Pandemic Pandemonium? We have a cure–well, almost.

July 18, 2020 - Leave a Response

Click this Link to learn more, or read below:

LAMAR Institution Outreach Archaeology


The LAMAR Institute is pleased to offer a variety of free, online resources for educators (K-college) and students. This includes videos for all ages, archaeology reports (for college undergraduate and graduate students and upper level high schoolers), and curricula/lesson plans for 4th-12th grades. Many items on the list are from LAMAR Institute; some are links to other sites. Enjoy!
From Ironclad to Artifact: The Journey of the CSS Georgia. By Michael Jordan. (Underwater archaeology, raising the Civil War ironclad vessel in the Savannah River, in Savannah)
The Revolutionary War Battlefield at Purysburg, South Carolina: Search and Discovery.Documenting the Battle of Purysburg (documentary film). (Purysburg is across the Savannah River and upstream from Savannah. Here is the video link. Also there is an archaeology report about it (see below). By Michael Jordan and Dan Kurtz, 2016 (26.4 minutes).
The Battle of Monteith Swamp. By Daniel T. Elliott, 2013 (57.3 MB). [ARPA redacted version].
The Battle of Monteith Swamp (documentary film). (Monteith Swamp Battle is a Civil War battle is in Chatham County, GA.By Michael Jordan, 2011 (14 minutes, 21 seconds):
REPORTS online relating to Savannah area archaeology: Visit this web site and there you can click on the report numbers that you may be interested in
Report 171 Monteith Swamp (Civil War Battlefield Chatham County, GA)
Reports 173 & 174 Revolutionary War (Savannah, GA)
Reports 175 Spring Hill (Savannah, GA)
Report 195 Davenport House (Savannah, GA)
Report 202 Martello Tower (Tybee Island, GA)
Report 203 Fort Jackson (Savannah ,GA)
Report 204 Ga. State Railroad Museum, Savannah History Museum, Visitors Center (Savannah, GA)
Report 209 Purysburg Revolutionary War Battle (Jasper Co, SC)
Revolutionary Mathematics, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science: Using Archeology and the American Revolution to Teach Otherwise Boring Stuff See:
For a downloadable children’s book about African Americans and archaeology at the Abercorn Site in Savannah, Georgia visit:
For a curriculum about this visit:
Link to list of CSS Georgia ironclad shipwreck curricula by teachers and archaeologists:
For additional information about the shipwreck and underwater archaeology on it in Savannah see:

Lachlan McIntosh meets GPR

May 1, 2020 - Leave a Response

GPR survey areas shown in BLUE.

Hot off the presses:

Ground Penetrating Radar Survey at the Lachlan McIntosh House, Savannah, Georgia. LAMAR Institute Publication Series, Report Number 210.

By Daniel T. Elliott and Rita F. Elliott

Available for free download at:

City of Savannah Hosts Meeting on Archaeology Ordinance!

September 23, 2019 - Leave a Response

Our history is beneath our feet.

City of Savannah’s official press release:

City hosting meeting to discuss potential archaeology ordinance

Office of Public Communications
City of Savannah
Media Release
Sept. 19, 2019
For Immediate Release

City hosting meeting to discuss potential archaeology ordinance

SAVANNAH, GA (Sept. 19, 2019) — The City of Savannah will be hosting a meeting to discuss the formation of an archaeology ordinance on Thursday, Sept. 26, 6 p.m. at the Coastal Georgia Center.
Since the early 1970s, the City has developed and approved ordinances to protect the National Historic Landmark District, as well as other locally designated historic districts, during development. Yet, one feature not included in any of these regulations is an archaeology ordinance. Through the creation of such an ordinance, the community will be better able to recognize our archaeological resources as well as understand and celebrate our community’s unique and diverse history. Please join us on Sept. 26 to discuss the City’s effort crafting an archaeology ordinance.
Parking is available in the Visitor Center Parking Lot accessible from Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

For more information, please contact Bridget Lidy at 912-525-3097 or

Wondering what is left of Freetown, Grand Bahama Island after Hurricane Dorian mowed through? Tough Blow for The Bahamas…Sad. Whoever heard of a Category 5 Hurricane anyway? Answer- Most people. GIVE MONEY AND STUFF PEOPLE!

September 14, 2019 - Leave a Response

For More Information on the Archaeology at Freetown, Grand Bahama Island, Goto this link:


Fashion Plate Rita Posing at Freetown Cemetery, 2007.

Searching for Noah’s Ark Exponential

September 14, 2019 - Leave a Response

My LAMAR Institute colleagues, namely Rita Elliott, Dawn Chapman Ashlock and P.T. Ashlock, II and myself recently returned from the Sea Change Conference in Blackpool, UK. Dawn and I were co-presenters at that conference, which Dawn dished out to the audience with somber gusto. Our talk was about the historical relationship between humans, the Atlantic Ocean and Georgia’s barrier island of Ossabaw. Ossabaw Island is Georgia’s third largest barrier island. It is located at the mouth of the Ogeechee River, about 7 miles from Savannah. In our presentation, we foresaw evil portent of the gloom AND doom variety, thanks in no small part to the input from Dr. Clark Alexander and those busy science bees at NOAA. Meanwhile, a former Class 5, by then downgraded to a mere Class 3 Hurricane was passing by Ossabaw Island’s shores. I plan to upload our presentation on the LAMAR Institute’s website in the near future. In the meantime, you better get out your hammers and saws, cause we’zz about to “Wade in the Water, Wade in the Water Children, Wade in the Water…glub, glub glub, GLOBAL WARMING”!

Dirt Under the Nails, North End Plantation, Ossabaw Island, circa 2007?


SnowVision NEH Grant Awarded!

August 18, 2019 - Leave a Response

Out esteemed colleague and friend Karen Smith emailed me the exciting news of her NEH grant awarded this past week for the SnowVision project. While I am only a tiny cog in this plan, it is a great step forward for Swift Creek research in southeastern North America. Congratulations to Karen and her collaborators!!!

I look forward to working with you on this project, which is:

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Outright: $323,668
[Digital Humanities Advancement Grants]
Project Director: Karen Smith; Song Wang (co-project director); Colin Wilder (co-project
director); Jun Zhou (co-project director)
Project Title: SnowVision: A Machine Learning-Based Image Processing Tool for the
Study of Archaeological Collections
Project Description: The expansion and extension of a set of machine learning-based
tools designed to assist scholars with identifying and classifying artifacts from
archaeological sites based on design motifs.

AMDA Workshop in Charleston

July 30, 2018 - One Response

Dug Gap Battlefield Survey 2011

Dug Gap Battlefield, Union Right Flank

The group Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist (AMDA) has a workshop planned for Charleston, South Carolina in November, 2018. Click AMDA CHARLESTON for more information.

Of cannonballs and grapeshot

July 11, 2018 - Leave a Response

Little Danny is currently engrossed in a study of the elemental content of cast iron cannonballs and grapeshot (or case shot) from Revolutionary War sites in Georgia and South Carolina. Thus far he has sampled (with a Bruker III-V) ray gun, examples from Camden, Charleston, Ebenezer, Fort Motte, Kettle Creek, Ninety-Xix, Purysburg, Savannah, Sunbury and Tar Bluff. The sample size is growing! The results of this study will be presented at the 2018 International Fields of Conflict Conference in Connecticut later this year. Hurrah for pXRF!

Archaeology at Hazel Creek, Habersham County, Georgia

March 21, 2018 - Leave a Response

Announcing the release of another LAMAR Institute report, which is available for free download.

The report is entitled,

In Search of the Nacoochee Chiefdom: Recent and Not So Recent Data from Habersham County

LAMAR Institute Report Series,
Report Number 89

By Daniel T. Elliott and R. Steven Webb

Click on the link below to access the report:

Click to access publication_89.pdf

Abby the Archaeobus in Savannah, ONE DAY ONLY!

March 20, 2018 - Leave a Response

ArchaeoBus at Forsyth Farmers Market 3-24-18

Abby the Archaeobus, the dreamgirl of the Society for Georgia Archaeology, will make a one-day only appearance in Savannah’s Forsyth Park on Saturday, March 24 from 9-1PM. Free and open to the public. Be there!

Our history is beneath our feet.

The Lick Skillett Road Upland Survey, Greene County, Georgia.

March 19, 2018 - Leave a Response

Announcing the release of LAMAR Institute Publication Report Number 198. The Lick Skillett Road Upland Survey, Greene County, Georgia. By Daniel T. Elliott and Amanda Thompson, 2018. It is available for free download in .pdf format at:

Click to access publication_198.pdf

This is a report of survey fieldwork done in 1981, followed by a very long pause, and a report finally completed in 2018. The survey data contained in this report adds to the body of archaeological information on settlement in the Oconee River watershed of north-central Georgia.

James Seagrove’s Journal from 1793

March 16, 2018 - Leave a Response

Announcing the release of:

LAMAR Institute Publication Series Report Number 220

Another research report by the LAMAR Institute has been uploaded to its website for free public download.  Click on the link above to download LAMAR Institute’s Report 220, entitled, Journal of James Seagrove, Creek Indian Agent, 1793. The journal, which covers the period from October 31, 1793 to December 10, 1793, was transcribed by Daniel Battle and Daniel T. Elliott. The original manuscript is archived in the Butler Papers at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

James Seagrove is a poorly understood historical figure in early Georgia history. He was appointed Creek Indian Agent by President George Washington in early 1792. In 1793 he embarked into the Creek Nation and spent several months talking with the Lower and Upper Creek Chiefs. This was during a tense period in American history when the residents of Georgia and the Creeks were in an undeclared war.  In addition to the obvious political content, Seagrove’s journal provides wonderful details of aspects of Creek life. This journal has never seen the light of day in academic circles and I encourage anyone interested in Creek history and culture, early Georgia history and early American history to read it!

Tyger Village

March 2, 2018 - Leave a Response


A very brief report on an interesting prehistoric site in Union County, South Carolina.

Abby Comes to Columbia!

February 16, 2018 - Leave a Response

Abby the Archaeobus will make a one-day only appearance in Columbia, South Carolina on Saturday February 17, 2018.

The bus functions as a mobile archeology classroom and will be free and open to the public from 9AM until 5PM in front of USC’s Gambrell Hall!
Be there!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Elementary My Dear [Your Name Here]: pXRF Elemental Analysis and Military Archaeology in Eastern North America.

December 16, 2017 - Leave a Response

Hi-De-Ho Neighbor!

The LAMAR Institute is delighted to announce the release of three archaeology reports on its entry into the mysterious world of “ELEMENTAL ANALYSIS”. Thanks to Bruce Kaiser and the Bruker people, our researchers are now investigating the basic components of archaeology at the elemental level. As Bruce points out, “All is Light” and by examining the variations in the light we are enabled to see things–wonderful things!  Our research began with a regional study of early round (lead) ball ammunition. But it turns out, not all of the balls are composed of lead. AND it is those non-lead elements that show promise for our understanding of the variations in ammunition assemblages on Revolutionary War battlefields.

In our Research Report Number 213, we brought together scholars from across the southeastern United States in an attempt to develop a common language for understanding the elemental composition of round balls.  This research is still evolving but our initial report on this effort is contained in Report 213, which can be accessed from the following link:

213. Get the Lead Out:  Towards Identifying Ammunition on Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Battlefields and Settlements. By Daniel T. Elliott and Michael Seibert 2017 (5.6 MB).

In Research Report 214, one particular battlefield, Kettle Creek, February 14, 1779, is studied for the elemental composition of its round (lead) balls. It is available at:

214. Portable X-Ray Fluorescence of Lead Ammunition from Kettle Creek Revolutionary War Battlefield, Wilkes County, Georgia. By Daniel T. Elliott 2017 (2.2 MB).

In Research Report 215, we embarked on the elemental analysis of cast iron munitions from the Revolutionary War era. This study began with a request by a colleague to zap the grapeshot that killed Count Casimir Pulaski, father of the American cavalry.  It is available at:

215. Elemental Analysis of the Alleged Grapeshot that Killed Count Casimir Pulaski and Some Other Revolutionary War-era Cast Iron Ordnance. By Daniel T. Elliott 2017 (3.0 MB).

Stay tuned for more, as we expand our search to include gunflints and “Cadaver Dog Dirt”! Later, Dude!

AND Please don’t forget The LAMAR Institute this holiday season! “God bless us everyone”–Dickens


Rita’s Work at Old Fort Jackson

December 10, 2017 - Leave a Response

My wife is an archaeologist. Sometimes she does not tell me things about what she has done. This is an example. I discovered this video footage of one of her discoveries at Old Fort Jackson in Savannah, Georgia. It was 7 years ago, but it was news to me! Go Rita!

Underground Savannah Awakens!

November 23, 2017 - Leave a Response

SavannahOriginal2016Mary Landers’ Savannah Morning News article:


Posted November 15, 2017 10:03 pm – Updated November 16, 2017 07:31 am
By Mary Landers

Georgia Trust: Savannah’s underground history in peril

No archaeological ordinance means artifacts can be lost when developments are built

Rita Elliott explains her findings at the Revolutionary War-era Spring Hill redoubt in 2005. Without Coastal Heritage Society’s archaeological efforts, the original earthen fort would not have been documented. (Photo courtesy Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation)

Walk around Savannah, Georgia’s oldest European-settled city, and you’re walking on history, much of it untold.

Sure, the rich and powerful are chronicled in books and government documents, said Rita Elliott, research associate and education coordinator at the nonprofit Lamar Institute in Savannah. But the stories of slaves, of women, of children and of other ordinary Savannahians, in Colonial times especially, exist mainly as artifacts buried in Savannah’s soil. And because Savannah doesn’t compel or incentivize developers to survey for artifacts before they build, it’s rarely done.

“We’re losing all those stories at an alarming rate because there’s no ordinance,” Elliott said.

To highlight this concern, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation included “Underground Savannah” on its 2018 list of “Places in Peril” released Wednesday and called on Savannah to incorporate archaeology into its regulations.

“Many of the more recently constructed buildings have deep architectural footprints that have obliterated any archaeological potential beneath them,” the “Places in Peril” report states. “Savannah has no archaeological ordinance that requires comprehensive archaeological study in advance of a site’s destruction. As a result, countless archaeological sites have been destroyed. Unmitigated development continues across Savannah, moving into areas where archaeological sites have managed to survive thus far. Savannah’s current public policy needs to incorporate archaeology into its regulations.”

The regulation doesn’t have to be an ordinance, it could come instead in the form of incentives to encourage archaeology, said Georgia Trust CEO and President Mark McDonald.

Dan Elliott, Rita’s husband and president and research archaeologist at the Lamar Institute, made the nomination and coined the term “Underground Savannah.” The Lamar Institute’s work at Ebenezer in Effingham County, Savannah’s colonial sister city, has revealed details of the spartan life of ordinary colonists, but comparable archaeological work hasn’t happened in Savannah, he said.

But the artifacts are there. A dig in Madison Square uncovered a trash-filled ditch from the time of the Revolutionary War.

“It probably extends for blocks,” Dan Elliott said. “It’s a resource that could be excavated for 100 years or more.”

The Coastal Heritage Society’s decision to do an archaeological survey on the site of Battlefield Park led to the discovery of the remains of the original Spring Hill redoubt, a earthen fort recreated on the eastern portion of the site to commemorate the major Revolutionary War battle that took place there.

“Archaeology is not just esoteric facts,” said Rita Elliott. “It can be a huge economic boon to the city.”

And though archaeology feeds the trend for heritage tourism it also adds to pride of place for locals. In Yamacraw Village there’s evidence of another Revolutionary War fort, the Carolina redoubt.

“For residents as well it can add to a community’s identity,” she said.

The costs of adding archaeology to a big development are small, especially compared to not doing it, advocates contend.

“What is the cost of not doing it?” Rita Elliott said. “It’s priceless history lost forever.”

About 130 cities and counties around the country have archaeological regulations or ordinances, including St. Augustine, New Orleans, Alexandria, Va., and Annapolis, Md. Charleston is considering one. If Savannah adopted one, it would be a first in Georgia.

Alderman Van Johnson said he’s open to the idea of a requiring or encouraging archaeology as long as it doesn’t “handcuff responsible developers.”

He pointed out as a successful compromise a slave cemetery discovered on the campus of Savannah State University. Officials proceeded with building a new science and technology center there, but only after archaeologists detailed their findings and relocated the remains.

“I’m not foolish enough to believe we’re all there was,” Johnson said. “We’re standing and walking on history every day.”


A.J. Gillen Department Store in Maxeys (Oglethorpe County)

Bibb City Elementary School in Columbus (Muscogee County)

Cuthbert Water Tower in Cuthbert (Randolph County)

Fire Station No. 2 in Rome (Floyd County)

Fort Valley Freight Depot in Fort Valley (Peach County)

Foster-Thomason-Miller House in Madison (Morgan County)

Kit Jones Vessel constructed on Sapelo Island (McIntosh County)

National Library Bindery Company in Atlanta (Fulton County)

Olmsted Linear Park Properties in Atlanta (DeKalb County)

Underground Savannah (Chatham County)


Landers’ article was followed by this editorial in the Savannah Morning News:

Posted November 18, 2017 11:11 pm – Updated November 19, 2017 06:30 am

Editorial: Protect Underground Savannah

Last summer, Savannah State University officials broke ground on the construction of a $20.5 million science and technology building, but before they did they took the time to research whether they were building on the site of a former cemetery for slaves.

They also took time to honor the memories of those who may have toiled on that spot — part of the old Placentia Plantation — before going forward with the construction of the needed campus building. Archaeologists detailed their findings and respectfully relocated the remains of the dead.

The experience at SSU, and the due diligence that university officials did, showed proper respect for history and the past while not slowing down needed progress. It also helps illustrate why the city could benefit from having its own archaeology ordinance on the books to help save history and historic artifacts from earth-movers.

The lack of such an ordinance prompted the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation to include “Underground Savannah” as one of 10 site on its 2018 list of “Places in Peril” released last Wednesday. The group called on Savannah to incorporate archaeology into its regulations.

“Many of the more recently constructed buildings have deep architectural footprints that have obliterated any archaeological potential beneath them,” the “Places in Peril” report states. “Savannah has no archaeological ordinance that requires comprehensive archaeological study in advance of a site’s destruction. As a result, countless archaeological sites have been destroyed. Unmitigated development continues across Savannah, moving into areas where archaeological sites have managed to survive thus far. Savannah’s current public policy needs to incorporate archaeology into its regulations.”

The regulation doesn’t have to be an ordinance, it could come instead in the form of incentives to encourage archaeology, said Georgia Trust CEO and President Mark McDonald. The Georgia Trust is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit preservation groups — its missions include reclaiming, restoring and revitalizing the state’s historic sites, from the obscure to the well-known. Mr. McDonald knows Savannah well, as he is a former president of the Historic Savannah Foundation.

The idea of an ordinance to help preserve historic treasures that may be underground here isn’t new. Indeed, only a year ago, Savannah archaeologist Philip Ashlock pushed the city to protect sites that may be historically significant. He urged Savannah to join other historic communities that have such protections, including St. Augustine, Fla., Beaufort County, S.C. and Alexandria, Va. Alexandria’s law has been on the books for about 24 years and is considered a model for the nation. During those 24 years, it has not been shown that the law imposed an unreasonable burden on developers or property owners — a typical objection to a new archaeological ordinance.

But last year’s push for a Savannah law failed to pick up traction, and the momentum for it slowed down, only to be renewed again by the Georgia Trust’s involvement.

Savannah City Council should give it a serious look. Indeed, federal law already requires an archaeological survey on land being developed with federal funds, and that law led to the discovery of ceramic shards and the possibility that Native Americans once had an encampment and brick wells at the site of the Chatham Area Transit’s Joe Murray Rivers Jr. Intermodal Transit Center on West Oglethorpe Ave. The shards had been hidden for about 1,500 years. That’s about 800 years before Gen. Oglethorpe landed here to found the Georgia colony.

The federal law helped reveal important evidence about this area’s past that otherwise would have been lost. Indeed, it’s highly likely that more evidence was destroyed in the 1960s during construction of the former Greyhound Bus depot on that site before surveys were required for projects involving federal funds.

As it stands now, developers are able to excavate sites for hotels and other private projects all over the city without regard to whatever history or artifacts their buildings will pave over. This is not the developers’ fault. They have no legal responsibility to search their properties for remnants of the past. It is the fault of previous generations of Savannah leaders who were unwilling to protect such relics.

It seems to be a glaring inconsistency on Savannah’s part. The city has an historic preservation law, but won’t touch archaeological protection. That needs to change.

About a year ago, the Metropolitan Planning Commission wrote a voluntary policy to address this concern. Under that proposal, developers with large-scale projects could get permission to exceed the height limitation in their area by one story in return for devoting 4 percent of the project cost — up to $500,000 — on an archaeological survey and, if any money as left over, dedicate it to outreach and education.

This plan wasn’t ideal, but it was better than nothing. As a voluntary measure it couldn’t promise protection against paving over Savannah’s past unless the developer agreed. Besides, how many big projects would opt for digging in the dirt to gain a bonus floor when they can already get one in several other ways, like using higher-grade building materials or sustainable technology or public art?

Alexandria’s archaeological protection code offers a better way. Developers there can find out ahead of time, with help from city staff, whether the site they want is likely to require an archaeological survey. Not every piece of property does. In that way, developers can factor a survey into their location decisions and into cost estimates, which is only fair.

The MPC staff liked the Alexandria model, too, but twice before, in the 1980s and again in 2012, attempts to preserve Savannah’s hidden archaeological treasures stalled for lack of mayoral and city council support, which is why the voluntary policy emerged to help protect Savannah’s past and prevent it from being paved over and lost forever.

These untold stories include how Native Americans, slaves and ordinary Savannahians once lived. The stories of the rich and powerful are already well-chronicled, but they paint an incomplete picture of Savannah’s past.

A potential treasure trove of historical information could exist. A dig in Madison Square uncovered a trash-filled ditch from the time of the Revolutionary War. In Yamacraw Village there’s evidence of a Revolutionary War-era fort.

But because the city doesn’t compel or incentive developers to survey for artifacts before they build, it’s rarely done. And as development increases, these stories are being permanently lost.

It’s time to reverse the momentum in a reasonable way that doesn’t punish thoughtful developers. City leaders should show that they care as much about the city’s hidden history that’s underground as they do with the visible history that’s above ground.


Then on November 22nd, Connect Savannah published this editorial by Jim Morekis:

Editor’s Note: ‘Underground Savannah’ in peril
By Jim Morekis

THE ANNUAL “Places in Peril” list released each year by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is usually heavy on old mansions and firehouses and train depots and the like.

This year, one entry encompasses a whole city — but a city you can’t see.

“Underground Savannah” comes in at number 10 on the list. The effort to include Savannah’s as-yet-undiscovered archaeological record on the yearly tally was spearheaded by Dan Elliott, President and Research Archaeologist at the Lamar Institute.

“We came up with the name as sort of a play on Underground Atlanta,” Dan explains. “Very little of the history from Savannah’s colonial era has seen the light of day.”

As unbelievable as it may sound, Dan says there really have only been two major scholarly excavations of Savannah’s past as a British colony, one dig in the Madison Square area and another in Battlefield Park near the Visitor’s Center.
click to enlarge This dig in Madison Square was made possible by a National Park Service grant. It wasn’t required by any local or state ordinance.

This dig in Madison Square was made possible by a National Park Service grant. It wasn’t required by any local or state ordinance.

The latter excavation, begun in 2005, resulted in the long-anticipated find of the Spring Hill Redoubt, a fortification used in the 1779 Siege of Savannah.

“There is some wonderful material, and there’s a lot more to be found underneath surrounding blocks. It’s a shame more attention’s not being paid to it,” Dan says.

“Savannah is a great showcase for things aboveground, but not so much for what’s under the ground,” he says.

Dan and his wife Rita Elliott, who serves as Education Coordinator & Research Associate at the Lamar Institute, say the inclusion of Underground Savannah on the Places in Peril list is intended to call attention to the dire need for an archaeological protection ordinance for the City of Savannah.

Surprised there’s not one already? You’re not alone.

“Everyone assumes Savannah, of all cities, would have an archaeological ordinance. When they find out we don’t have one at all, they’re usually shocked and appalled,” says Rita Elliott.

Rita says there are only 134 such local ordinances in the U.S., none in Georgia.

“The whole idea is for Savannah to have a well-constructed ordinance. It actually would be less of a pain to developers, because they’ll know from the get-go what’s involved,” Rita says.

When I mention to Rita that some people might welcome such an ordinance as an easy way to halt development projects they don’t like, she just laughs.

“99.99 percent of the time archaeology never, ever stops development. Really what we try to do is gather as much as we can before it’s destroyed,” she explains.

Currently, Dan says “The only real local archaeological protection is when a federal permit is involved. Typically around here it will involve a Corps of Engineers permitting process.”

At a time when Savannah is mulling over what to do with its visible Confederate monuments, this is a step Savannah can take to shine light on a much more diverse and appealing chapter in local history.

“This isn’t about monumental history, but about the stories not told. It’s about the women, about the enslaved people, about the everyday person,” says Rita.

Such untold stories would include Native American history too, they say, as in the recent case of a prehistoric shell midden discovered near Emmet Park.

While every new patch of concrete that’s poured means more history hidden, maybe forever, the Elliotts say it’s not too late.

“Cities don’t really erase archaeology as they develop. A city tends to build up like a layer cake,” Dan explains.

If you’re interested in seeing Savannah pass a local archaeological protection ordinance, Rita says the best thing you can do is contact your local elected representatives, from the Mayor on down.

“If this is something people really want to see, that’s the most helpful thing they can do to get it done,” she says.


Hopefully the underground world of Savannah has been awakened and those above ground can hear and feel the rumblings beneath their feet. Savannah, bring out your dead.

….AND Happy Holidays!

Below is a video by Michael Jordan that discusses the history of historic preservation in Savannah. Perhaps he can make a sequel that addresses the archaeological resources of Savannah??? Michael?


Georgia Trust announces its 2018 List of Georgia’s 10 ‘Places in Peril’, which includes ‘Underground Savannah’

November 9, 2017 - Leave a Response


Modern development represents the greatest threat to the cultural resources of Savannah. Demolition in many areas of Savannah has adversely impacted or totally eradicated its archaeological contents. Inappropriate development in Savannah, particularly along Bay Street, has erased major sections of the town’s waterfront. Many of the modern buildings that have been built over the past three decades have deep architectural footprints (massive foundation walls and subterranean parking garages) that have destroyed any archaeological potential beneath them. This destruction continues unabated and renewed in 2017 by improvements to the national economy. Development continues across Savannahm moving into  areas where archaeological sites have managed to survive thus far.

Insensitive public policy in Savannah has failed to incorporate archaeology into its regulations and permitting of historic resources. While Savannah has been attentive to protecting its above-ground resources, its archaeological resources have no protection. The threat to Savannah’s archaeological resources is current, ongoing, and escalating.


Above:  Savannah in 1994; Below: Savannah in 2016


The British colonial town of Savannah was established in 1733. The original town plan involved a rectangular layout of four wards each consisting of a public square, surrounded by residential tythings (blocks of ten 60 x 90 ft. house lots), Trust blocks (larger lots used for public or commercial functions), and a grid of streets and lanes. General Oglethorpe’s unique town plan was continued as the town grew in size during the Trustee period, throughout the Royal government period and well into the Federal period. The town followed this plan, with minor modifications, until 28 wards were created. Forsyth Park was added as a large (20 acre) urban park in the 1840s and early 1850s. The park also served as a military prison camp for Union officers in the final days of the Civil War. Following the American Civil War Savannah continued to expand but without following Oglethorpe’s urban vision. The town contains 18th-20th century residences, commercial buildings, churches, social/fraternal structures, schools, markets,and other buildings, and examples of many of these are extant. Very few buildings from 18th century Savannah have survived. In their place were erected generations of larger, more substantial dwellings, many of which have survived, but modern development continues to degrade and destroy these cultural resources.

The town also contains a large and diverse history underground, in its archaeological sites. Many of these sites are associated with extant structures while many archaeological sites have survived although their standing structures have not. These sites contain unique and priceless information about Savannah’s history. The archaeological features on these sites include architectural remains, wells, cisterns, trash pits, and artifacts that have the potential to expand our history of the past and tell the stories of those silent in historical accounts. Savannah’s archaeological sites, when preserved and scientifically studied, reveals the lives of enslaved and free African Americans, children, women, illiterate individuals, poor people, and immigrants. These sites also provide new information about those present in history, such as the wealthy, the influential, and the well-known. Other archaeological sites exist in the town that were never associated with structures, such as Native American Indian shell middens, mound remnants, and camps. Archaeology provides us with the only way of knowing about Savannah and Georgia’s prehistory from the mid-1500s through 12,000 B.C. Savannah’s archaeological sites are a bank of unique and irreplaceable historical information. Unfortunately, these resources are being destroyed at an alarming rate through unmitigated development. Savannah has no archaeological ordinance that requires any comprehensive archaeological study well in advance and prior to a site’s destruction. As a result countless non-renewable sites have been destroyed, including colonial house sites, urban slave quarters, Revolutionary War battle and camp sites, a 19th century orphanage, 18th-19th century industrial sites, the 19th century town market, Civil War sites, Spanish American War sites, ship yards, and many, many other parts of our collective past. As Georgia’s oldest European-settled city, Savannah’s array of archaeological sites is vast. But the remaining sites are in dire peril.

Below:  Rita Elliott explains to Savannah’s curious her discovery of the British Spring Hill Redoubt, which was built in 1779 and discovered in 2005.


For More Information on Underground Savannah, you might like to read some archaeological reports, which are located on the internet at:

LAMAR Institute Reports


May I suggest Report Numbers 19, 31, 73, 104, 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 195, 203 and 212. 

AND Click below for Mary Landers’ excellent article in the Savannah Morning News, November 16, 2017:


Me Back in 2006

October 23, 2017 - Leave a Response

Dan on TV someplace

Here I am on TV, but I cannot for the life of me remember where this was or what I was talking about. I do recognize the shirt, but not the hat. Anybody wanna help me with this puzzle?

Speaking of Soapstone!

October 3, 2017 - Leave a Response

Announcing the release of a new LAMAR Institute Publication, entitled:
Soapstone in Georgia.
Click here to download it for free:


Archaeologists to speak on recovery of Civil War Confederate ironclad

August 2, 2017 - Leave a Response

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Two renown underwater archaeologists will present information on the latest efforts to recover the CSS Georgia, a Confederate ironclad scuttled in the Savannah River near the end of

Source: Archaeologists to speak on recovery of Civil War Confederate ironclad

Do you want to help discover a Revolutionary War battlefield?

July 10, 2017 - Leave a Response

Here’s your chance!
The July 25th deadline for registering the 11th AMDA is fast approaching. This Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist (AMDA) class is being offered at Bennington Battlefield in New York on August 25-27, 2017. More information is available at:

Or click this link:


Join me, Rita, Chris, Jo and others for really good time! Or not.

Nash Farm Battlefield Park Status

June 7, 2017 - Leave a Response

Below is a letter that I wrote today to the Henry County (Georgia) Board of Commissioners regarding the current and future status of its Nash Farm Battlefield Park:

June 7, 2017
June Wood, Chairman
Henry County Board of Commissioners
140 Henry Parkway
McDonough, Georgia 30253

RE: Nash Farm and Battles of Lovejoy
Dear Chairman Wood:
I am writing to express my concern for the future of Henry County’s Nash Farm Battlefield Park and the related historical resources on adjacent lands that comprise the Battles of Lovejoy from the American Civil War. For those members of the board who may not be familiar with the LAMAR Institute, our organization worked closely with Henry County government in 2007 to define the archaeological resources on the Nash Farm property. That effort is fully documented in our research report, entitled, The Nash Farm Battlefield: History and Archaeology. That report is available for free download at our website at .
Since 2007 historians and archaeologists have continued to delve into the cultural resources associated with the battles at Lovejoy and I have continued my involvement as a researcher on that subject. In 2010, our research team worked with the National Park Service to revise its boundary and understanding of the Battle(s) of Lovejoy and this resulted in a large area of Clayton and Henry Counties designated as the battlefield boundary. That recognized boundary encompasses all of the Nash Farm Battlefield Park property.

Archaeological surveys from 2008-2017 have verified this boundary, primarily the result of Georgia Department of Transportation projects for the proposed improvement of Jonesboro Road. Those efforts are fully documented in multiple survey reports by the firms of Southeastern Archeological Services, Inc. and Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc. The bottom line is Lovejoy was the scene of four battles in 1864, three of which are manifested at Nash Farm. Soldiers from both armies fought, died, were wounded, captured or survived. These men who clashed at the Nash farm are recognized by the U.S.A. as military veterans.

Metropolitan Atlanta has preserved very few reminders of the military contest for Atlanta. The Nash Farm Battlefield Park presents an excellent opportunity for telling this history as it provides an opportunity for outdoor learning for today’s youth and future generations. I applaud Henry County for demonstrating the initiative to acquire and preserve this historical property. It concerns me to read talk in today’s news, however, questioning the battlefield’s reality and the poor prospects for its continued preservation. This property is a huge asset to the county, both in terms of serving the local community as a lovely park and as a destination for those interested in studying and experiencing important places in America’s past.

Our recommendations would be to expand the boundaries of the park by acquiring additional property, create a museum that tells the stories of the battles in an unbiased format, and promote the site to the public for its important role in the development of our country. Thank you for your time.


Daniel T. Elliott
The LAMAR Institute, Inc.

Cc: Johnny Wilson, Dee Clemmons, Gary Barham, Blake Prince, Bruce Holmes

Georgia Archaeology Month Reveals Many of Savannah’s Archaeological Sites Facing Destruction

May 3, 2017 - Leave a Response

Georgia Archaeology Month 2017

While May is officially Georgia Archaeology Month, Savannah has little to celebrate. This year’s Georgia Archaeology Month poster features the CSS Georgia ironclad shipwreck site in Savannah. This site is being excavated and documented for the future. Unfortunately, it is one of the very few important archaeological sites in Savannah that is being saved. Most of Savannah’s archaeological sites – whether they are Civil War sites, colonial sites from General Oglethorpe’s day, 8,000 year old Native American sites, or many others – have no protections from destruction. The City of Savannah has no archaeology ordinance to protect its valuable, unique, and non-renewable history located underground.

These archaeological sites are the only places that can reveal unique history of African Americans, Native Americans and European and Asian Americans. Once destroyed their information, stories, and artifacts are gone forever. A comprehensive archaeology ordinance would protect this information by preserving such sites, or in cases of development, by excavating the sites before they are destroyed forever by construction.

Daniel Elliott, President of The LAMAR Institute, in Savannah notes that, “Savannah leaders continue to fall victim to the myth that archaeology will slow or stop development. In reality, archaeology benefits development, heritage tourism, education, and a better quality of life for residents. It is unfortunate that Savannah city leaders have failed for thirty years to recognize this fact. Unlike educated, cultured cities such as Alexandria, Virginia, St. Augustine, Florida, and dozens of others in America, Savannah has been a poor steward of the very cultural resources that can benefit it.”

Kiln Carnage at Purysburg

March 23, 2017 - Leave a Response

Rita Elliott and Daniel Elliott are giving a presentation on the Puryburg 18th Century Redware Pottery Production Site discovery at the Decorative Arts Trust Symposium in Savannah this April. Here is the info:

Georgia Day at the Grand Opening of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown!

March 22, 2017 - Leave a Response

If you happen to be in Yorktown on Sunday, March 26, why not drop by the Grand Opening of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, where we will be celebrating Georgia’s role in the war. this is a really cool new museum, well worth the expense. Learn about the battles of Carr’s Fort, Kettle Creek and Savannah, and more. For more information:


Buy Stuff at Amazon Smile and Earn LAMAR Institute Some Bucks!

March 15, 2017 - Leave a Response

Buy stuff at Amazon Smile and Amazon will donate 5% of the object’s cost to the LAMAR Institute, This offer is good only for Thursday, March 16, 2017. On other days Amazon Smile will still donate a portion of your purchase price to the LAMAR Institute, but only if you register it as your preferred charity on the Amazon Smile webpage. Here is a link to get started shopping today:

Amazon is celebrating its #1 ranking in customer satisfaction by the ACSI! Today, March 16, Amazon will donate 5% (10 times the usual donation rate) of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Lamar Institute, Inc.. Get started at

pXRF Workshop for Archaeologists and Others

March 6, 2017 - Leave a Response

For release, Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Get the Lead Out! A Scientific Workshop
The LAMAR Institute is pleased to announce that it will host a workshop for archaeologists, museum specialists, military historians and other professionals interested in early military history. The workshop, Get the Lead Out: Elemental Analysis of 18th and Early 19th Century Ammunition in Eastern North America, will instruct participants in the use of Portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) technology in the study of musket balls. It will allow participants to use elemental analysis to improve their understanding of round (musket) balls in current research and in older museum collections. The application of this advanced technology on early ammunition is new and evolving and preliminary results reveal it to be useful in identifying unique profile characterizations. While nearly all bullets from this era contain quantities of lead, the addition of other elements such as tin, antimony, and silver, whether intentional or accidental, has been demonstrated to vary within and between archaeological sites in Georgia and South Carolina. The workshop will be structured to allow researchers to bring samples for study. Experts in the field of pXRF will assist in data collection, processing and interpretation. The results of the workshop is expected to set the baseline for future studies on this topic. The workshop is being held at the Coastal Georgia Center in Savannah, Georgia on June 29 and 30, 2017 and is open to 30 students on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested persons should contact the LAMAR Institute.
Contact: Daniel Elliott, The LAMAR Institute, P.O. Box 2992, Savannah, GA 31402
Cell: 706-341-7796

When: June 29 and 30, 2017; 9AM-5PM
Where: Room 2002, Coastal Georgia Center, 305 Fahm Street, Savannah, Georgia
Cost: $25 registration fee, checks made payable to the LAMAR Institute; Registration for the workshop closes on June 15th.
What to bring: Laptop computer, round lead ball collection (if available)
Sponsored by: The LAMAR Institute, Savannah, Georgia and funded by a Preservation Technology and Training Grant from the National Park Service, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Open to: Archaeologists, museum specialists, military historians and other interested professionals (30 students max).

Support the LAMAR Institute with your purchases

February 17, 2017 - Leave a Response

When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Lamar Institute, Inc.. Bookmark the link

and support us every time you shop. Our research team stands ready to locate more Revolutionary War sites in interior Georgia, but an archaeologist travels on his/her stomach! Consider buying something today and route it through AmazonSmile, it really is easy with no strings attached!
Support L… See More
Support Lamar Institute, Inc. by shopping at AmazonSmile.
When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate to Lamar Institute, Inc.. Support us every time you shop.

LETS GO KROGERING –For Archaeology!

Are you a Kroger shopper? Do you have a Kroger card? Do you love archaeology? Why not put all these together by adding the LAMAR institute to your list of Charitable Organizations that may benefit from your grocery shopping. The money comes from Kroger, so your money is safe. Just visit:    and login to your account. Then go to:

and enter LAMAR Institute or the Number 64275 to enroll in the program. I will let everyone know how this money raising effort progresses. I just registered our personal card to get it started.

Last Chance for Ebenezer Metal Detector Workshop!

October 20, 2016 - Leave a Response

Last chance to sign up for the upcoming workshop on Metal Detecting for Archaeologists to be held at Ebenezer, Georgia, visit this website and hurry, hurry, hurry:

Metal Detecting for Archeologists

LAMAR Institute
to Host Metal Detector Workshop at Ebenezer

Savannah, October 22, 2016. The LAMAR Institute will host a workshop on Metal Detecting for Archeologists from November 18-20, 2016 at the historic New Ebenezer town site in Rincon, Georgia. The workshop is sponsored by the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), the Friends of NCPTT and Connor Consulting. Metal detector applications and use generally have become accepted in historical archeology, but it is clear that few professional and student archeologists have received training in metal detector capabilities or use. This course offers an opportunity for archeologists to become familiar with, and comfortable using metal detector technology on archeological sites. Instructors are professional archeologists, many well-known for their work in using metal detectors on military and domestic sites. The course is designed as a 2.5 day event, with day one being an introduction to metal detectors and metal detecting capabilities, followed by a day and a half of a field practicum where attendees will use various detectors on an actual archeological site expected to contain significant metal artifacts. The workshop is designed to provide attendees with an understanding of how a metal detector works, a familiarity with the various devices available and practical experience collecting data by using a variety of metal detectors in an archeological field situation.The field portion of the training will be held on the site of the New Ebenezer Revolutionary War defenses. For more information and to register for the workshop, visit this webpage:

Two documentary films produced by LAMAR Institute detail Revolutionary War battlefield discoveries in Georgia and South Carolina.

October 10, 2016 - Leave a Response



The LAMAR Institute, Inc.

P. O. Box 2992 Savannah, Georgia 31402

Contact:     Rita Elliott, Public Outreach

706-341-7796, or

Two documentary films produced by LAMAR Institute detail Revolutionary War battlefield discoveries in Georgia and South Carolina.

Savannah, October 10, 2016. Two documenatry films by noted Savannah filmmakers Michael Jordan and Dan Kurtz will be showcased in the 2016 Arkhaios Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Film Festival on Hilton Head Island later this month. The films, “In Search of Carr’s Fort” and “Documenting the Battle of Purysburg” were both subsidized in part by a grant from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program and the LAMAR Institute. The first film explores the search and discovery of Captain Robert Carr’s frontier fort in Wilkes County, Georgia and the second film explores the search and discovery for the battlefield in the Patriot headquarters at Purysburg in Jasper County, South Carolina. The Arkhaios festival is a juried show that features films from all over the world. The LAMAR Institute offerings demonstrate that archaeology exists in your own back yard. For more information about the film festival, visit:

Hurricane Matthew visits Birdhouse and LAMAR Institute World Headquarters

October 10, 2016 - Leave a Response


PrintWinds and heavy rains from Hurricane Matthew buffeted our Birdhouse in Rincon, Georgia this past weekend. We had a large maple tree fall on one of our vehicles, floods in our back yard and archaeology laboratory, plus tons of sticks and leaves to clean up. Artifacts were evacuated from our lab to a safe place before the storm arrived. Sadly, several boxes of archaeology and history books and journals were flood damaged. Now comes the task of resuming normal operations, after about a one week setback. Thankfully, we are safe and our house survived without incident. Matthew was an unwelcome and untidy visitor, I would not recommend him has a boarder.

Metal Detecting for Archaeologists Workshop at Ebenezer, Georgia!

June 20, 2016 - Leave a Response

To learn more about the upcoming workshop on Metal Detecting for Archaeologists, visit this website:

Metal Detecting for Archeologists

Savannah Needs Archaeology!

June 19, 2016 - Leave a Response

Article from Savannah Morning News, June 18, 2016:

Petition urges protection of Savannah’s buried past
‘Archaeological ordinance’ would require builders to consider historic remnants

Within a city block-sized hole immediately north of downtown’s Drayton Tower apartment complex, excavators have been moving earth deep below the surface to make way for a new hotel. The project is just one of multiple developments underway or pending in Savannah’s Historic District, now that construction activity has picked up after the 2008 recession.

The renewed building activity has recently revived a decades-long effort to protect the city’s underground historic resources.

Archaeologist Phillip Ashlock said seeing the Drayton Street hotel development was a motivating factor behind an online petition he recently posted, which urges the city to adopt an archaeological ordinance.

The large hole in the Historic District, just west of Colonial Park Cemetery, was another reminder that Savannah has no archaeological requirements in place for city or private projects, Ashlock said.

The goal of the petition is to garner support for building requirements that would help prevent the loss of historic resources, Ashlock said, in addition to persuading the city to hire an archeologist who would coordinate preservation efforts. His aim is not to stop development, Ashlock said, but to make sure there is a review process for developers to follow to preserve and document historic sites.

“The past doesn’t belong to anybody,” he said. “We’re stewards of what came before us, and it’s our responsibility to take care of it.”

No ‘champion’

As of Friday afternoon, Ashlock’s petition on was more than halfway toward meeting his goal of 1,000 signatures.

The petition is raising awareness about the issue as the Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission creates an incentive for developers to voluntarily conduct archaeological studies.

Under the policy, developers that agree to perform studies for large-scale projects would be permitted to build an additional story beyond the area’s height limits. Four percent of the project’s cost, with a cap of $500,000, would have to go toward archaeology, outreach and education.

The incentive approach is a change in direction after an attempt about four years ago to develop an archaeology ordinance failed to move forward, said Ellen Harris, MPC director of urban planning and historic preservation. Options considered at the time varied from only requiring archaeological assessments for public projects to also mandating that private developers conduct evaluations, with potential incentives to offset additional costs.

The reasoning behind the ordinance was explained in a planning commission memo that said large segments of the underrepresented community — such as slaves, women and immigrants — could be more thoroughly understood through archaeology. Also, 95 percent of the area’s past is considered prehistoric and archaeology remains the only effective means of studying the 13,000-year-old heritage, the memo stated.

Archaeology helps tell the story of the people who built the buildings, Harris said.

“That story isn’t told in the structure anymore,” she said.

That abandoned 2012 endeavor followed a previous failed attempt in the late 1980s. At that time, the planning commission approved an ordinance that would have established an archaeological review policy for city projects, in addition to prohibiting the removal of artifacts from city-owned lands.

The ordinance was never approved by the mayor and aldermen, however.

“We just haven’t had a champion at the city council level for it,” Harris said.

With a new council in place, the issue could be brought back for consideration.

Savannah Alderman Bill Durrence, who represents the downtown Historic District, said last week that he was surprised to learn the city does not have an archaeology ordinance in place. The lack of a policy was something he would look into, Durrence said.

“That’s kind of odd, considering our history,” he said.

Underground stories

Most people in Savannah have no idea the city does not have an archaeological ordinance, either for city or private projects, said Rita Elliott, education coordinator and research associate with the Lamar Institute archaeological nonprofit. Elliott said she has been supporting the effort to “get the ball rolling” for implementing protections for 30 years, but that the lack of community awareness to the issue has played a part in the planning commission’s failed attempts to get regulations enacted.

“I think they need public support,” she said.

The false perception that archaeology and development can’t coexist is another barrier to an ordinance, said Laura Seifert an archaeology professor at Armstrong State University. Archaeology would just be another component of the historic review process, Seifert said, and the cost and time it takes could be built in if developers know their responsibilities at the start.

“If there is good planning, it shouldn’t be a problem,” she said.

Certain projects that receive state or federal funding are required to conduct archaeological studies. That requirement was why Chatham Area Transit had to have a site evaluation performed in 2012 when it was building a transit center on Oglethorpe Avenue west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The archaeologists for that project evaluated two brick wells found on the site, which were believed to date back to the 18th century. The excavation work uncovered artifacts from the 1700s, as well as ceramic shards dating back an estimated 1,500 years, said the project’s archaeologist, Angus Sawyer. More artifacts would likely have been discovered if it wasn’t for the damage caused to the site by the construction of a bus station there in the early 1960s, Sawyer said. Now more than 50 years later, Sawyer said, that damage continues throughout the city.

“There is a story under Savannah that is being lost piecemeal,” he said.

Digging versus archaeology

Historic artifacts are discovered regularly during construction projects. Recently, workers dug up about 50,000 19th century bricks hand-crafted by slaves, known as Savannah Greys, during the construction of a hotel on the south side of River Street at MLK.

A stoneware jug dating back to the early 19th century was also recently discovered during the construction of a ferry shelter on River Street north of City Hall.

The handle was broken off by machinery during the project, but the rest of the jug is intact and in the city’s possession after Luciana Spracher, Savannah’s library and archives director, heard about the discovery and rushed down to claim the artifact.

“I’m not sure what would have happened if I hadn’t found out about it,” Spracher said.

However, Ashlock said the discovery of an artifact is not the same as determining the historic object’s story.

“Context is very important,” he said. “Digging is different than archaeology.”

Savannah would not be the first city to adopt protections for its buried past. Other governments that have adopted archaeological ordinances include St. Augustine, Beaufort County, and Hilton Head.

Alexandria, Va. has one of the best models, Harris said.

That city’s archaeological protection code requires the evaluation of a project on a case-by-case basis. The developer is only required to hire an archaeological consultant to conduct research after it is determined there is potential for archaeological resources to be impacted.

‘Careful’ crafting

Local architect Patrick Shay said requiring some sort of historic investigation makes sense, but that an archaeological ordinance would have to be carefully crafted so it doesn’t make it impossible for development projects to move forward.

“It can get in the way of people using their property the way they want to,” Shay said. “It depends on how it’s worded, but it’s got merit.”

Shay’s firm designed the Rockbridge Capital hotel now being built along River Street, where the Savannah Grey bricks were found. An ordinance requiring work be halted in the middle of a project when such discoveries are made could be problematic for the developer, Shay said.

“If the rules are too strict, it can make it unlikely it is reported, frankly,” he said.

Jim Schrim, senior vice-president of real estate for Rockbridge, said during the project’s recent groundbreaking that the historic bricks would be cleaned and reused at the hotel.

Shay’s firm also designed the cultural arts center the city plans to build directly west of the downtown Civic Center. The arts center site at Montgomery Street and Oglethorpe Avenue is where a three-story private residence known as the Wetter House previously stood from about the mid-19th century to 1950. Noted for the ornamental iron railings that ran along the balconies circling the first and second floors, the house was torn down to make way for a used-car dealership and auto repairs.

The city decided not to conduct any further archaeological studies for the arts center project, since a previous survey was performed about 16 years ago when the site was being considered for the CAT transit center, according to city officials. While a full-scale excavation was not performed, an examination of a limited area on the site failed to locate any significant features and further study was not recommended, according to the survey report.

While it won’t be the same as archaeology, Shay said there are plans to investigate the site when the former parking lot’s concrete surface is torn up for the project.

With construction set to begin this summer, the arts center is among the millions of dollars worth of projects expected to soon break ground. In addition, developer Richard Kessler has announced plans to begin construction next month of an estimated $250 million hotel project along West River Street.

Without an ordinance in place, the revitalized building activity can mean the death of archaeological sites, Elliott said.

“When the source is destroyed, you don’t have that history anymore,” she said.

Recent Releases by the LAMAR Institute

May 25, 2016 - Leave a Response

The LAMAR Institute ( continues to produce important historical and archaeological reports on various subjects of interest.  The new additions for Spring 2016 include:

Report 172. Sherman’s March Begins: Battlefield Archaeology on Three Civil War Sites in Northwestern Georgia.

Click to access publication_172-redacted.pdf

–This report by Daniel T. Elliott details the background and search for three Civil War sites in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. This work was conducted as a Passport in Time project of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, assisted by the LAMAR Institute research team.

Report 202. The Martello Tower at Tybee Island, Georgia.

Click to access publication_202.pdf

–This report by Daniel T. Elliott provides historical background on a little known military feature that once stood on the north end of Georgia’s Tybee Island.

Report 208. Roland Steiner and Early Anthropology in Georgia.

Click to access publication_208.pdf

–This report by Daniel T. Elliott explores the early folklore and cultural anthropology contributions of fellow Georgian Roland Steiner.

AND more are on the way!



Documenting the Battle of Purysburg–a new documentary film available free to the public.

May 10, 2016 - Leave a Response

Documenting the Battle of Purysburg Film Release by LAMAR Institute

Savannah, May 10, 2016. The LAMAR Institute has made available to the public its latest documentary film on conflict archaeology in the lower Savannah River region. This film, entitled, Documenting the Battle of Purysburg, highlights the historical archaeology search for the lost Revolutionary War battlefield at Purysburg, South Carolina. The film explores the historical search for documents and records pertaining to the battle, the archaeological field search and discovery of the battlefield, and the laboratory analysis that help  to reconstruct an accurate portrayal of this little known but important Revolutionary War battle. The battle on April 29, 1779 pitted nearly 2,000 British troops, including the 71st Regiment, the Light Infantry and East Florida Ranger Indian guides, commanded by Colonel John Maitland against a few hundred Patriots from the 2nd and 5th South Carolina Continentals and the Charles Towne militia, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander McIntosh. The British soldiers, who had spend the preceding evening marching up to their necks in the Savannah River swamp, emerged from the Swamp at dawn to do battle. With their ammunition completely soaked the British resulted to a bayonet charge. Faced with overwhelming odds, the Patriots retreated and the British took the town. While the number of killed and wounded was relatively slight, this engagement helped delay the British in their surge to conquer Charleston. That attempt proved unsuccessful and the war in the south was prolonged for a year when the British finally took Charleston in May 1780. The archaeologists located the battlefield and defined several defensive works and through careful metal detector survey, Ground Penetrating Radar survey, GPS mapping and GIS manipulation were able to reconstruct the entire battlefield. This effort was funded by the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service and the LAMAR Institute. The film was created by Michael Jordan and Dan Kurtz of Cosmos Mariner Productions. Those wishing to watch and/or download it may do so by visiting the Reports section of LAMAR Institute’s website, ,  or by clicking . The release of the complete battlefield survey report by the LAMAR Institute is expected within a few months.

CSS Georgia Teacher’s Workshop 2016

April 29, 2016 - Leave a Response

Teacher Institute flier CEISMC

From STEM to Stern: CSS Georgia Shipwreck
Teacher’s Institute

Dive into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) as well as English Language Arts, and History/Social Studies in this exciting Teachers’ Institute focusing on the Civil War ironclad shipwreck sunk in 1864 in the Savannah River adjacent to Savannah and recovered in 2015 by underwater archaeologists. Use elements from the wreck, its history, and underwater archaeology to engage your students in learning state performance standards as well as Next Generation Science Standards. As a workshop attendee you will participate in a variety of hands-on activities that you can replicate in your classroom, have the opportunity to question underwater archaeologists following presentations, collect sonar data with underwater archaeologists in a boat over the wreck site, gather and interpret data, create your own lesson plans, and obtain resource materials for your classroom. The workshop is recommended for 4th-12th grade teachers and is open to a total of 20 teachers from Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties, Georgia and Jasper and Beaufort counties, South Carolina. The workshop will be held May 31-June 3, 2016, with the final presentation and luncheon day on Friday, July 29, 2016. Participants will earn 4 PLUs and receive a $400 stipend. Except for the field trip, the workshop will be held at Georgia Tech Savannah, 210 Technology Circle, Savannah, Georgia 31407. The workshop is funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Savannah District as part of the public outreach for its CSS Georgia recovery related to the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The workshop is hosted by Georgia Tech, Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) in partnership with the USACE. Space is limited. To register please go to: For questions contact: Rita Elliott at

April 5, 2016 - Leave a Response

Uncover the truth behind the legendary Vikings and their epic journey to the Americas.


A Chapter on Ebenezer Ceramics

March 27, 2016 - Leave a Response

Connections: Georgia in the World: The Seventh Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Georgia Museum of Art; 1st edition (February 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0915977923
ISBN-13: 978-0915977925
This volume includes the following papers delivered at the seventh Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts, held Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, 2014: “Revealing Georgia: Viewing the Cultural Landscape through Prints and Maps,” by Margaret Beck Pritchard; “Utilitarian Earthenware in the Ebenezer Settlement, Effingham County, Georgia,” by Daniel T. Elliott; “Worldly Goods for a Chosen People: The Material Culture of Savannah s Colonial Jewish Community,” by Daniel Kurt Ackermann; “Considerations of William Verelst s ‘The Common Council of Georgia Receiving the Indian Chiefs,’ 1734 36,” by Kathleen Staples; “Materiality in the Gullah Geechee Culture: The Kitchen in the Heart of the Story,” by Althea Sumpter; “Colonial South Carolina Indigo: Red, White, and Black Made Blue,” by Andrea Feeser; “Scarf and Dress Designs by Frankie Welch: Highlighting Georgia Through Her Americana,” by Ashley Callahan; “Georgia’s Textile Connections: Imports, Homespun and Industry,” by Madelyn Shaw; “Weaving History: The Yeoman, the Slave, the Coverlet,” by Susan Falls and Jessica R. Smith; “Capitalism and Revolution: A Staffordshire Mug and Its Anti-Monarchial Message,” by Lauren Word; “Sumptuous Goods: The McKinne-Whitehead-Rowland Collection at the Georgia Museum of Art,” by Julia N. Jackson; “Valley View: Reflecting on a Place, Its People, and Its Furnishings,” by Maryellen Higginbotham; “Mexican Silver in an Antebellum Georgia Household,” by Carolyn Shuler; “From London to Shanghai, 1780 1920: How Five Generations of Yonges and Brownes Brought Their Silver to Columbus, Georgia,” by Sandra Strother Hudson; and “Shopping from London to Naples for a Future Country Palace in Macon: William and Anne Tracy Johnston on the Grand Tour, 1851 1854,” by Jonathan H. Poston, as well as a foreword by museum director William Underwood Eiland and acknowledgments and a focus on a recent acqusition by Dale L. Couch, curator, Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts. Full-color illustrations throughout.

Pardon my potty mouth but…

March 13, 2016 - Leave a Response

Archibald Campbell and the Savannah River tour

February 19, 2016 - Leave a Response

Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Round Table and Corps of Discovery
Sponsored by SCAR and GARPA
New Ebenezer Retreat Center, Georgia
February 20-21, 2016
Schedule [as of 2-16-2016]

Saturday, February 20, 2016 – Round Table and Corps of Discovery

10:00 am to 11:50 am – indoors Roundtable presentations at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center Cafeteria. Start with Welcome and Self Introductions.

1. Kim Stacy – Facts & Myths of Light Artillery (or the Light Six pounder or Dummies)
2. Bob Davis – The Lost History of the People who lived in the Briar Creek area at the time of the Battle
3. Dan Johnson – Lachlan McIntosh’s Family in the Siege of Savannah
4. Conner Runyan – The Battle of Cedar Spring – July 12, 1780?
5. Leon Harris – The Virginia Continentals Size Rolls
11:55 am – break for lunch – New Ebenezer Retreat Center Cafeteria ($10 each) – names for lunch in the pot: Charles Baxley, David Reuwer, Steve Rauch, Greg Brooking, Mary Jane and Leon Harris, Dan Battle, Dan Elliott, Kim Stacy, Bob Davis, Conner Runyan, Dan Johnson, Rod Lenahan, Bob Thompson, Fritz and Jane Hamer, Ed & Mrs. Rigel, Sr., and John Allison – 19 SCAR thus far + 6 GARPA.

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – walking tour of the British fortifications, earthworks, the Old Augusta Road, cemetery, extant colonial era Jerusalem Lutheran Church, and colonial history of Ebenezer, Ga. with archaeologist Dan Elliott.
– Dan Elliott on the 1779 British invasion and capture of Purysburg – British troops – 71st Rgt. and Provincial Light Infantry – embark boats at Abercorn, Ga. and made a successful April 29, 1779 attack
– Charles Baxley on British Gen. James Patterson’s 1780 march to Charleston (camped at Ebenezer on March 6-9, 1780 and marched to Two Sisters over flooded causeway)

3:00 pm – carpool to site of British Redoubt #6 at Ebenezer Creek; tour old Augusta Road segment and earthworks on private property
– Steve Rauch – site of mass drownings of Freedmen following the XIV Corps of Sherman’s Army in December 1864.

6:30 pm – Saturday Evening – gather with your friends at a local restaurant (TBA) for informal “Dutch Treat” dinner and fellowship

Sunday, February 21, 2016 – Corps of Discovery – car-pooled tour following segments of the 18th c. Savannah to Augusta Road north – the route of British Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell’s invasion of the Georgia backcountry.

9:00 am – gather at New Ebenezer Retreat Center parking lot and car pool for trip to drive extant Old Augusta Road segments north towards Briar Creek
– At Ebenezer – Steve Rauch – British Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell’s plans and preparations for the March to Augusta (who, what, when, where, how, why). Include the larger British posting of forces at the various sites around Savannah – the military securing the Savannah area. Also the order of battle of the troops he takes with him and the various units.

Stop #1 – at site of the Two Sisters Ferry
– Steve Rauch on events on Campbell’s march towards Augusta –
– David Reuwer on Ga. Gov. John Adam Treutlen – colonial Effingham militia
– Effingham County militia
– Charles Baxley on Gen. Augustine Prevost’s April 30-May 1, 1779 invasion of SC
– Charles Baxley on British Gen. James Patterson’s 1780 march to Charleston (camped on March 9, 1780 and crossed river)

Stop #2 – at site of the Tuckasee King Ferry (bathroom)
– Steve Rauch on events on Campbell’s march towards Augusta –
– Dan Elliott on Mt. Pleasant and the Yuchi Indians
– Charles Baxley on British Gen. James Patterson’s 1780 march to Charleston (American Volunteers and British Legion infantry camped on March 10-11, 1780 and crossed river)

Stop #3 – at site of Hudson’s Ferry, main British post
– Steve Rauch on events on Campbell’s march towards Augusta – January 25, 1779
– Dan Elliott on the British Post at Hudson’s Ferry – redoubt and firing trenches
– Screven County militia
– July 27, 1781 – skirmish between Americans, led by Col. Isaac Shelby vs. Georgia Loyalists

11:30 am – Sunday buffet lunch at R & Ds Restaurant on US 301 near Sylvania, Ga. “Dutch Treat”

1:00 pm – Arrive at Briar Creek battlefield for tour with archaeologist Dan Battle

Stop #4 – Briar Creek at Brannon Bridge monuments
– American picket stations
– British approach from Paris Mill (now Millhaven)

Stop #5 – Miller-Freeman (burnt) Bridge
– Site features – bridge, fortified house and redan
– Skirmishes at this bridge on January 25, 1779 and January 26, 1779
– British positions south of the creek and Campbell’s pin & flank strategy – March 3, 1779
– 2 American camps
– American battle lines

Stop #6 – Main battlefield – battle action on March 3, 1779

Stop #7 – Colonial road north towards Augusta, new cut road to Savannah River and to American Army at Mathews (Cohens) Bluff, SC

4:00 pm – tour ends

Carr’s Fort video returns!

January 1, 2016 - Leave a Response

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION: 18th Century Conflict Archaeology in the Savannah River Watershed of Georgia and South Carolina.–with apologies to J.L.

October 12, 2015 - Leave a Response

Dan at Boston Public Library in a RESTRICTED AREA, December 2014

Dan at Boston Public Library in a RESTRICTED AREA, December 2014

From Connect Savannah, “Lecture: You Say You Want a Revolution
When: Tue., Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m.
This lecture, part of a series by the Coastal Heritage Society about the American Revolution, will examine the Battle of Savannah from an archaeological perspective.

The Savannah History Museum
303 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Savannah-Downtown
phone 912-651-6840

AND from DoSavannah:

Dan and Rita Elliott from the LAMAR Institute will present “You Say You Want a Revolution: 18th Century Conflict Archaeology in the Savannah River Watershed of Georgia and South Carolina,” which explores the Battle of Savannah from an archaeological perspective, along with other Revolutionary War battles in the area and the archaeology, and how they are all inter-related. The lecture takes place in the theater at 7 p.m., with refreshments served at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to all. Learn more at
Tuesday October 13, 2015 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Savannah History Museum Auditorium (303 MLK Jr. Blvd.)

And From

Revolutionary Perspectives 2015: DANIEL ELLIOTT & RITA ELLIOTT

On October 13th, DANIEL ELLIOTT & RITA ELLIOTT from the LAMAR Institute will explore the Battle of Savannah from an archaeological perspective! Lectures begin at Savannah History Museum at 7:00pm with a preceeding reception starting at 6:30pm.

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION: 18th Century Conflict Archaeology in the Savannah River Watershed of Georgia and South Carolina.

DANIEL ELLIOTT, M.A., R.P.A., has 38 years of experience in historical archaeology. He has served as president of the LAMAR Institute since 2000. Mr. Elliott is an expert on the archaeology and history of the Savannah River watershed having working throughout the region since 1979. His expertise in battlefield archaeology has developed since the late 1980s and he has explored battlefields and fortifications in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Puerto Rico, Saipan, South Carolina, the Virgin Islands, and Virginia. He has directed archaeological research projects on the Revolutionary War sites of Carr’s Fort, Fort Morris, Kettle Creek, New Ebenezer, and Sunbury, Georgia, and provided expertise on the study of the Battle of Brier Creek. He is currently finalizing a battlefield survey report on the Battle of Purysburg and Black Swamp, South Carolina, through a National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program grant. Mr. Elliott also directed multiple historical research projects throughout Ireland, Scotland, and England, as well as in archives and repositories throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.

RITA FOLSE ELLIOTT, M.A., R.P.A. is the Education Coordinator and a Research Associate with The LAMAR Institute. She earned an M.A. in Maritime History and Underwater Research from East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina. She is an archaeologist, exhibit designer, and former museum curator. She has 30 years of archaeological experience in 13 states, the Caribbean, three U.S. territories, and several countries. Ms. Elliott led crews in the archaeological discovery of the 1779 Savannah Battlefield. She authored over 80 monographs and articles, and served as a guest editor and reviewer. She has sat on committees for museum and archaeology organizations at the state, regional, and national level and is former Vice Chair of the Georgia National Register Review Board. Ms. Elliott was named an Honoree by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation/Georgia Commission on Women, and received the Joseph Caldwell Award for Georgia Archaeology, the Georgia Governor’s Award in the Humanities, and a life-time achievement award in archaeology education from the Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution.

This project is supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly.……

[Rita and I hope that you can make it to the lecture. We will post our presentation online at at a future date. Most of the archaeological work described in our lecture was funded by the National Park Service, American Battlefield Protection Program and Preserve America Program and the usual disclaimers apply. Thanks also our other supporters to Cypress Cultural Consultants, LLC, the City of Sylvania, the U.S. and Georgia Departments of Transportation, Coastal Heritage Society, Kettle Creek Battlefield Association, Plum Creek Foundation, The LAMAR Institute, Southeastern Archeological Services, Bruker Corporation and many private individuals for making it all possible.]

Rita at work, December 2014

Rita at work, December 2014

Archaeological recovery of CSS Georgia rolls along

August 17, 2015 - Leave a Response

CLICK BELOW to read Russ Bynum’s article from August 16, 2015:–Confederate%20Ironclad/id-0e0ba37f9a2847978c1b7d53636f3572

Battle of Purysburg News Story

August 5, 2015 - Leave a Response

Click here to read today’s news story in the Jasper Sun Times:

LAMAR Institute Receives Award for Excellence

June 4, 2015 - One Response




Coastal Museums Association

P. O. Box 11362 Savannah, Georgia 31412

Contact:     Sophia Sineath, Vice-President

912-651-2125, ext. 152 or

Coastal Museums Association Presents Award for Excellence to LAMAR Institute

Savannah, GA – June 3rd, 2015. The Coastal Museums Association (CMA) held its second annual CMA Awards of Excellence on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 to recognize the exceptional educational and cultural programming delivered by local museums and cultural institutions during the 2014 calendar year. The event was held at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm.

“The Coastal Museums Association Board was overwhelmed by the quality and diversity of award applicants this year,” said Sophia Sineath, Vice President of the Coastal Museum Association. “It is exciting for us to recognize the excellent work being done by the historical and cultural institutions that make the Georgia and South Carolina Lowcountry a wonderful place to live and visit.”

The award winners by category are:

Excellence in Education & Interpretation to LAMAR Institute for archaeological excavations at the Isaiah Davenport House Museum. LAMAR Institute staff took advantage of Davenport House Museum’s need to remain open during excavations to educate the general public on archaeological methods and the importance of urban archaeology in reconstructing the past through excavation.

Excellence in Public History to Telfair Museums for “Slavery and Freedom in Savannah,” a national publication, museum exhibition, and three-day city symposium. Building on 20 years of collaborative work by museum professionals, academic historians, and historical archaeologists, “Slavery and Freedom in Savannah” invited people to see a more complete story of Savannah through the lives and histories of non-whites and non-elites.

Excellence in Outreach & Collaboration to City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives for City Hall Student Art Exhibits. Prompted by Mayor Edna Jackson’s request to bring more local art into City Hall and a desire to reach out and engage local youth, the Research Library and Municipal Archives organized art competitions for local high school and college students that resulted in three long term/permanent exhibits in City Hall.

Excellence in Exhibition to Annie Williams for the Bamboo Artifacts Collection at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm. Annie Williams worked diligently to properly identify and describe objects in the Bamboo Artifacts Collection in completion of her graduate certificate in public history from Georgia Southern University. Williams is currently developing an online exhibit to engage the public in her research and findings.

Two Individuals of Excellence awards were given for service excellence above-and-beyond to Christy Crisp at the Georgia Historical Society and Lacy Brooks at the City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives.

The Coastal Museum Association (CMA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization founded in 1984. CMA is comprised of museums and cultural sites from Savannah and the surrounding coastal area. CMA is dedicated to serving its members by providing a forum for networking, discussing issues impacting the museum community, exchanging ideas and experiences, and facilitating professional development. CMA meets from September through June on the first Wednesdays of every month. Museums, cultural institutions, and individuals are encouraged to join our community.

CMA 2015 Award Winners

CMA 2015 Award Winners

Photographed from left to right: Daniel Elliott and Rita Elliott, LAMAR Institute; Christy Crisp, Georgia Historical Society; Tania Sammons, Telfair Museums; Luciana Spracher and Lacy Brooks, City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives; Annie Williams, Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm.

Civil War ironclad’s ‘treasures’ to be shown, discussed in free lecture June 2

May 22, 2015 - Leave a Response

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The long-buried life of the Confederate ironclad CSS Georgia is being resurrected and will be discussed in a free lecture given by two of the lead archaeologists preserving the ship’s artifacts. Speakers will bring recently recovered artifacts to the free event June 2 at 7 p.m., at the auditorium of the Savannah History Museum, 303 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., in Savannah, Georgia.

Underwater archaeologist Stephen James, M.A., with Panamerican Consultants is a principal investigator on the project. He and underwater archaeologist Gordon Watts, Ph.D., of Tidewater Atlantic Research, co-principal investigator, will share the discoveries about the CSS Georgia in a free public presentation. Topics will include the unique ship’s construction, its funding, and life aboard the civil war gunboat. Attendees will also learn how divers are documenting and recovering the vessel, the laboratory work involved, and what happens next in this complex project.

The Savannah History Museum will be open at no charge from 6-7 p.m. and light refreshments will be served in the auditorium lobby before the lecture. The lecture is sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District and is free of charge and open to the public. The lecture and museum entry is hosted by Coastal Heritage Society.

This lecture was previously announced for an earlier date. The date of the lecture has changed.

Quick Facts:
• Deepening the Savannah River channel for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project would damage the vessel; therefore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing archaeological excavation of the CSS Georgia to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act.
• Divers have been excavating the 150-year-old wreck since January and are preparing in June to recover cannons and large portions of casemates.
• This lecture marks the first of eight public outreach efforts focused on the CSS Georgia.
Follow the project and discover additional outreach opportunities at

Nice letter from the Davenport House Museum in Savannah

May 7, 2015 - Leave a Response

Click here to read a Nice Letter from the folks at the Davenport House Museum. The LAMAR Institute recently completed a historical archaeology project for the Davenport House Museum and the Historic Savannah Foundation. The results of that effort are detailed in LAMAR Institute Publication Series, Report Number 195, which is available for free download online at this link.  We hope you enjoy, 195. Deep, Dirty Secrets: 2014 Archaeological Excavations at the Isaiah Davenport House, Savannah, Georgia. By Rita Folse Elliott, 2015 (29.4 MB). And, Volume 2 [includes GPR survey report and specialized analysis reports, various authors], 2015 (7.2MB).

This research effort, hopefully, will serve as a model for other house museums in Savannah. Remember Savannah has a Serious Underground!

Push back Kinder-Morgan’s Palmetto Pipeline project!

May 7, 2015 - 2 Responses
People of Earth, particularly southeast Georgia:

Ponder the Palmetto Pipeline. Remember the last time a bunch of Yankees came and cut a swath through Georgia? It did not turn out so pretty. Déjà vu Kinder Morgan (KM) and its Infernal Palmetto Pipeline—a proposed conduit for a witch’s brew of volatile and toxic liquid petroleum products that will completely cross our delicate coastal marshes and ravage wetlands and swamp ecotones along two thirds of the Savannah River valley. Does anyone out there like the taste of Georgia shrimp, and do you prefer it with or without the petrochemical flavorings? And what about drinking water along the Georgia coast? My tap water already tastes funny from all the folks flushing upstream, so perhaps the Devonian fern flavoring will give it the needed twist. And if there does happen to be a big flood of oil on our coast, perhaps these same pipes can be retrofitted to bring us fresh drinking water from Lake Ontario or Nome, Alaska. Has KM considered that fallback possibility, it could be quite lucrative? Folks in California could use a water pipeline too. Is it too late for Kinder Morgan to declare a do-over? Can the people of the State of Georgia control their own destiny? Has our beloved Republican Governor switched political sides, or is this some carefully crafted maneuver to create a smokescreen for his DOT underlings? We shall see. Imagine if we had a 300 mile long by 50 feet wide solar farm instead, has anyone done a cost benefit comparison? Maybe we could tint the panels so that all the woodstorks are not blinded by the reflection. And maybe we could raise it up about 10 feet so all the quadrupeds could crawl or walk underneath without bonking their collective heads. Or is there no good solution to our energy problems? This week my wife and I attended the public meeting on the proposed pipeline and KMs request for Eminent Domain authority. We were greatly impressed by the wide mix of Georgians who had rallied to oppose the pipeline. We may not stop this confounded pipeline, but at least we can make it wiggle a little, sort of like General Sherman made Georgia Howl. Stand up Georgia. Stand up to the largest pipeline company on the planet that wants to shove this stuff down our throats. Push back the Palmetto Pipeline!

