FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/03/11
Fort Hawkins Archaeological Dig Returns
During the entire month of October historic Fort Hawkins will see more of its early American history uncovered as The LAMAR Institute resumes the archaeological research of the outer palisade wall and Northwest Blockhouse. The British burned the fort’s plans and records when they burned Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812, so the past research done by The LAMAR Institute revealed details of the fort that were unknown until now. Erected in 1806 on the eastern Ocmulgee River, the fort was the frontier of America overlooking the Muscogee Creek Nation on the western side of the river. As U.S. Army and Georgia Militia Headquarters, the fort played a significant role in the Southeastern Theater of America’s “Second War of Independence.”
The LAMAR Institute’s past archaeological research revealed a more significant and substantial Fort Hawkins than ever known before and the complete archaeological report can be found at the Fort Hawkins Commission’s website http://www.forthawkins.com, which is called “The Real Fort Hawkins” due to their critical research. LAMAR President and Lead Archaeologist, Dan Elliott, was so astounded by the wealth of new information that he dubbed the fort as “The Pentagon of the South” which verified its extreme importance in the War of 1812. This Phase 1 research from 2005 – 2007 documented the fort’s footprint and provided enough crucial information to create for the first time a Fort Hawkins Master Plan, also found on the Commission’s website.
Phase 2 to document the fort’s outer palisade wall is being concluded this month and was made possible by a generous grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation. The Commission plans to use this needed documentation to begin raising the ten foot tall timber palisade wall next year as part of the National Bicentennial Celebration of the War of 1812. Both the archaeological dig and palisade reconstruction, along with the fort’s expanded patriotic educational public programming and expanded hours of operation, being open every weekend since March, will lead to the capital funding needed to open the historic site full time as a self sustaining national and regional educational historic site just in time for the approaching National Celebration.
Although the professional and volunteer dig team is in place, the public will be invited to view the dig daily beginning Monday, October 10 and all Friends of Fort Hawkins will be able to help with the dig or as Commission Project Coordinator Marty Willett puts it enthusiastically “to get on their knees for history!” A Press Conference to announce some of the sure-to-be amazing discoveries is scheduled at 3:00 pm at the fort on the dig’s final day, October 31. This will be a real treat with more tricks and treats later for the community during the fort’s first Halloween program. For more dig information call Elliott at 706-341-7796 and for more Friends of Fort Hawkins information call Willett at 478-742-3003.
Marty Willett, Fort Hawkins Commission Press Officer & Project Coordinator
1022 Walnut Street
Macon, GA 31201
Fort Hawkins Halloween Hauntings
5-8 p.m. Oct. 31, Fort Hawkins Blockhouse Replica, Emery Highway. Visitors will enjoy some fun old fashion tricks and treats along with candlelight tours of the three story Blockhouse Replica, jack-o-lantern carving with the Irish legend about “Jack” and of course a Halloween bonfire. The official Ghostbusters will be on hand to help the Fort Hawkins Commission with its first Ghost Watch at the 200-year-old early American frontier fort. Free. 742-3003 or http://www.forthawkins.com.
So, is Fort Hawkins haunted? Consider the case of Captain Kit Keiser. Captain Christopher “Kit” Keiser, United States Army, served as commander of Fort Hawkins from 1818 until his untimely death at Fort Hawkins, sometime prior to November 5, 1819. Keiser was Deputy Quartermaster Master General at Fort Hawkins at the time of his command appointment by Major General Edmund P. Gaines. Keiser is the only one of the fort’s commandants whose death at the fort is documented. What were the circumstances surrounding his death, and who was Christopher Keiser? Was his lifeless body cut down where it was hanging in the bell tower of the fort’s blockhouse????? WOOOOOOOOOOOOO~~~mooooore wooooork is neeeeeeded!!!!
LAMAR Institute archaeologist Joel Jones is shovel shaving as trackhoe operator Curtis Perry exposes the southwestern outer corner of Fort Hawkins as the Fort Hawkins Archaeological Project resumes on October 3, 2011.
NBC news local affiliate Channel 41 had this news story at 6PM:
[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hNYLgtbXPAI width=”480″ height=”382″]
Associated Press article, October 4, 2011: