Archive for the ‘archaeology’ Category

CSS Georgia Teacher’s Workshop 2016
April 29, 2016

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

A Chapter on Ebenezer Ceramics
March 27, 2016

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

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

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

Battle of Purysburg News Story
August 5, 2015

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

Civil War ironclad’s ‘treasures’ to be shown, discussed in free lecture June 2
May 22, 2015

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

Push back Kinder-Morgan’s Palmetto Pipeline project!
May 7, 2015

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.

Archaeologists want to recover lost story of Purrysburg’s Revolutionary War history – Veterans – Stripes
January 10, 2015

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

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.

Harvest Lecture – December – Archaeology at the Davenport House
November 21, 2014

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

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!

Have You Seen This Battlefield?
October 19, 2014

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

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:

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).

News from Kettle Creek
October 8, 2014

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

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!]

LAMAR Institute Awarded $87600 National Park Service 2014 Grant
July 23, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great News from Wilkes County!

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

Archaeology is Happening in Georgia!
January 20, 2014

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Slave artifacts found at Ga. highway project site
December 1, 2013

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

Short Version of Russ Bynum’s AP article:

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

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

Kettle Creek battlefield group gets support from state SAR.

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom
September 8, 2013

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom.

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

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

Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom.

St. Augustine archaeology dig uncovers prehistoric site
August 7, 2013

St. Augustine archaeology dig uncovers prehistoric site.

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

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

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

Frontier fort from Revolutionary War found in Ga..

Carr’s Fort Nailed
May 8, 2013

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

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.

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

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

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

Students and archaeologists looks into the old Troup Factory site
April 26, 2013

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.

Cave Spring cabin revealed as oldest structure in Floyd County
March 26, 2013

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.

Abercorn Archaeology Site 9CH1205 -click below for flyer
March 9, 2013

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

Tour an Archaeology Site Flyer

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

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

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

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

Chieftains Museum Redacted
March 7, 2013


And Hey, Why not check out this cheezy abstract? Written by the jerks that produced this redacted report:

“ABSTRACT: Chieftains Museum/ Major Ridge Home, Historic Preservation Report, Historic Structure Report and Cultural Landscape Report

For the purposes of developing this combined Historic Structure and Cultural Landscape Report, the National Park Service, in conjunction with Chieftains Museum, determined additional historical research was needed to find information relevant understanding and interpreting to the building and landscape history. NPS and Chieftains agreed that historical research should be undertaken at the thorough level as defined in NPS’ Cultural Resource Management Guideline (1995:18). In the Spring of 2004, Chieftains Museum entered into contract with Southern Research Historic Preservation Consultants, Inc. to undertake the historical research for this project. Based on a research plan approved by Chieftains Museum and NPS, Southern Research prepared successive drafts of a document presenting the results of their research effort. Southern Research consulted many sources and the results are presented in an edited form in the second and third sections of this report. In general, the results of the research were less than what was hoped for and additional research would likely further benefit the overall understanding and interpretation of the history and current state of the Chieftains property.”

So, it was good enough to lift it wholesale and stick it in sections 2 and 3 of this report, I’ll take that as a positive review!–the lead ghost writer for Chapters 2 and 3.

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

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

James Wettstaed Says:
December 21, 2012

As you may be aware, the H2 Channel (History 2) is running a program tonight on the Mayans in Georgia claim that appeared last year. If you hear things about these claims please feel free to direct inquiries to the Forest Service or to our web site where we specifically address these:
. We are trying to aggressively counter these claims so please feel free to share this information widely. An important part of this message is that the Muscogee Creek categorically deny all claims or affiliation. You can see a video on the web site where there claims are addressed by the Forest Service, Muscogee Creek Nation, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. I want to get this message out to the archaeological community.

James R. Wettstaed

Forest Archaeologist/Tribal Liaison
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests
1755 Cleveland Highway, Gainesville, GA 30501
office phone 770-297-3026
cell phone 706-296-2141




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

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

Reporting the Revolutionary War

On Sale Starting November 1, 2012

Watch the Camp Lawton Prison Discovery on Time Team America Episode
October 5, 2012

UPDATE 8/6/2014


This link goes to an online version of the upcoming Time Team America episode on the search and discovery of Camp Lawton Confederate prisoner of war camp near Millen, Georgia. I was a part of the team, I got the hat and the minimum wages from Oregon Public TV. We did our GPR and other remote sensing work over about 10 acres the days before the circus began. Rita Elliott and I drove up to see the circus but carefully avoided getting in front of the camera. We were there the day that the stockade wall was discovered (I got some rare video footage of that on my iphone). Our LAMAR Institute colleague, Daniel E. Battle, was part of the circus. Dan Battle actually discovered the juicy archaeological stuff at Camp Lawton back in December, 2009. That is all documented in our LAMAR Institute report number 161
Dan Battle also made the first discoveries of the Confederate guard’s camp, which I think is a MAJOR find too. Congratulations to Dan Battle!

Meg, the blonde lady with the red cart, was the boss of the geophysical team, of which I was part back in October 2012. That was about four days of craziness where we covered a huge area, probably the largest acreage of geophysical work ever done in Georgia. Meg did a masterful job in pulling it all together. Congratulations to everyone who played a part in this important discovery! I hope you enjoy the movie.

You may also watch the Time Team America discovery on your regular television set via your local PBS affiliate. Just check their schedules for time and dates.