Public meeting on the Palmetto Pipeline.

Public meeting on the Palmetto Pipeline.

Hastily submitted,

Daniel T. Elliott,

Citizen of Rincon, Effingham County, Georgia and fan of Coastal Georgia and the Savannah, Ogeechee, Altamaha and Satilla River watersheds.

Revolutionary War Battle of Purysburg, South Carolina Discovered!

February 20, 2015 - Leave a Response

The LAMAR Institute
For release February 20, 2015

Revolutionary War Battle of Purysburg, South Carolina Discovered!

LAMAR Institute archaeologist Joel Jones holds a brass medallion that was recently unearthed at the Purysburg Revolutionary War Battlefield in Jasper County, South Carolina.

LAMAR Institute archaeologist Joel Jones holds a brass medallion that was recently unearthed at the Purysburg Revolutionary War Battlefield in Jasper County, South Carolina.

While George Washington and the Patriots were busy in the northern colonies, the American Revolution made its way south. Archeologists with the LAMAR Institute discovered extensive evidence of the Battle of Purysburg, South Carolina. The April 29, 1779 battle occurred when British Light Infantry troops and two battalions of the 71st Scottish Highlander Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Maitland, crossed the Savannah River from Abercorn, Georgia and invaded the colonial town of Purysburg. Thousands of additional British troops under command of Major General Augustin Prevost followed the next day. About 220 South Carolina Continental soldiers camping inside and around town manned defensive works, but were no match for the greater number of British troops. The Patriots, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander McIntosh, abandoned their posts at Purysburg and, after joining with Brigadier General William Moultrie’s 1,000 militia troops from nearby Black Swamp, retreated towards Charleston.
During five weeks of extensive field work, LAMAR Institute archeologists discovered and mapped the locations of more than 100 musket balls, and several canister shot and explosive shells across the landscape indicating where fighting took place. They also discovered Patriot soldiers’ camps at Purysburg. Archaeologists documented known fortification trenches and also identified and recorded several new fortifications from the Revolutionary battle. The project is being funded by the National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program. Archaeologists are now analyzing the artifacts and map data to compile a report that will be available to the public.

Quick Facts:
 This is a two-year project with various phases of research, field work, lab work, and report writing.
 Purysburg, South Carolina became an important location in the American Revolution following the 1778 British shift to the southern theater of the war in Georgia and South Carolina.
 Following the 1778 British taking of Savannah, Georgia, American Major General Benjamin Lincoln established the Southern army headquarters at Purysburg to hold the Savannah River as the front line.
 The Patriots established its secondary headquarters at Black Swamp, about 15 miles north of Purysburg.
 For the next several months, thousands of Patriot troops in the area held a stand-off with thousands of their British counterparts located across the Savannah River at New Ebenezer, Georgia.
 In 1779 British Major General Augustin Prevost’s troops attacked the Patriots in a battle at Purysburg.
 Prevost then marched his troops to Charleston, spurring Lincoln’s troops to change course from a march to Augusta to a march to Charleston.
 The 33-year-old LAMAR Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission to promote archaeological research and public education in the southeastern United States.
 The LAMAR Institute and its associates have been awarded and/or involved in eight National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program grants since 2001.

For more information or to schedule an interview with archaeologists, please contact Dan Elliott at or (706) 341.7796. For more information about The LAMAR Institute visit

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

Archaeologists want to recover lost story of Purrysburg’s Revolutionary War history – Veterans – Stripes

January 10, 2015 - Leave a Response

Archaeologists want to recover lost story of Purrysburg's Revolutionary War history – Veterans – Stripes.

Article by Zach Murdock, 1-9-2015. same article also published in “The State”, “Beaufort Gazette” and “News Packet”.

Purysburg Battlefield Survey

January 8, 2015 - Leave a Response

The LAMAR Institute
For release Wednesday, January 8, 2015

Public invited to archaeology presentation about ongoing search for sites of Revolutionary War Battles of Purysburg & Black Swamp, South Carolina

LAMAR Institute archaeologists will offer information about this project to the public and invite participants to share information as well. The presentation will include information gathered from historical documents during a recent research trip to Washington, D.C., New York, and Boston. The presentation will examine how archaeologists are conducting the survey on the colonial town of Purysburg, South Carolina in search of key elements of the Revolutionary War battle there in 1779. Researchers will apply systematic battlefield archaeology techniques to discover elements of the town and its battlefield. Archaeologists are focused on the American Patriot headquarters at Purysburg and Black Swamp and the soldiers garrisoned there.

A second presentation at this time by the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust will detail that organization’s work to identify historic earthworks, roads, and other landscapes in Jasper and Charleston counties. The presentations will be at the Bluffton Branch Library (843) 255-6490, 120 Palmetto Way, Bluffton, South Carolina, 29910 on January 17, 2015, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Quick Facts:

• This is a two-year project with various phases of research, field work, lab work, and report writing.
• Purysburg, South Carolina became an important location in the American Revolution following the 1778 British shift to the southern theater of the war in Georgia and South Carolina.
• Following the British taking of Savannah, Georgia in 1778, American Major General Benjamin Lincoln established his headquarters at Purysburg to regroup Patriot forces and hold the Savannah River as the front line.
• The Patriots established its secondary headquarters at Black Swamp, north of Purysburg.
• For the next several months, thousands of Patriot troops in the area held a stand-off with thousands of their British counterparts located across the Savannah River at New Ebenezer, Georgia.
• Prior to the British attempt to take Charleston, South Carolina, British Major General Augustin Prevost’s troops engaged the Patriots in a brief battle at Purysburg.
• Patriot troops commanded by General Moultrie retreated to Charleston to fortify that town in advance of Prevost’s expected attack there.
• The 32-year-old LAMAR Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission to promote archaeological research and public education in the southeastern United States.
• The LAMAR Institute and its associates have been awarded and/or involved in eight NPS American Battlefield Protection Program grants since 2001.

For more information or to schedule an interview with archaeologists, please contact Dan Elliott at or (706) 341.7796. For more information about The LAMAR Institute visit

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior. The Bluffton Branch Library is not a sponsor of this program.

Mister Soapstone 2014 in review

January 4, 2015 - Leave a Response

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Please delete so as to not clog up your inbox and hard drive!  –the Management.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Consumers of the World Unite and Support a Great Cause!

December 3, 2014 - Leave a Response

If you shop online at AmazonSmile, you can pick your favorite charity and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to it. I chose The LAMAR Institute, Inc. –certainly a most worthy charity! So consume, consume, consume! And maybe next year we can buy some arrowheads those arms and legs that they so desperately lack!

Lamar Institute, Inc.

Harvest Lecture – December – Archaeology at the Davenport House

November 21, 2014 - Leave a Response

Davenport House Museum- a Property of Historic Savannah Foundation

DATE: Monday, December 8 at 6:30 p.m.

PROGRAM: Panel discussion – Archaeology at the Davenport House: Findings and the Big Picture

PANELISTS: Daniel Elliott, Rita Elliott, Justin Gunther and more

ADMISSION: Free to the public but reservations are requested. 912.236.8097

LOCATION: Kennedy Pharmacy, 323 E. Broughton Street (Corner of Broughton and Habersham Streets), Savannah, GA

Good turnout for the Davenport House Archaeology Discussion, December 8, 2014

Good turnout for the Davenport House Archaeology Discussion, December 8, 2014

Dynamic Duo? Smash! Bang! Pow! %#&@!

November 11, 2014 - Leave a Response

Rita's Lifetime Achievement Award in Archaeo-Education

Rita’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Archaeo-Education

Dan's Lifetime Achievement Award in Archaeology

Dan’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Archaeology

Rita Folse Elliott and Daniel Elliott both were recognized by the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution at Its Revolutionary War Roundtable held in Washington, Georgia on Saturday, November 8, 2014. Rita was given an award for her lifetime of service as an Archaeo-Educator and Dan was given an award for a lifetime of service as an Archaeologist. Both were bestowed with this rank by the presentation of elegant golden gorgets with the appropriate engraving. Truly this is a great honor for two of The LAMAR Institute’s research team!

Federal Road and Lower Creek Path in Georgia

October 29, 2014 - Leave a Response

From the Georgia Trust’s website:


The Federal Road in Georgia developed from the established Lower Creek Trading Path, a trading path between Lower Creek Nation and Upper Creek Nation towns. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson and his Indian Agent to the Creeks, Benjamin Hawkins, negotiated official use of the trail as a Federal Road and it became a conduit for white settlement in southwest Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. In 1811, President Madison ordered the widening of the road into a well-marked thoroughfare capable of supporting U.S. troop movements. The completion of the road and the increase in white settlement was a major factor leading to the Creek War (1813-1814) between the Lower Creek Nation, which adopted the Euro-American agricultural lifestyle, and the Upper Creek Nation, which held to native traditions. Today, known portions of the Federal Road serve as roadbeds of several modern highways that utilize the same established route through Georgia.

In recent years, archaeologists and historians in Alabama have made a concerted effort to document and preserve the history of the Federal Road in that state. There has been no similarly well-coordinated effort in Georgia. Remaining traces of the Federal Road, particularly where it is unmapped, are susceptible to loss through development, agriculture and modern road and bridge construction. The Places in Peril program helps build greater awareness of this highly significant early transportation corridor.

Recent Activity by The LAMAR Institute, Incorporated

October 21, 2014 - One Response

Past and Current Projects

Oconee Valley Project

The Oconee Valley Project was initiated by Lamar Institute associates Mark Williams and the late Gary Shapiro in the early 1980s with the intent to locate, map, and gather baseline information on all aboriginal mound sites in the Oconee River valley of central Georgia. The project was an offshoot of the University of Georgia’s Lake Oconee salvage project. The project includes archaeological field research at the  Copeland  site (near Greensboro, Georgia ), the  King Bee site (near Eatonton, Georgia),  Little River  mounds (near Madison, Georgia), the  Sawyer  site (near Dublin, Georgia),  Scull Shoals mounds (near Greensboro, Georgia), Shinholser mounds (near Milledgeville, Georgia), and  Shoulderbone mounds (near Sparta, Georgia). The project efforts have since spread to incorporate adjacent watersheds (Savannah River and Ocmulgee River) and include survey, mapping, and test excavation of other aboriginal sites in northern Georgia including: Tate Mound near Elberton, Georgia; Bullard’s Landing Mounds, Browns Mount, and Lamar Mound (near Macon, Georgia); Fortson Mound (near Washington, Georgia); and Ramona’s Mound (near Abbeville, South Carolina). The project also incorporates many surface surveys, which consisted of a systematic search for all archaeological sites within vast timber clearcuts and agricultural fields. Several recent examples of the latter are available on the LAMAR Institute’s website, including reports on the Lindsey, Margaret Ann Bell and Lucky Last sites by Williams and others.  Together these excavation and survey data help to reconstruct the patterns of prehistoric settlement in central Georgia on a scale never before witnessed. Most of these excavations and surveys are documented in the Lamar Institute Report Series.

Battlefield Archaeology

Over the past decade LAMAR Institute researchers have applied battlefield archaeology research techniques to numerous battlefields in the southeastern United States. Beginning in 2001 with a study of Revolutionary War Ebenezer, Georgia, the team explored other Revolutionary War engagements in Kettle Creek, Savannah and Sunbury, Georgia. Colonial military conflict at Sansavilla Bluff was also on their plate. Next came Georgia’s Civil War battlefields at Lovejoy, Monteith Swamp, Dug Gap and Rocky Face Ridge. The team completed a study of portions of the 1814-1815 battle of New Orleans in Chalmette and Meraux, Louisiana. Most recently, the LAMAR Institute’s battlefield research team discovered the lost Revolutionary War battle of Captain Robert Carr’s Fort in Wilkes County, Georgia. Other recently completed LAMAR Institute reports that pertain to fortifications in Georgia include reports on Forts Hollingsworth, Jackson (5 Fathom Hole below Savannah) and Mathews. Reports for the other studies are presently in the LAMAR Institute online report library for free public download.

The next installment in the LAMAR Institute’s battlefield archaeology series is at Purysburg, South Carolina. Historical research for that study of a Revolutionary War headquarters complex and battlefield already is underway thanks to a large research grant from the National Park Service, American Battlefield Protection Program. Fieldwork on the battlefield is scheduled to begin on January 12, 2015. A final report should be available from the LAMAR Institute’s website by early 2016.
Lower Cherokee Towns

Salvage excavations and site stabilization at the Lower Cherokee town of Tamassee, Oconee County, South Carolina were conducted by the Lamar Institute in 1984 in conjunction with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA), University of South Carolina. The published results of this work are available through the Research Manuscript Series, SCIAA, Columbia, S.C. For information about obtaining digital version sof the Tamassee report, contact Jonathan Leader (S.C. State Archaeologist) at SCIAA.

More recently, Mark Williams has conducted survey and test excavations at other Lower Cherokee towns in northeastern Georgia. These include Estatoe in Stephens County.
Lost City Survey

In 1987 the LAMAR Institute launched a research initiative, known as ” Lost City Survey”  , which focused on previously unstudied colonial period settlements in Georgia and South Carolina. The centerpiece of this work is New Ebenezer, Georgia, which was a town settled by Pietist Lutherans from the Alps. Survey and Excavations of the colonial town of   New Ebenezer, Effingham County, Georgia are ongoing. Survey and/or excavations have been conducted on several other colonial towns in coastal Georgia, including: Abercorn,    Bethany, Mount Pleasant, Old Ebenezer, and Vernonburg . The LAMAR Institute, working in cooperation with the Diachronic Research Foundation, Inc., Columbia, S.C., surveyed the site of   Jamestown, South Carolina, which was another “dead town” that was founded on the lower Santee River by French Huguenots in 1706. Most of the Lamar Institute’s “Lost City” research is documented in the Lamar Institute Report Series. Many of these towns were discussed more than a century ago in the book, Dead Towns of Georgia, by Charles C. Jones, Jr.   The Lost Cities research expanded to include Sunbury in Liberty County and San Savilla in Wayne County, Georgia, which are discussed below. Sunbury is one of C.C. Jones Jr.’s “Dead Towns”, which is now showing signs of new life as a coastal development. Other lost settlements that were the subject of earlier research by LAMAR Institute include  Petersburg, Georgia and New Bordeaux and Purysburg, South Carolina. As noted in the Battlefield Archaeology section above, LAMAR Institute researchers have embarked on a new study of Purysburg, which should be completed by 2016. 

Plantation Archaeology

Plantation archaeology is an essential part of southeastern historical archaeology. Two adjacent plantations in the Goose Creek section of South Carolina serve to illustrate this aspect of archaeology. Crowfield and Broomhall were two 18th century Goose Creek rice plantations in Berkeley County, South Carolina. In 1987 Garrow & Associates, Inc.conducted archaeological survey of both plantations for Westvaco. The work was underfunded and fast paced. Concurrent work at Broomhall, directed by Steven Byrne was never fully documented. After completing the survey report, Garrow & Associates was contracted to prepare a National Register of Historic Places nomination for Crowfield Plantation. This document was completed and submitted to Westvaco, who promptly filed it away and it was not submitted. That ended the Garrow & associates chapter of Crowfield and Broomhall research. Major portions of these two important and unique 18th century treasures were subsequently trashed by the development project.  The mantle was taken up by several other researchers, including: Robert S. Webb Associates,  the Chicora Foundation, and Dargan Associates (landscape architects). Several more studies ensued. A summary of work done in a short LAMAR Institute report, see Crowfield and Broomhall.

The reports by Robert S. Webb Associates were produced in very limited quantity, despite their substance and signficiant findings. The Chicora reports on Crowfield and Broomhall plantations are out of print, except for one short study of the gardens at Crowfield as a .pdf file at this website: crowfieldlandscape_chicora102 The other reports by Chicora Foundation are available through Interlibrary Loan. Ms. Barbara Orsolits, M.H.P. created this webpage about Crowfield, as part of a larger study of historical landscape archaeology in the South Carolina low country:
Advances on the Internet have provided easy access to additional information on Crowfield, Broomhall, and the Goose Creek plantations. For example, Leiding’s 1921 Historic Houses of South Carolina is available from as a .pdf. It includes a discussion of Crowfield. historic_houses_of_South_Carolina

LAMAR Institute researchers cooperated with the Diachronic Research Foundation in a study of  John DelaHowe’s Lethe Farm plantation in McCormick County, South Carolina. The report of that work was produced by the Diachronic Research Foundation. A discussion of the findings also is presented in Carl Steen’s chapter in the University of Alabama Press book, Another’s Country, edited by J.W. Joseph and M. Zierden.

The LAMAR Institute’s endeavors in Plantation archaeology in Georgia include studies at Glen Mary plantation in rural Hancock County, Georgia and the North End plantation and South End Plantation on Ossabaw Island, Chatham County, Georgia.  Survey level data for many other Georgia plantations may be found in various LAMAR Institute reports.

Pre-Civil War Forts

Our continuing research initiative, Georgia Pre-Civil War Forts Survey, has made good progress in the past several years. The goal of the initiative is to inventory, locate, and assess military sites in Georgia built prior to 1861. The LAMAR Institute’s inventory of potential military sites in Georgia, dating prior to 1861, presently stands at 328 and growing. Can you name them all?

In 1995 the LAMAR Institute was contracted by Fort Stewart Military Reservation to conduct historical research and excavations at Fort Argyle in Bryan County, Georgia. Fort Argyle was a small colonial fort on the Ogeechee River, which lasted from 1734 to 1758.

In 2001 the LAMAR Institute delved into the Revolutionary War archaeological sites in coastal Georgia. These projects, which are part of the institute’s “Pre-Civil War Forts Initiative”, seek to identify, protect, and interpret important fort and battlefield sites in this region of Georgia. This project was boosted with the generous support of the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP). The LAMAR Institute was awarded research grants from the ABPP in 2001 to explore New Ebenezer’s role as a headquarters for the American Patriot and British armies who were engaged in the Southern campaigns in 1778 to 1783. The “Ebenezer Revolutionary War Headquarters” project identified many important fortifications, defensive trenches, campsites, graves, and other archaeological resources. Historical research was a vital component in this research effort. That work, which was conducted from January 2002 to December 2002, resulted in: detailed topographic mapping of the town and associated earthworks, ground penetrating radar survey of selected parts of town, and extensive historical research. The product is a greatly enriched understanding of Revolutionary War history in Georgia that should provide great research context for this period of Georgia history. The Ebenezer report is available online at  Ebenezer Headquarters . The LAMAR Institute furthered the goals of the Forts Initiative in 2003 when they were awarded three additional research grants. These included ABPP grants for Sunbury Battlefield and the Fort Mount Venture/Sansavilla Bluff Massacre, and a small grant from the Plum Creek Foundation for Fort Mount Venture.

