the same. Whatever differences in life, they were miniscule and they are reconciled in Christ. We are all free,” Gordy said. “We are all loved, treasured and welcome at the banquet tab le of the kingdom of God.”

The History Underneath
May 8, 2012

The History Underneath.

The LAMAR Institute is proud to sponsor the May 12th event in Savannah!

from Connectsavannah:

May 08, 2012
The History Underneath
City explores need for an archaeological ordinance

By Jessica Leigh Lebos

If you own a building downtown and you want to paint it fuschia, there’s an app for that.

Same if you want to demolish it, add a sign to the front or attach a flagpole: You’d have to file an application for approval through the Metropolitan Planning Commission.

It’s because of the city’s rigorous rules concerning the renovation of its old architecture that Savannah remains one of the largest and most glorious landmark historic districts in the country. But you may be surprised that there are no such stipulations for the archaeological sites buried beneath those historic homes and offices.

There was no obligation to examine the old shipyards layered in the banks of the Savannah River as Hutchinson Island was developed, nor was there any archaeological methodology applied to the massive dugout of the underground parking garage near Ellis Square. Those are only two recent examples—there’s no telling how many other sites have been lost throughout the decades.

Fragile remains of Colonial–era homesteads, indigenous campgrounds, slave housing and other historic sites have “literally been bulldozed over” as Savannah has been developed, but the good news is that there is plenty left to explore.

Ellen Harris, the MPC’s cultural resource and planning manager, wants to investigate the possibility of incorporating archaeology into its own zoning ordinance, if not into the complex Unified Zoning Ordinance the commission has been drafting for years.

“The historic preservation of buildings tells only one part of the story,” explained Harris. “The under–represented people, Native Americans, slaves, soldiers—their stories are buried underneath those buildings.”

Digging in old records, Harris found that the MPC had received unilateral support for a code written in the late 1980s that would have required government projects to perform archaeological research before breaking ground, but the initiative fizzled with personnel changes. She hopes to revive the mandate for city and county projects and provide significant tax incentives for private entities.

Acknowledging that an ordinance applied citywide needs current community input before it can be written, Harris has organized a free introductory educational session open to the public. “Perspectives in Archaeology: Digging for the Truth, A Panel Discussion,” will be held at Trinity Methodist Church on Telfair Square this Saturday, May 12 at 2 p.m. A reception will follow.

While research shows that archaeological preservation has economic benefits for cities such as boosted tourism and reduced blight, it can be a scary topic for developers, for whom the discovery of a historic homestead or cemetery can mean the shutdown of a worksite. Harris encourages them to join the conversation.

“This is about dispelling myths and educating the community,” she said. “We’re just beginning to look at what it would take to include archaeology in the code and find out what other cities have done it.”

The nearby city of Beaufort, S.C. has laws mandating archaeological study before any development, and Florida has a statewide network of local archaeology ordinances. But Harris counts Alexandria, VA as the model for archaeological preservation. The city adopted an ordinance in 1989 that protects sites within the city’s center while acknowledging the needs of developers.

Dr. Pamela Cressey, the archaeology guru who helped author the Alexandria ordinance and continues to head the city’s museum devoted to locally–excavated artifacts, will visit Savannah to sit on the upcoming panel.

While Dr. Cressey promises to provide insight into the process that resulted in Alexandria’s ordinance, she counsels that Savannah must develop its own model.

“Every community has its unique characteristics and individual perspectives that will inform what comes out of it,” mused Dr. Cressey over the phone last week. “My goal is to talk about what’s possible.”

It can be challenging to convince people of the value of archaeology, she admits, “because it’s hidden. But down in the ground can be a wealth of materials that can tell us a lot about who lived there.”

Dr. Cressey will be joined on the panel by local architect Neil Dawson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife archaeologist Richard Kanaski and Georgia Southern anthropology professor Dr. Sue Moore. Local historian and filmmaker Michael Jordan will moderate.

Jordan calls the panel “more than just an opportunity for scholars to lecture about what they do. It’s a chance for Savannahians who care about history to start a conversation about what’s worked in other places and what could work here.”

Jordan was present when Lamar Institute archaeologist Rita Elliot excavated the Spring Hill Redoubt, the site of the bloody 1779 Revolutionary War battle now commemorated as Coastal Heritage Society’s Battlefield Park. There Elliot found gun parts and markings for the original fortification wall—factors that add layers to the history of the soldiers who died there. She has also found ditches, flints and other Revolutionary War debris in Madison Square, “steps away from where hundreds of people walk every day.”

Elliot, who will be in attendance at Saturday’s panel, looks forward to a time when Savannah’s buried sites will be as valued as its buildings.

“Archaeology goes in tandem with the preservation of standing structures,” she posits. “That’s how we find the whole story. There is tremendous potential here to expand the horizons of what we know about Savannah’s history.”