In February 2003, researchers with the LAMAR Institute conducted a preliminary archaeological reconnaissance of Sansavilla Bluff on the Altamaha River in Wayne County,Georgia. This property, which is currently owned by the Plum Creek Timber Company, contains a concentration of early historic and prehistoric sites that have been too long neglected. Three new archaeological sites were recorded and several previously recorded sites were revisited. The finds include the village of Williamsburg (circa 1790-1810) and the probable site of Fort Mount Venture (Mary and John Musgrove’s 1730s trading post. Fort Mount Venture was attacked, burned, and its inhabitants nearly all killed by Spanish-allied Yamassee Indians in 1742. This site, which was allegedly located in the 1960s by University of Georgia archaeologists (but not officially reported or recorded), promises to be one of the most significant sites in colonial Georgia. In March 2003 the LAMAR Institute conducted a reconnaissance survey of a 4 acre tract at Hudson’s Ferry in Screven County, Georgia. Hudson’s Ferry was a major British post in 1779 and is a place rich in history. The Sunbury report is available at  Sunbury  . Related information on nearby Fort Morris is also available online from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The Sansavilla Bluff report is available at Sansavilla Bluff. The Hudson’s Ferry report is available at  Hudson’s Ferry . LAMAR Institute research on the fortifications of Camden County, Georgia were fast-forwarded when a planned residential development and marina threatened the late 18th and early 19th century U.S. Army post at Point Peter. Subsequent historical and archaeological research at Point Peter was undertaken by the firm of Brockington & Associates. The LAMAR Institute’s preliminary introduction to the Camden County forts is available in the online report at  Point Peter.

The recent endeavor of the LAMAR Institute’s Fort’s Initiative are the excavations at Fort Hawkins in Macon, Georgia. Fort Hawkins was a major United States Army headquarters post from 1806 to 1821. It also served as the primary “factory” in the southern Indian trade. LAMAR Institute researchers are studying the site through historical documents and excavation and a detailed summary of this active project is presented at our News page and at the website: LAMAR Institute’s involvement at Fort Hawkins began in August, 2005 and continues to the present. In 2014, the City of Macon and the Fort Hawkins Commission unveiled its Fort Hawkins Visitor’s Center.

Most recently the LAMAR Institute conducted field research at three eighteenth century fortifications in northern Georgia. These include GPR sampling at Forts Mathews (Oconee County) and Hollingsworth (Banks County) and an in-depth battlefield survey at Captain Robert Carr’s Fort (and surrounding cultural landscape) in Wilkes County.

Skeletons in the Closet 

Another research focus, the Skeletons in the Closet Initiative, also reports significant progress. The goal of this initiative is to root out the history of early Georgia archaeology and its archaeologists and introduce them to the people of the 3rd Millenium.

Mark Williams has made significant strides by creating a biographical file on Georgia archaeologists. Williams also has been ferreting out the facts on the Irene Mound excavations of the 1930s. The reanalysis of the Irene Mound collections, funded by the National Park Service and implemented by the University of Georgia’s Laboratory of Archaeology, is but one example of the LAMAR Institute’s initiative.
Since 1981 Daniel Elliott has been in dogged pursuit of one of Georgia’s first archaeologists, Roland Steiner. The initial trail led him to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. where a massive relic collection was discovered. The Smithsonian Institution’s Steiner collection once numbered more than 78,000 items. Most of it was acquired by the museum following a Resolution passed in the House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress. Although the precise number of remaining artifacts with Steiner’s provenance is unavailable, the Smithsonian’s curatorial staff estimated it to be about 35,000 items.

Following up on clues found in his Smithsonian Institution research, Dan Elliott conducted a reconnaissance inspection of the 19th century Georgian Roland A. Steiner collection at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago in April 1999 and in February 2002 he examined the files pertaining to Georgia collections at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), New York. The Field Museum collection contains about 2,000 artifacts from Georgia. Nearly all of these were collected by Roland Steiner. The Field Museum originally purchased more than 15,000 artifacts from his collection. Obviously the collection was greatly reduced over the century that followed.

About another 20,000 artifacts from Roland Steiner’s collection wound up at the AMNH, thanks to the generosity of George Foster Peabody. Steiner was nearing the end of his life and needed to sell the collection. Peabody, who was a native Georgian, purchased the collection for the museum. Dan Elliott, accompanied by Rita Elliott spent one week studying the Georgia collections at the AMNH through a visiting scholar grant from the museum. Like Steiner’s other collection, the AMNH collection has dwindled through the years as many items from the collection were exchanged with other museums, discarded, or otherwise deaccessioned. The AMNH collection also includes major collections by Charles C. Jones, Jr., Roland Steiner, George Foster Peabody, Robert Wauchope and others.  To learn more about Roland Steiner and his exploits, click  here for the first installment of the Roland Steiner Project, which includes introductory background information and transcribed correspondence and other paper documents relating to Steiner and his works.

While researching Roland Steiner’s collection at the Smithsonian Institution, Dan Elliott stumbled across a lesser known figure in Georgia Archaeology–William McGlashan. McGlashan worked as a civil engineer for the Georgia Railroad and was responsible for re-routing a section of track in the Ogeechee River watershed in the late 1830s or early 1840s. During that work, McGlashan personally collected, or had the railroad workers under his charge bring to him, curious Native American relics that were unearthed by the construction. At the time of Elliott’s “discovery” of the McGlashan horde these artifacts were being decontaminated for asbestos. It seems that many of McGlashan’s artifacts (as well as a portion of Steiner’s artifacts) had been stored in the attic of the Smithsonian “Castle”. These particular relics were not available for research at that time, although Elliott gathered some documentary background on McGlashan and his collecting activity for future reference. That material was published as a LIPS report. Physical examination of materials collected by McGlashan, which remain in curation at the Smithsonian Institution Suitland, Maryland facility, is on the LAMAR Institute’s wish list.

Another important collection in the Suitland, Maryland facility of the Smithsonian Institute is Preston Holder’s collection from his WPA Glynn County, Georgia Excavation Project. Preston Holder (born September 10, 1907 and died June 3, 1980) had a long career in anthropology as a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, although his stint in Georgia archaeology was very brief and sadly under-reported. Dan Elliott also gathered documentary information about Holder’s excavations, which were contained in the Antonio Waring papers in Suitland. Elliott briefly perused the artifact drawers that contained many artifacts from Holder’s excavations at the Airport site, which at that time were still curated at the National Museum of Natural History on the Mall in Washington, DC. These items have since been transferred to the Suitland facility.

Kevin Kiernan also took notice of Preston Holder’s unreported coastal Georgia WPA archaeology project, which he summarized as a chapter entitled, “Preston Holder’s WPA Excavations in Glynn and Chatham Counties, Georgia, 1936-1938”, in a recent publication, entitled: Shovel Ready: Archaeology and Roosevelt’s New Deal for America, edited by Bernard K. Means (The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 2013). See also a short summary of Kiernan’s study on Holder in the November 2011, The SAA Archaeological Record, which is available online. Holder’s actual artifact collection from numerous sites on St. Simons Island, Sea Island and the adjacent mainland remain to be analyzed, however, and it continues to hold great secrets about the Terminal Archaic and Woodland period on Georgia’s barrier islands. The recent rattling his skeletons in Holder’s closet has attracted the attention of several scholars on coastal Georgia archaeology.

Some of the Skeletons in the Closet are literally in the closet. Mark Williams and Dan Elliott began the Bettye Broyles Repatriation Project (another chapter in the Skeletons in the Closet Initiative) in the Spring, 2000. Bettye is an archaeologist who has made many contributions to our understanding of prehistory and history in the eastern U.S. She also has excellent artistic skills and these skills were sought out by many southeastern archaeologists. Williams and Elliott drove to Bettye’s house near Chattanooga and had a nice visit before attacking a stash of cardboard boxes in her hillside garage. These boxes contained artifacts from a number of Swift Creek sites in Georgia, as well as a few stray boxes from Cahokia and elsewhere.  Broyles had obtained the materials in the early 1960s and her SEAC Bulletin on Swift Creek design motifs was based on these materials.  The collection includes a 1/2 pick-up truckload of sherds from famous sites such as: Fairchild’s Landing, Halloca Creek, Kolomoki, Mandeville, Milamo, and Swift Creek.  Ms. Broyles gave the materials to us for safekeeping and we immediately transferred the collection to the Laboratory of Archaeology at the University of Georgia, Athens.  Bags and boxes that were in tatters were transferred into new bags and carefully relabeled by Williams’ student workers. Many sherds in this collection are exquisite examples of Swift Creek art and are good candidates for a museum exhibit. Obviously, the ownership of the material is an issue that needs to be worked out. If the rightful owners of the materials request them back and can demonstrate that the material will be properly curated this time, then the LAMAR Institute most likely will be willing to repatriate them.

Ms. Broyles also graciously allowed the LAMAR Institute team to photocopy hundreds of Swift Creek design tracings that she had compiled. She intends for the original drawings to be donated to the National Anthropological Archives (NAA), American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in the future. The vast majority of these designs are unpublished and we look forward to reproducing them in an upcoming Swift Creek “Pattern” Book. Time did not allow us to complete the photocopying and hundreds of tracings of sherds from the Kolomoki site remain to be copied. Broyles promised to complete the job for us, but many months have passed now and we probably should make a second trip to her house soon.

Ms. Broyles also has a collection of 8-track sound recordings of nearly all Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC) meetings that she attended in the early years. She plans to donate these priceless tapes to the NAA as well. Although her mind is quite clear, age is creeping up on Bettye and hopefully, she will have an opportunity to organize her papers. Since our conversations with Ms. Broyles were “off the record” she imparted many great stories about Southeastern archaeologists to the two of us, which we will treasure always.  Ms. Broyles also demonstrated her tedious, time-consuming, conservative techniques for reconstructing pottery designs, which was fascinating.
[NOTE:  Bettye Jeane Broyles, born on August 16, 1928, left this world on March 27, 2011.]
Among the many interesting collections from Georgia, which are housed at the curation facility in Suitland, Maryland is one from the Greenwood Mound (or Dillard Mound) in Rabun County.  The Greenwood Mound is located near the headwaters of the Little Tennessee River. An obscure archaeologist named William Colburn conducted excavations at Greenwood Mound in the 1930s, which produced one short journal article describing the site. The Greenwood Mound collection at the Smithsonian was briefly reconnoitered and Elliott provides a transcription of Colburn’s field report with additional comments by Elliott regarding their excavated context in a LIPS Report.

Also, recent advances in the digital records and holdings in the Smithsonian Institution Research Information Search (SIRIS) database at the Smithsonian Institution has alerted us to many new avenues for research on Georgia’s early archaeology. Ultimately, we hope to make the Skeletons in the Closet speak. Be sure to check out the recent reprint of Clarence Bloomfield Moore’s classic volume on Georgia archaeology, which also contains a lengthy introduction by Lewis Larson, at The University of Alabama Press. Moore’s original monograph is also available in .pdf format by clicking here, and here. And more information on Georgia’s early archaeologist is available from  Fernbank Museum.

Southwestern Georgia Studies 

Kolomoki, located in the uplands of Early County, Georgia, is a long misunderstood Woodland mound center.  Excavations in the 1960s at Kolomoki by William Sears and students with the University of Georgia, Department of Anthropology, resulted in a series of excavation reports on the site.  Shortly before his death, however, Sears recognized his erroneous interpretation of the site, which he revealed in his famous American Antiquity article. Sears’ confession, plus the results of the LAMAR Institute’s 1993 Swift Creek conference and subsequent publication, set the stage for a reexamination of the Kolomoki site and its role in Woodland society. Tom Pluckhahn reports that great progress is being made at Kolomoki.  Portions of Tom’s dissertation work at Kolomoki were funded by the LAMAR Institute.  The Kolomoki Mound group is an extremely important archaeological site in Early County, Georgia.  Pluckhahn is a Research Associate of the LAMAR Institute.  One important aspect of Pluckhahn’s research was a review of previous work conducted at this important Woodland period mound complex. His fieldwork explored many new parts of the mound center and resulted in an innovative interpretation of the site. Dr. Pluckhan recently accepted a teaching position in Oklahoma, although we expect his interest in the archaeology of Georgia and the Southeast to continue to flourish. Pluckhan’s dissertation research  was recently published by the University of Alabama Press. The LAMAR Institute is proud to have supported, in small part, the Kolomoki Mounds Archaeological Project.

Another research initiative, the Flint River Basin Archaeological Survey, evolved from LAMAR Institute’s archaeological survey research in southwestern Georgia for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division. Reconnaissance level survey and relic collector interviews yielded almost 400 previously unrecorded sites in 14 counties of southwestern Georgia. Most of these were located in the Flint River watershed. The LAMAR Institute conducted an archaeological reconnaissance survey of 14 counties in southwestern Georgia, under contract with the Historic Preservation Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  The counties under study included Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, and Worth. The reconnaissance resulted in a substantial increase in the known universe of archaeological sites in this region of Georgia. Before the survey slightly more than 1,200 sites were recorded in these 14 counties and after the survey was done, more than 1,500 sites were added to the inventory. Also, a preliminary survey of relic collectors and their collections (relevant to these 14 counties) was completed. The Flint River Basin Archaeological Survey (FRBAS), which was launched in July 2004, expanded the study to include 42 counties in the Flint River watershed. The full report is available at FRBAS Report.

Golden Isles  

The most recent research initiative by the LAMAR Institute is the Golden Isles Initiative. This research is part of a recent “rediscovery” of the wealth of historic period archaeological sites contained on Georgia’s barrier islands. LAMAR Institute researchers teamed up with the Ossabaw Island Foundaiton and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in a study of the North End Plantation on Ossabaw Island. This research was funded in part by a grant from the National Park Service’s “Save America’s Treasures ” program, as well as generous funds from the Robert Woodruff Foundation and other donors. Two studies were conducted at this plantation site in early 2005 and another was conducted in early 2006. The reports of the 2005-2007 research are available at  North End Plantation (1) and North End Plantation (2).

LAMAR Institute researchers have also been busy at Jekyll, St. Catherines, St. Simons, Tybee Islands, and Cumberland Islands. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys, survey, test excavations, and historical research are aspects of this exciting research. At Jekyll Island, researchers assisted archaeologists with  Southern Research Historic Preservation Consultants, Inc. and the Jekyll Island Authority in their study of the Captain William Horton plantation–a colonial plantation and tabby ruins.

On St. Simons Island LAMAR Institute researchers, assisted by Georgia Department of Natural Resources archaeologist Jason Burns, conducted a shovel test survey and GPR survey on property of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society near the St. Simons Lighthouse. LAMAR Institute researchers also used GPR to examine a portion of Button Gwinnett’s plantation home on St. Catherines Island. LAMAR Institute researchers excavated beneath the Assistant Keeper’s house at Tybee Lighthouse. The GPR survey report for the Horton house was produced as an appendix in Southern Research’s technical report. The Tybee report is available online as an Adobe .pdf file at Tybee Report . The reports on the work at St. Catherines Island is pending. LAMAR Institute archaeologists assisted archaeologist Carolyn Rock on the northern end of Cumberland Island in a search of the remains of colonial Fort St. Andrews. Rock had covered the area with systematic shovel tests, which had tentatively located the site. The team used GPR survey technology to map portions of the suspected fort site, which is detailed in our Fort St. Andrews GPR report. Subsequent test excavations by the National Park Service confirmed the remains of the fort and data recovery excavations to salvage threatened portions of the site were conducted in the Spring of 2009. LAMAR Institute researchers, Dan Battle, Dan Elliott and Rita Elliott served as volunteers in the 2009 project. Dan and Rita Elliott also volunteered for service at Fort St. Andrews during the NPS, SEAC’s 2014 excavation season. We look forward to NPS archaeologist Meredith Hardy’s report on these important excavations at one of colonial Georgia’s most important coastal defenses.
Hands Across the Water

And speaking of oceans, water is no barrier for archaeological knowledge as demonstrated by two LAMAR Institute projects. In September 2007 Dan Elliott and Rita Elliott conducted test excavations at the Freetown Cemetery on Grand Bahama Island. This project was divided into two phases. The primary goal was to “ground truth” the results from an earlier Ground Penetrating Radar survey of the Freetown cemetery and its surroundings that was conducted in July, 2007 by Dean Goodman and Kent Schneider.  This phase consisted of creating a detailed topographic map of the site and all above-ground cultural features and excavation of nine 2 m by 1 m test units on a variety of features and non-feature areas.  The second phase of the project was a brief reconnaissance of the Freetown settlement, which is an abandoned settlement located west of the cemetery. This village, which is thought to date to the 1830s and lasting into the 1960s, consists of a series of ruins and archaeological deposits now vegetated in jungle.The results of this research effort were documented in a Freetown Cemetery report.

In September, 2008 Dan Elliott and Rita Elliott taught a Ground Penetrating Radar demonstration class in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands last week. Eighteen people attended the class, including representatives of the CNMI Historic Preservation Office, other CNMI agencies, utilities, and a private consulting firm. Special thanks to Roy Sablan, Jr. and his staff for making our stay very pleasant. Highlights included field surveys at three historic site locations on the island: a suspected Carolinian cemetery, the old Japanese Jail, and the old Japanese Hospital.

In addition, we took our GPR equipment to Kalabera Cave on Saturday (our day off!) and did a survey of two areas. We were assisted by archaeologists Marilyn Swift, Randy Harper, and Mike Fleming, all of whom (Swift and Harper Archaeological Resource Consultants) are currently involved in an Environmental Assessment of the cave and its surroundings. This represents the first research/educational effort by the LAMAR Institute in the Pacific arena.

Recent collaboration by the LAMAR Institute and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga at the Scarlett Mound site on Ossabaw Island, Georgia is summarized in a LIPS Report.  This curious earth mound is located on the northern end of this barrier island and this report details the first archaeology work done there. The study included topographic mappings, shovel testing, excavation of one test unit and GPR survey. Even after these preliminary studies, however, the site holds many mysteries.

Educational Outreach 

Since its founding the LAMAR Institute has maintained a strong involvement in developing ways to mesh archaeology with K-12 education curricula. By trial and error our educational coordinators have learned that this is optimally achieved by educating teachers. The LAMAR Institute has co-sponsored teachers workshops on archaeology with the University of Georgia, Department of Anthropology; USDA Forest Service, Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest; the University of South Carolina’s Savannah River Archaeological Research Project, South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, Aiken; Emory University, Decatur; and the Old Governor’s Mansion, Georgia College, Milledgeville. In recent years, these courses have been led by Rita Elliott and included lectures by numerous regional scholars, videos, hands-on activities, selected readings, and field trips to archaeological sites and an archaeological laboratory.

The LAMAR Institute has played an active role in the planning and development of Georgia Archaeology Week and Georgia Archaeology Month. For the 1996 Georgia Archaeology Week, the LAMAR Institute was a major sponsor of the event.  New Ebenezer served as the focal point of the festivities, as highlighted in the poster, shown below, which was distributed to more than 2,000 schools and libraries state-wide.

Rita Folse Elliott was responsible for the development of innovative teaching materials for the 2003 Georgia Archaeology Month. A booklet for educations, authored by Ms. Elliott, was distributed along with copies of a video to schools and libraries throughout Georgia. This project was funded by the Georgia Ports Authority and the work accomplished by Ms. Elliott and others with the private firm of Southern Research Historic Preservation Consultants, Inc., Ellerslie, Georgia. The Society for Georgia Archaeology is the main sponsor Georgia Archaeology Month and Ms. Elliott has continued to develop the archaeological curriculum for Georgia Archaeology Month in the years since 2003. Since 1996, the LAMAR Institute has continued to serve as one sponsor of this event whenever funds permit.

In 2000, LAMAR Institute educators became involved in Fort Frederica National Monument’s “Colonial Classroom” education project.  This unique educational program, led by Ellen Provenzano, offers 4th Graders and their teachers in the Glynn County school system an opportunity for real archaeological experience. More information on this wonderful project can be found at Colonial Classroom and at Shiner’s Trench .

Ellijay Middle School Project 

At the Ellijay Middle School in Gilmer County, Georgia, excavations directed by archaeologists Rita Elliott and Dean Wood and Ellijay Middle School teachers Cindy Zager and Linda Smith revealed a multi-component aboriginal settlement on the school’s athletic field.  Three seasons of excavation were conducted by the Ellijay team. The students’ archaeological field experience was preceded by weeks of classroom study. The teachers, who were recent graduates of a Michael C. Carlos Museum (Emory University)/LAMAR Institute teacher’s seminar, developed creative ways to incorporate archaeological concepts and techniques in the requisite curriculum. The students participated in excavation, artifact cleaning and preliminary sorting analysis. The first two seasons were spent in the school’s athletic field but the final season included a brief visit to a nearby aboriginal site. Reports of these excavations will be available to the public through the Lamar Institute publication series. Meanwhile check out this older paper, which highlights the Ellijay Project, as presented by Rita Elliott to the Society for Georgia Archaeology.

Material Culture Studies

LAMAR Institute researchers have a variety of interests in various material culture types. Gunflints provide one example of an artifact type that can be explored on various dimensions. More information on LAMAR Institute’s gunflint studies may be found by following this link:  GUNFLINTS.

Have You Seen This Battlefield?

October 19, 2014 - One Response

Caledonia Inspects the Brier Creek Battlefield, Photo by Rob Pavey, Augusta Chronicle, 2014.

Caledonia Inspects the Brier Creek Battlefield, Photo by Rob Pavey, Augusta Chronicle, 2014.

The next time you stare at your milk carton, imagine that that missing child is really a lost Revolutionary War battlefield. Then log onto Kickstarter and support my newest cause–The Brier Creek Story… (link)

Mystery on Tybee Island

October 13, 2014 - Leave a Response

From the Savannah Morning News:

Looking for Pearls:
Spanish mariners leave mystery on Tybee

By Ben Coggins, Savannah Morning News, October 10, 2014

Do you remember the Uncle Remus story about Brer Rabbit and his misadventures with the silent Tar Baby? One after another of the aggravated Brer Rabbit’s hands and feet got hopelessly stuck until he tricked Brer Fox into getting him loose.
Since 2006, Tybee Island resident Frank Drudi has been captivated by a different sort of Tar Baby — one that is 500 years old and from Trinidad.
When Frank’s neighbor was digging a swimming pool, Frank said he could put the sand from the hole onto his empty lot. When the sand was spread, he found three heavy rough discs, clearly man-made. On the edge of each was an impressed seal that Frank recognized as a Spanish Cross.
That started the research wheels turning. What were these artifacts, dug up barely a hundred yards from the Tybee lighthouse? And what clues did the four letters S-O-C-G in the quadrants around the cross provide?
Daniel Elliott of the Lamar Institute performed an exhaustive archaeological survey of Frank’s lot, now described as the Drudi tract. He used ground-penetrating radar and systematic sampling to look at Frank’s property, but nothing else turned up.
Frank discovered that the discs were made of tar that Spanish mariners of the 16th century used to seal leaks in their ships’ hulls. Tar that came from a huge pitch lake at La Brea, Trinidad, discovered by Columbus in 1498.
From poring over history books and talking to experts on early Spanish exploration of the Southeast coast, Frank has arrived at a persuasive theory of when and how the tar objects came to Tybee.
In 1521, two navigators sailing together out of the Caribbean, under contract to different aristocrats, both claimed land surrounding Winyah Sound near Georgetown, S.C. Claiming land for the crown and the sponsor involved performing a standard ceremonial ritual and recording the event by ship’s notary.
A legal dispute followed over who had rights to explore and settle the vast coastal area. The king of Spain, Charles of Ghent, decided in favor of Luis Vasquez de Ayllon, whose captain had performed the ritual hours ahead of the other claimant.
Having the authority to explore this barely-charted coast, in 1525 Ayllon sent Pedro de Quejo to do further reconnaissance and double-check the desirability of Winyah Bay for settlement. Taking no chances on establishing claims this time, Ayllon instructed Quejo to place stone markers with the king’s name and the date.
Not a single one of those stone markers has been found. But according to Quejo’s logs, his first stop was at latitude 32.0 degrees.
Sound familiar? That’s Tybee.
This means that on May 3, 1525, the first Europeans to set foot on Georgia soil did it on Tybee sand. And the river that Quejo named the Rio de la Cruz on that date is the Savannah River.
Frank figures that, when no stones were around to erect as markers, Quejo formed markers of his own. A composite of sand, grass, and the caulking tar he had on board. And what more natural point for the claim than the location that was later chosen in Oglethorpe’s day for the lighthouse?
In July 1526, Ayllon set sail from Hispaniola with six ships and 600 settlers straight to Winyah Bay. But the mother ship foundered on a sand bar before landing. Many supplies were lost, the area was not as suitable for agriculture as described and there were too few Native Americans with whom to work and trade. So, Ayllon improvised a Plan B.
His expedition sailed south searching for a better location. On Sept. 29, 1526, they established the settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape. Somewhere along the Georgia coast, maybe on Sapelo Sound, and named perhaps for the Guale Indians of the area. Ayllon himself died of illness there. The colony lasted about six weeks before the survivors sailed home, and its site has never been found.
Maybe Frank Drudi’s markers hold a clue. Frank has looked long and hard at these tar babies, trying to coax more answers from them. But like Brer Rabbit, now he’s a bit stuck.
When he heard about the West Chatham Middle School students who were studying early Spanish missions along the Georgia coast, he decided to see if their young minds could bring new eyes and ideas to answer some of his questions. Why haven’t more of these tar objects been discovered elsewhere? What do the letters S-O-C-G mean?
Frank deputized me to carry the tar markers, almost 60 pounds each, like they were Faberge eggs, to show to the students. It was a good move.
The students and their teachers, Mrs. Jacquelin Harden and Mr. Josh Wonders, were very interested to see these old relics that are, so far, one-of-a-kind.
And they offered fresh insights. Samantha Jenkins suggested searching for references to “rough asphalt cylinders” in explorers’ narratives and that the letters may be initials for a church. Francheska Gonzalez suggested that there are more and larger markers nearby and always on the southern shores of their rivers.
Several of the students speak Spanish, so they may discover Spanish-language journals, diaries or records that refer to the markers or the voyages. Regan Gayadeen said she has family in Trinidad and would get them involved to look for similar tar objects in museums and collections around La Brea.
Diamond Folston and Sade Baker had experience making charcoal rubbings of cemetery headstones, so they took rubbings of the Spanish crosses to study more closely. Jack Steuwe commented on the markers’ plasticity, and Nicholas Bergeron on their symbolism.
Some students were intrigued whether the seals stamped in the markers were made ahead of time in Hispaniola or on board the ships as situations changed. All three of the Drudi objects have the same imprint, but in other locations might different letters be used? And maybe we should search for the wooden stampers that were carved to impress the seals — like searching for the branding iron and not the brand.
Could the markers have been moved at all by Indians? Are the letters really S-O-C-G, or are they D-O-C-G? Does C-G stand for Carlos de Gante (King Charles of Ghent) as Frank assumes or for something else? Could the G stand for Gualdape? The S for San or Santa?
Students Cameron Myers, John Winters, and John Tyner lingered to look at the markers from all sides. They pointed out the wood impressions on the undersides and holes that might have been for lifting them. They suggested X-raying the markers to see if they contained medals or coins put in by the seamen who fabricated them.
They suggested that 3-D scans be made of the markers, so that they could be 3-D printed and examined by other researchers. And they suggested that, with high definition, perhaps the wood grain and grass imprints might help tell the story.
Tybee DPW Superintendent Danny Carpenter is equally fascinated. He has found hundreds of artifacts from the Civil War, the Fort Screven era, and even from the lost Martello Tower.
He says, “These tar markers are a Tybee mystery, like the Tybee Bomb. But I think they are far more significant.”
He and Frank are hopeful that the West Chatham students make a breakthrough, crack this Da Vinci code and get the tar babies to reveal their secrets.


For more background information on Frank Drudi’s discovery, read and learn at:

Click to access publication_127.pdf

127. Archaeological Reconnaissance at the Drudi Tract, Tybee Island, Chatham County, Georgia. [With Supplement: Identity of the Drudi Objects, 2009]. By Daniel T. Elliott, 2008. (2.6 MB).

Coastal Georgia in the War of 1812

October 8, 2014 - Leave a Response

Follow this link to view a pdf version of last night’s lecture graphics for my talk on “Coastal Georgia in the War of 1812”:

Click to access coastalgeorgiawar1812-chs10-7-14.pdf

Words to follow someday…


News from Kettle Creek

October 8, 2014 - Leave a Response

Kettle Creek Battlefield to develop conceptual plan

(Flash! From The News-Reporter, October 9, 2014)

The Kettle Creek Battlefield Association, Inc. (KCBA) recently signed an agreement for development of a conceptual plan for a Kettle Creek Battlefield Park. The plan would be developed by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia (CVIOG), and was signed by Walker Chewning, president of KCBA and Jere Morehead, president of the university.

[dan says, “Great! The more the merrier.”]

AND this story from October 2nd:

Harley makes donation to help preserve Kettle Creek Battlefield

Archaeology Exhibit Opens at Magnolia Springs/Camp Lawton Site in Jenkins County, Georgia USA

October 7, 2014 - Leave a Response

PRESS ITEM, October 7, 2014

MILLEN, Ga. (AP) — Civil War artifacts from a former prison are set to go on display at Magnolia Springs State Park near Millen.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Magnolia Springs History Center is set for Tuesday. The agency says Camp Lawton was built to relieve overcrowding at Andersonville Prison.

Archaeologists and students from Georgia Southern University have been excavating the site since 2009. They’ve found items such as a pipe, coins, a ring, buttons, buckles and stockade wall posts. Some of them will be displayed in the new museum and some will stay at the university.

Magnolia Springs State Park is five miles north of Millen. In addition to the museum, visitors can tour original Confederate earthworks, as well as the springs and boardwalk.

[Elliott notes: I look forward to seeing the museum exhibit. The LAMAR Institute was happy to be part of these discoveries!]

Fort Hawkins Visitor’s Center, Et Cetera

October 1, 2014 - Leave a Response

Hello World!

Here is a link to a short film produced by the City of Macon for the GRAND OPENING of the Fort Hawkins Visitor’s Center in 2014. Goto:

See if you can find Rita in this movie. Hint: I am not sure whether or not she is in there, but look carefully!

ALSO, hence the Et Cetera in the title of this blogpost, I encourage the curious to visit the LAMAR Institute’s Reports webpage to see new additions to the online library. AND more LIPS [LAMAR Institute Publication Series] Reports are coming very soon!

For reports, visit:

Or if that address is too complicated, goto: and then click on Reports.

The pictures shown below are of the visitor’s center during its construction, along with the latest plan map of Fort Hawkins, which will appear in an upcoming book on Ocmulgee Archaeology by the University of Georgia Press (not sure when exactly). It is an edited volume of papers, by Daniel Bigman, PhD., and my contribution on Fort Hawkins forms one of the chapters. I hope it falls within my price range (and yours)!FortHawkinsDecember2013- (16) FortHawkinsDecember2013- (1) Forthawkinsvisitorscenter-WoodyMarshallMaconTelegraph2-10-14 FortHawkins2014forBigman

Your buddy,

Dan aka “tinky winky”

Pretty Dead Thing

September 25, 2014 - Leave a Response

Fire ants devour a recently deceased scarlett king snake at Rocquemore plantation.

Fire ants devour a recently deceased scarlett king snake at Rocquemore plantation.

SOLD- a Cool Plantation in Talbot County, Georgia

September 5, 2014 - 2 Responses

Various views

Various views

Weathering the Storm

Bad, bad storm coming from the South. Not to worry!

Functioning Kitchen

Rita’s World


1850 Land Grant for Land Lot 56, District 17, Talbot County, which is the northern portion of the James Parker plantation.


Rocquemore view during a blizzard from the pasture facing northeast.

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Rocquemore on Labor Day 2014.

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Archaeologists are consumed with time and I have various wacko theories about time travel. Here I have positioned two 19th century matching mirrors in order to create a portal for time travel. Please use with caution as these were purchased at auction from an estate sale of a Talbot County town home where a double murder/suicide transpired. If that creeps you out, I will remove them prior to the sale, otherwise they go with the place. Every old house need a place to escape to another century.

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So for about 5 years I wondered what variety of bush this was, then I learned it was a pomegranite. It has another crop of one this year.


Not the Nazca lines, but these flowers are trying to tell us something.


LAMAR Institute brain center from 2000-2005.

Rocquemore Jan 2002

This picture is for silly, sappy people who like old houses and Currier & Ives prints. Go figure.


Rocquemore during an unusual blizzard.

wish you were here

Do I throw like a girl?


Commissary/smokehouse at Rocquemore during Mike Aderhold’s fabulous renovation.


Kitchen at Rocquemore.


I think this picture was posted twice. Our living room with the mystery patriarch and matriarch. This couple never lived in this house, except as portraits. They were away for about 9 years and are happy to be back now.

on a walk

We’re off to see the wizard.


Brrrrr! Griffins lllikkkee warm weather.


Ebenezer in the snow at Rocquemore.


Despite the Blizzard, Rita builds a snowman on the back of our trusty dog Ebenezer.


Just grab a seat.


Master builder Michael Aderhold installs the dormer (view of Talbot and Marion County in distance).

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Landscape view at Rocquemore showing ceremonial firepit, Ford tractor with bushhog and badmitton court/clothesline.

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Farm livin is the life form me! My brother Tom preppin the lower forty or less.

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Damsel not in distress, but looking slightly miffed and tired.

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A little family history.

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Should guests happen by, our guest room.

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Rita’s upstairs craft nook. You must be under 5 feet to ride this ride.

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Naughty, bad praying mantis, bad, bad. Somewhere I have 8 hours of videotape of this, wonder what that would fetch on Ebay?


Living room without any humans.


Replacing the plywood floor in the hallway where a repulsive bathroom once stood.


Our Indonesian monkeywood bed in the master bedroom. NEVER buy anything on Ebay after 11PM at night.


Baby gets a new roof.


Dormer under construction.


Quiet on the Set! Our house was the stage set for one a clip in one episode of a Georgia Public Television production. That show, where we talk about Ebenezer, is still airing!!


Upstairs under construction. Sorry for the Dirt Daubers and Bats who formerly called this home.


Stairway to heaven (via our upstairs). construction in progress, watch for falling objects!


Stain glass hand crafted by Debra Wells. The photo does NOT do it justice.


The Jones family plays ball at Rocquemore.


Rita and Virginia Pierce, co-conspirators at Rocquemore.


Doot, doot, doot lookin out my backdoor!


Dinner on the back porch.


Our deck after a summer shower.


Rocquemore in Springtime.

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Upstairs shower, with tile seat.

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Upstairs bedroom (this is our antique folding couch, originally from DeKalb County, Georgia.

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Hurricane of September 2004, aftermath.

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Keeping watch.

Gate to Rockmore after the September 2004 Hurricane.

Abandon All Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here (actually the griffins, Percy and Penny, are really quite friendly once you get to know them).

Western sunset from Rocquemore front yard.

After the September 2004 Hurricane.

After the Storm--September 2004

Somewhere Under the Rainbow.

Archaeologist at Work 2004. Please do not feed.

Home office wired for internet and quite cozy!

Georgia State Seal 1850

Official Wax Seal, State of Georgia, on 1850 Land Grant for Land Lot 87, 17th District, Talbot County. Document also bears signature of Georgia Governor George Towns.