Adds Jordan, “Obviously, it will never be feasible to leave every archaeological discovery in Savannah completely undisturbed. That’s not realistic.”

However, even minor construction projects and home renovations “could peel back priceless pages of Savannah’s historic fabric” if policies are in place to preserve archaeological finds.

“That’s why it’s so important for us, as a community, to address the issues of how we preserve the past that’s buried just beneath the surface.”

Perspectives in Archaeology: Digging for the Truth

When: Saturday, May 12, 2 p.m.

Where: Trinity Methodist Church, 127 Barnard St.

Cost: Free and open to the public

The History Underneath
May 8, 2012

The History Underneath.

The LAMAR Institute is proud to be a co-sponsor of the upcoming discussion on Archaeology in Savannah on May 12, 2012 (2PM) at Trinity Methodist Church on Telfair Square. Interested folks may wish to attend.

The pictured Rita Elliot looks a lot like a Rita Elliott that I know.

Savannah! Come to the Archaeology Panel Discussion on May 12th
April 14, 2012

I’d like to invite you to attend a panel discussion on archaeology on May 12th at 2:00 at Trinity Church on Telfair Square- please see attached flyer. There will be a reception afterwards. Also please forward to others who may be interested.

Thank you,

Ellen

Special thanks to our reception sponsors: The LAMAR Institute and Coastal Heritage Society.

Our partners in the project are: Metropolitan Planning Commission, Chatham County Resource Protection Commission, Trinity Church, Chatham County, The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic District Board of Review, City of Savannah and the Chatham County Historic Preservation Commission, The LAMAR Institute and Coastal Heritage Society.

Ellen I. Harris, LEED A.P., AICP

Cultural Resource and Urban Planning Manager

Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission

110 East State Street

Savannah, Georgia 31401

Tel.: (912) 651-1482

Fax: (912) 651-1480

Archaeology Panel Flyer

Past Perfect in Savannah:

Rita Folse Elliott lectured on the subject of Savannah’s underground. The talk on April 17, 2012 began with a free reception at 6:30PM at the Kennedy Pharmacy at 323 East Broughton Street. For more information:

http://www.myhsf.org/advocacy-education/lectures-and-workshops/

TV Shows for the Dead
March 19, 2012

Just_Deserts.

Call for Protestof Spike TV and National Geographic Channel
February 27, 2012

Two new TV shows hit rock bottom with archaeologists:

Please sign this petition and/or let your concerns be known,

http://www.change.org/petitions/national-geographic-society-wwwnationalgeographiccom-stop-airing-the-television-show-diggers

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-spike-tv-from-looting-our-collective-past?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=share_with_facebook_friends

OR for the more sophisticated,

http//www.facebook.com/peeNationalGeographic

Brought to you by, http://danelliott.wordpress.com

Savannah’s Revolutionary War Discoveries | WSAV TV
February 2, 2011

Savannah’s Revolutionary War Discoveries | WSAV TV.

An earlier Civil War battle in Savannah, 1779
January 14, 2011

On October 9, 1779 American and British armies clashed on the west side of Savannah, Georgia. The armies and their allies, including Haitian, Irish, Scottish, German, African-American, Polish, and Danish officers and private soldiers, engaged in a deadly conflict that proved to be one of the costliest for the Americans in the American Revolution. The war in the South was pretty much a civil war, as neighbors split between Patriots and Loyalists. Savannah contains the forensic evidence of this battle, as unearthed by archaeologists. Come hear this story on February 1, 2011 in Savannah. The LAMAR Institute is proud to be one of the sponsors of this important work.

Archaeology Press Release January 14 2011by Savannah Under Fire on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 5:35pm

What ever happened to all that Revolutionary War archaeology being done in Savannah? What did archaeologists discover? How can people who live, work, and play in Savannah and Chatham County become involved with archaeological sites? Can preserving sites help the area’s economy and quality of life? Come to an archaeology presentation and public meeting Feb. 1, 2011 to find out and to offer suggestions. Coastal Heritage Society will reveal Revolutionary War discoveries in Savannah stemming from the two “Savannah Under Fire” projects conducted from 2007-2011. The projects uncovered startling discoveries, including trenches, fortifications, and battle debris. The research also showed that residents and tourists are interested in these sites. Archaeologists will describe the findings and explore ways to generate economic income and increase the quality of life of area residents. Following the presentation the public will be invited to offer comments and suggestions about such resources. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to provide input. The meeting is sponsored by the Coastal Heritage Society, through a grant from the National Park Service, American Battlefield Protection Program. It is free and open to the public. Time: 6-7 p.m. Location: Savannah History Museum auditorium, 303 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Savannah, Georgia (same building as the Visitors’ Center on MLK). Date: Feb. 1, 2011. Thanks!!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.