Our home in Box Springs, Talbot County, Georgia, USA, World, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe Number 1 is now advertised for sale. If I had the money, I would certainly buy it! Check out the pictures at our real estate broker’s website:

Astute historians (and our closest friends) will recognize this as the Parker-Wall/Jenkins-Richardson-Mortgage Company-Mortgage Company-Elliott House, or “Rocquemore”. Now you can add your name to the list, or simply stick with the short name we gave it. There you can rock out and rock more or simply chill and watch the [here follows a partial list of aminules we observed while living there]:

Armadillo (9 banded)
Bald Eagle
Barred Owl
Black Rat Snake
Box Turtle
Canadian Goose (eh?)
Corn Snake
Dog (Canis familiaris)
Garter snake
Green Tree Frog

Indigo Bunting
King Snake

Lunar Moth

Monarch Butterfly


Painted Bunting
Pileated Woodpecker

Praying Mantis
Walking Stick

Red Tailed Hawk
Timber Rattlesnake
Scarlett Kingsnake
White Tailed Deer
Wood Stork

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Zinjanthropus [no not really, but I needed to end with a Z animal]

Here is a short history of the place:

The Parker-Jenkins/Wall-Richardson-Mortgage Company-Elliott House
Historical Overview

By Daniel T. Elliott and Rita F. Elliott, 2014

It is likely that James Parker, Sr. was living on this property (land Lot 87) by 1830. Parker, a North Carolinian then living in Screven County, Georgia, followed the 1827 land rush of white settlers into the region that would be later designated as Talbot County. An ancient Indian trail (Moore’s New Road) ran several hundred yards north of the Parker home [near the modern red fire hydrant on Richardson Road]. This route was traveled by the Cusseta Creek Indians living in scattered settlements known as Upatoi Town. The eastern limits of that Native American town extended more than a mile east and five miles southeast of the Parker home. When relations between the State of Georgia and the Creek Nation soured in 1825, the Upatoi Creeks were pressured to move west to Alabama and Oklahoma.

A courthouse fire in Muscogee County destroyed records that would demonstrate how and when Parker acquired Land Lot 87, but U.S. Census records suggest that by 1835 Parker had completed his impressive Greek revival home. Pleased with his workmanship, Parker carved his initials into exterior clapboard. Those faint letters, “JA R P” are still visible on the northwestern corner of the house.

By 1850, the plantation had expanded to cover just over 300 acres, with the addition of Land Lot 86. It is likely that his son, John Lewis Parker was running the plantation by this time. There were four members of the Parker family here, as well as several boarders, a farm hand, and approximately ten African Americans who were enslaved workers.

In April 1865, a Union Cavalry Corps of 17,000 horsemen commanded by Major General James Harrison Wilson blazed a path from Selma, Alabama to Macon, Georgia. That raid left Columbus’ industry in ashes, as well as the bustling town of Geneva (several miles east of the Parker property). The route Wilson’s raiders took led them directly past the Box Springs community and the Parker plantation, which was spared the torch. The effects of the Civil War were devastating to the Parker family economically. The once enslaved labor force, including Henry Parker and his family, may have remained in the area, possibly working as farm hands for the Parker landowners. John Lewis Parker, son of landowner James and Eda Parker continued as a planter in Talbot County until his death in 1899.

Sometime after 1880, ownership of the Parker plantation passed from the Parker family to Rufus Hampton Jenkins and his wife, Martha A. Pate Jenkins Wall. Rufus died in 1898. Sometime between 1900 and 1910 Martha married John Solomon Wall. By 1928, Martha Wall had moved to Columbus, Georgia. At that time she deeded 80 acres of Land Lot 86 and all of Land Lot 87 to her son, Roy H. Jenkins.

Judge Roy Jenkins owned the property from 1928 until 1944 when it was sold to J.W. Lavender and P.W. Richardson, Jr. Mr. Phillip W. Richardson, Jr. was the postmaster at Box Springs and Juniper, Georgia. The Richardson family consisted of P.W. Jr., his wife Emma Hall Richardson and sons P.W. III, and Eugene. The Richardsons installed dropped ceilings in three rooms, and added an indoor toilet at the end of the central hall. Following her husband’s death, Emma Richardson lived in the house until her own death in 1993. The dwelling and about 10 acres surrounding it were inherited by P.W. Richardson, III. The following year, the house and four acres were sold by P.W. III to his son Terry Stuart Richardson. Terry used the dwelling as collateral in a business venture that failed forcing the Richardson’s to lose the home.

The property was repossessed in 1997 and sold at public auction to a mortgage company. The James Parker home was purchased by Daniel Thornton Elliott and Rita Folse Elliott in 1998, who are the current owners. From 1998-2004, the Elliotts made numerous improvements, striving for rehabilitation/sensitive restoration to the home. This included removing the dropped fiberboard ceilings throughout the house; removing the bathroom at the end of the hall; and upgrading the kitchen with cabinets, tile, and modern conveniences. The had a bank of closets and drawers constructed in the new downstairs bathroom/dressing room, and added more than 500 square feet of built-in bookcases in the hall and library/bedroom. Whenever possible, construction was done without damaging the historical fabric of the house, and installed around historic moldings.

The Elliotts enlisted renowned Columbus, Georgia architect Sia Etemadi who designed a second story room and bathroom, with dormer, stairs, and landings. This design again took the historic nature of the house into consideration and is not visible from the front view of the home. Master builder Michael Aderhold undertook construction of the second story, in addition to other upgrades throughout the house. The Elliotts also constructed a large deck on the rear of the house, the addition of three HVAC systems, the installation of a new steel roof and attic insulation, the additional wiring of the electrical system, and renovation of the dilapidated commissary and smokehouse into a rustic guest/bunkhouse.

In spite of the various owners and occupants of the Parker Home, it retains its breathtaking historical character and understated elegance. Hand-hewn adze marks, 24 inch wide planks, heart pine timbers, tall windows, 12 foot high ceilings and Greek Revival design elements grace this unique structure. The house and plantation are featured in two Talbot County histories by Jordan (1971) and Davidson (1983). The Parker home has been cherished by four families over the past 179 years and becomes an increasingly historical and unique property through time.

-The End-

For more information on the history of the Parker plantation, check out Report Number 83 at:

Thornton Family

August 28, 2014 - Leave a Response


Thornton siblings in Oklahoma. Thomas P. Thornton is second from right.

LAMAR Institute Awarded $87600 National Park Service 2014 Grant

July 23, 2014 - Leave a Response

Modern aerial view of Purysburg, South Carolina

Modern aerial view of Purysburg, South Carolina


The LAMAR Institute has been awarded a research grant from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program to document the Purysburg (S.C.) Revolutionary War battlefield and American headquarters complex. To learn more:

Abby Does Austin SAA 2014

April 24, 2014 - Leave a Response

Guess Who Won a 2014 Award from the Society for American Archaeology for Excellence in Public Education? Hmmmmmm???? Abby the Archaeobus!!!!! YIPPEE!!! Abby Rocks! (I have known her since she was a baby….parked in our driveway refusing to crank)

Don’t believe me? Here it is in the SAA’s own words:

“Abby the ArchaeoBus is a mobile archaeological classroom that has reached thousands of educators, students, and families since it was created in 2009 by the Society for Georgia Archaeology (SGA) and its volunteers. It is a creative and innovative means to foster public understanding of archaeology and appreciation for site stewardship. It provides flexible, informal programs for large public events and formal classroom resources emphasizing standards-based analytical skills.”

“In 2013, New South Associates staff and Georgia State Anthropology graduate students, guided by the SGA, served as ArchaeoBus educator—targeting schools, libraries, museums, and events in metropolitan Atlanta and reaching 6,000 youngsters, many in economically challenged school districts. As a “magic school bus” full of archaeology fun and knowledge; a collaborative partnership among the avocational, academic, business, and CRM communities; an opportunity for public archaeology training of college students; and in the educational experience it provides to visitors, it deserves the SAA’s Excellence in Public Archaeology award.”

I would add a few names to the list of cudos, such as Tom Gresham, James Eiseman, John Robertson, Ellen Provenzano (Mrs. P), Betsy Shirk, Catherine Long, Carolyn Rock, Lain Graham, the generous folks at Best Buy, Georgia Transmission Company and the Georgia National Fair, and, not least but most, Rita Folse Elliott (her foster mother). Way to go guys!
I left out numerous others, but hey, this is my blog!

Efforts underway to preserve Revolutionary War battlefield | The Augusta Chronicle

April 13, 2014 - Leave a Response

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.”

Archaeology Job in British Columbia

April 8, 2014 - Leave a Response

Great job opportunity as a Senior Archaeologist with Golder Associates, Inc. in Burnaby, B.C. If I were a younger man… Details at:

Good Luck!

WJTV News Channel 12 – UMC Expansion Hits Dead End After Unmarked Graves Were Found

February 13, 2014 - Leave a Response

WJTV News Channel 12 – UMC Expansion Hits Dead End After Unmarked Graves Were Found.

Thesis on Brier Creek

February 11, 2014 - Leave a Response

Link to free download of an online M.A. thesis on the long term impact of the battle of Brier Creek in the American Revolution by William Henry, Georgia Southern University, 2012. GOTO:


February 9, 2014 - Leave a Response

Why are you reading my blog?

Kettle Creek battle site expands with 60-acre purchase

January 22, 2014 - Leave a Response

Great News from Wilkes County!

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

Archaeology is Happening in Georgia!

January 20, 2014 - Leave a Response

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.


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

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


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

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

Gators in Brier Creek

January 2, 2014 - Leave a Response

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!


January 2, 2014 - Leave a Response

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,600 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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

January 2, 2014 - Leave a Response

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


Slave artifacts found at Ga. highway project site

December 1, 2013 - Leave a Response

Slave artifacts found at Ga. highway project site.

Slave artifacts found at Ga. highway project site – WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

December 1, 2013 - Leave a Response

Short Version of Russ Bynum’s AP article:

Slave artifacts found at Ga. highway project site – WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports.

Sapelo Island Georgia Little Known Black History Fact | Black America Web | Page 2

November 24, 2013 - Leave a Response

Sapelo Island Georgia Little Known Black History Fact | Black America Web | Page 2.

Kettle Creek battlefield group gets support from state SAR

October 30, 2013 - Leave a Response

Kettle Creek battlefield group gets support from state SAR.

Back from the UK

October 15, 2013 - Leave a Response

The LAMAR Institute’s “Reverse British Invasion” research team has returned from the United Kingdom with a wealth of historical information about Georgia and its role in the American Revolution. We are currently downloading our digital cameras, sorting our stacks of papers and generally cleaning out our suitcases. Stay tuned for additional details.

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom

September 8, 2013 - Leave a Response

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom.

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom-By Mike Toner

August 15, 2013 - Leave a Response

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

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom.

St. Augustine archaeology dig uncovers prehistoric site

August 7, 2013 - Leave a Response

St. Augustine archaeology dig uncovers prehistoric site.


May 30, 2013 - Leave a Response

Is it black or is it white,
Is it day or is it night,
La, la, la, la, la, la, la,
Ist es tag oder zu nacht,
La, la, la, la, la, la, la,

–Copyright 1968, Lyrics by Daniel Thornton Elliott, esquire.

One of my early songs.

SAVANNAH, Ga.: Ga. Civil War camp turns up hundreds of artifacts – Florida Wires –

May 27, 2013 - Leave a Response

SAVANNAH, Ga.: Ga. Civil War camp turns up hundreds of artifacts – Florida Wires –

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

May 23, 2013 - Leave a Response

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

Frontier fort from Revolutionary War found in Ga.

May 9, 2013 - Leave a Response

Frontier fort from Revolutionary War found in Ga..

Carr’s Fort Nailed

May 8, 2013 - Leave a Response

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

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

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:

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 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.

Carr’s Fort Story Sells Like Hotcakes!

May 5, 2013 - Leave a Response

Associated Press, May 5, 2013, by Russ Bynum–

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Less than two months after British forces captured Savannah in December 1778, patriot militiamen scored a rare Revolutionary War victory in Georgia after a short but violent gunbattle forced British loyalists to abandon a small fort built on a frontiersman’s cattle farm.

More than 234 years later, archaeologists say they’ve pinpointed the location of Carr’s Fort in northeastern Georgia after a search with metal detectors covering more than 4 square miles turned up musket balls and rifle parts as well as horse shoes and old frying pans.

The February 1779 shootout at Carr’s Fort turned back men sent to Wilkes County to recruit colonists loyal to the British army. It was also a prelude to the more prominent battle of Kettle Creek, where the same patriot fighters who attacked the fort went on to ambush and decimate an advancing British force of roughly 800 men.

The battles were a blow to British plans to make gains in Georgia, the last of the original 13 colonies, and other Southern settlements by bolstering their ranks with colonists sympathetic to the crown.

‘‘The war was going badly up north for the British, so they decided to have a southern campaign and shipped a huge amount of troops down here and started recruiting loyal followers,’’ said Dan Elliott, the Georgia-based archaeologist who found the fort with a team from the nonprofit research group, the LAMAR Institute. ‘‘Kettle Creek was probably the best victory that the Georgians ever had in the Revolutionary War. Most battles were failures like the capture of Savannah.’’

Carr’s Fort, midway between Athens and Augusta, was one of numerous small outposts on the colonial frontier built for American settlers to defend themselves against enemy soldiers and hostile Indians.

Robert Carr was a cattle farmer who settled with his wife, children and a single middle-aged female slave in Wilkes County after colonists started arriving there in 1773. Carr also served as captain of a militia company of roughly 100 men. Responsible for leading his militiamen and looking out for their families, Carr built a stockade wall to protect his farmhouse and surrounding property, which included shacks and crude shelters.

Though probably no larger in area than a tennis court, Carr’s Fort would have needed to hold 300 or more people, said Robert Scott Davis, a history professor at Wallace State Community College in Alabama who has studied and written about Wilkes County’s role in the American Revolution since the 1970s.

‘‘Most of the forts on the frontier were small community affairs,’’ Davis said. ‘‘Everybody in the militia company took refuge inside the fort when the community was in danger because either the British were coming or the Indians were coming.’’

In February 1779, about 80 British loyalists marched into Carr’s Fort and took control, presumably while Carr and other patriot militiamen were away. Patriots responded quickly by sending 200 men from Georgia and South Carolina to retake the fort. Davis said the Feb. 10 gunbattle was short, with most of the shooting likely over within 20 minutes, but it left more than a dozen fighters dead or wounded on each side. Patriots gained the upper floor of a nearby building and fired down into the fort. Innocent bystanders — women, children and old men inside the stockade walls — had to huddle under cover during the firefight.

The patriots seized their foes’ horses left saddled with supplies outside the walls, forcing the group to abandon the fort and return to the British army. Still, the outcome wasn’t exactly a decisive victory. Commanders of the patriot militiamen ordered them to break off the siege and focus on a new target: a larger fighting party of about 800 British loyalist fighters marching from the Carolinas.

Four days later, the patriots ambushed the approaching group at nearby Kettle Creek in an attack that brought heavy casualties to both sides and left the British sympathizers with fewer than 300 men.

Unlike many of the larger battles of the American Revolution, the fighting at Carr’s Fort was a skirmish between neighbors — possibly even family members — who found themselves on opposing sides of the war. And the fighting often had little to do with whether the American colonists should have freedom from British rule, said David Crass, director of Georgia’s state Historic Preservation Division.

‘‘Here, the clashes were often small in scale and often were as much about settling scores between families or ethnic groups as they were about independence,’’ Crass said. ‘‘Carr’s Fort is a good representative of one of these smaller battles where many of the combatants likely knew each other.’’

Surviving records from the Revolution gave general landmarks but no precise location for Carr’s Fort. Elliott last year won a $68,500 grant from the National Park Service’s American Battlefields Protection Program to attempt to find the fort’s remains.

Elliott set out with a six-person team in January scouring an area of more than 4 square miles, which was believed most likely to have included Carr’s land. The search turned up no signs of the battle until a month later, when Elliott’s team started finding musket balls on a remote plot of planted pine. A dozen of the old bullets were recovered, as well as parts of 18th century hunting rifles favored by militiamen. Other artifacts uncovered within a few inches of the surface included buttons, horseshoes, door hinges and wagon parts. A colonial coin believed to a King George half-penny from the 1770s also was discovered.

Elliott said his team returned in March and April to make sure of their findings before announcing them last week. Though he’s still searching for any remaining signs of the fort’s stockade walls, he said the battle site was essentially pinpointed through the process of elimination. No other remnants of fighting were found in the surrounding 2,700 acres.

The artifacts from Carr’s fort are being cleaned and eventually will be turned over to the University of Georgia, Elliott said.

Meanwhile, one big question remains: Where was Capt. Robert Carr during the fighting at the fort that bears his name?

Davis said Carr’s name appears on a muster roll from January 1779, a month before the battle. The next time Carr’s name next turned up weeks after the fort shootout, when his family reported that Carr was killed in a raid by Creek Indians. But there’s no mention of Carr in the writings of men who fought at the fort.

‘‘They talk about Carr’s Fort, but nobody said, ‘I was serving under Capt. Carr.’ There’s just not one word,’’ Davis said. ‘‘That is the greatest single mystery in all of this.’’

Archaeologists Discover Revolutionary War Carr’s Fort on Georgia Frontier

April 30, 2013 - One Response

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

Students and archaeologists looks into the old Troup Factory site

April 26, 2013 - Leave a Response

A Georgia State University field school and archaeologists have been looking into the grounds where the old Troup Factory mill once stood to piece together its history. The field school director…

via Students and archaeologists looks into the old Troup Factory site.

Curry-Cola (Registered TM 2013, Daniel Thornton Elliott, Esquire

April 17, 2013 - One Response

Hear Yee! Hear Yee!

Being known hereafter to the world of civilized persons that upon this day, Anno Dominoz 17 April 2000 and 13, that Daniel Thornton Elliott, Esquire has created and assigned ownership to himself and his adoring wifeling, Rita Folse Elliott, forever or until A.D. 2085, whichever comes first, of the fascinating new carbonated beverage concept to be known by the name of– Curry-Cola
Sworn this day upon a stack of archaeology reports,
Daniel Thornton Elliott, Esquire.

March 31, 2013 - Leave a Response

Cave Spring cabin revealed as oldest structure in Floyd County

March 26, 2013 - Leave a Response

CAVE SPRING — The history books about Floyd County will have to be rewritten: An archaeologist says the oldest known structure in the county sits in Cave Spring. That building turns out to be the…

via Cave Spring cabin revealed as oldest structure in Floyd County.

Salzburger Farmsteads on the Ebenezer Mill District

March 25, 2013 - Leave a Response

I uploaded a rare document, in which I contributed several major sections. This is the Phase II archaeological testing of sites located on the Mill Creek bluff in Effingham County, Georgia. These are mostly 18th century Salzburger farmstead sites, although some later sites are also discussed. Follow this Link to the report:

Archaeological Testing of the Fort Howard Tract Effingham County, Georgia, compiled by Marvin T. Smith.

Abercorn Archaeology Site 9CH1205 -click below for flyer

March 9, 2013 - Leave a Response

Rita Elliott is giving free tours at this interesting archaeological site near Savannah, Georgia.

Tour an Archaeology Site Flyer