UPDATE 3/6/2013, James K. Chapman’s M.A. Thesis, entitled, COMPARISON OF ARCHEOLOGICAL SURVEY TECHNIQUES AT CAMP LAWTON, A CIVIL WAR PRISON STOCKADE, is mirrored at the following link: Tchapman_james_k_201201_mass

2012 Post:

Over the past week a team of archaeologists converged on the CSA Camp Lawton prison site at Magnolia Springs, near Millen, Georgia determined to make major discoveries. Their goal was realized on Thursday and Friday when three walls of the prison stockade were confirmed by excavation. Earlier in the week a smaller team of geophysicists scurried over the landscape with high-tech tools busy making maps of the subsurface environment. Ground Penetrating Radar, Electro-magnetics and Flux gate gradiometers were among the tools used to search for remains of the Civil War prison. Excavations ended today (Friday Oct 5) with several major finds capping a week of many grand discoveries. The Time Team America episode on the Camp Lawton investigations will air next year. Meanwhile, readers may wish to read the writings of John Derden, Daniel Elliott, or Daniel Battle. The LAMAR Institute’s report is available online for free download at

"Meg in the Car Park"

Searching for the Camp Lawton prison stockade wall.

Raw video footage of the discovery  may be seen on (shown below):



Stockade Wall Found at Camp Lawton
Article by Bryan Tucker, State Archaeologist

Preservation Posts, November 2012, Issue 42,

Georgia Department of Natural Resources


Old cemetery inspires Brunswick’s city manager to investigate |
September 23, 2012

Old cemetery inspires Brunswick’s city manager to investigate |

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

Official NPS press release for our grant project award.

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War of 1812 Marker Dedication at Fort Hawkins
June 15, 2012


Amazing American History Revealed At Fort Hawkins

Two hundred years ago, on June 18, the United States declared war on Great Britain for many of the same grievances that led to the American Revolution and the founding of our country. This June 18, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. some amazing and nearly forgotten American history will be literally revealed at historic Fort Hawkins off Emery Highway in Macon, GA. The Fort Hawkins Commission and the Major Philip Cook Chapter of the United States Daughters of the War of 1812 will dedicate a new “War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration” historic marker that reveals the major importance of Fort Hawkins during our “Second War of Independence” as both Georgia Militia Headquarters and
U.S. Army Headquarters for the Southeastern United States. That double significance will be explained and attested during the marker’s unveiling and dedication ceremony which will include uniformed American soldiers from our past and present, members of Major Cook’s family, he was the the Fort Hawkins Commandant during the War of 1812, an official Proclamation from Macon Mayor Robert A.B. Reichert, and a keynote address by renowned archaeologist and President of The LAMAR Institute, Mr. Dan Elliott. After the marker dedication the public is invited to tour the three story Blockhouse Replica and archaeological dig site with no admission charged for the tours or ceremony. All of Middle Georgia will be proud and amazed at the important role that Fort Hawkins played in this brief but pivotal moment in American history. For more information 478-742-3003/


“Fort Hawkins Significance Revealed”

By MARTY WILLETT — Special to The Telegraph

Two hundred years ago on June 18, 1812, our young nation declared war on the world’s greatest military power, Great Britain, in order to preserve our newly found freedom from that same oppressive foe.

This past June 18, the Fort Hawkins Commission and the Maj. Philip Cook Chapter of the United States Daughters of 1812 dedicated a new historic marker at our early American frontier fort and factory. This marker proclaims that Fort Hawkins was arguably the most significant site in the South during our “Second War of Independence” being both U.S. Army Headquarters for the entire Southeastern theater and Georgia Militia Headquarters.

This historic marker dedication was attended by more than 100 visitors, who wished to bear testimony to the unveiling of this amazing history in Middle Georgia.

They included many distinguished historians, archaeologists, community leaders and descendants of original fort family members, such as the family of Maj. Philip Cook, the original commander of both the U.S. Army garrison and Georgia Militia stationed at Fort Hawkins during the war.

The true military nature of the marker’s dedication was well represented by our own 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and a special appearance by a War of 1812 colonel in his full splendid period regalia. Col. Steve Abolt, commander, 7th U.S. Infantry Living History Association.

“Cottonbalers” provided powerful words of praise for the spirit of the American people both 200 years ago and today.

Lt. Col. Matthew Smith, 48th Brigade deputy commander, reminded all of the continued dedication of our own Middle Georgia Brigade with their distinguished efforts around the world and in our own backyard. Their proud roots can be easily be traced to the citizen soldier and U.S. Army regular troops that helped “preserve us a nation” at Fort Hawkins during the War of 1812. The 48th Brigade Color Guard under the command of Sfc. Stanley Walker provided the needed and polished military bearing the dedication deserved.

The real military importance of Fort Hawkins was detailed precisely and profoundly by featured speaker Dan Elliott, president of the LAMAR Institute and Fort Hawkins lead archaeologist, who has dubbed our fort “The Pentagon of the South.”

As the 15-star spangled banner flew over the fort once again, as it did 200 years ago, we were reminded that our own Fort Hawkins was of equal importance as the famed Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md.

During Elliott’s introduction, one of the mighty aircraft from Robins Air Force Base flew over and the crowd was reminded that “Every Day In Middle Georgia is Armed Forces Appreciation Day” and it began at Fort Hawkins 200 years ago with its valuable contributions to the national defense and the local economy.

Fort Hawkins not only became Macon’s birthplace, but also played a significant role in saving the nation and developing the southeastern United States during this turning point in American history. Ironically, Macon would help birth Robins AFB out of the tiny town of Wellston. Our military tradition is as awesome as our famous cultural heritage of architecture, education, music, religion, etc.

This proud military history stretches back to the fort’s namesake, Col. Benjamin Hawkins, who served on Gen. George Washington’s Revolutionary War staff. It stretches to the modern world with local heroes such as Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Rodney Davis and Lanier Poet and NASA astronaut Capt. Sonny Carter.

As the nation begins its Bicentennial Celebration of the War of 1812, Middle Georgia should be proud of our own contribution to this long and steady military tradition that began at Fort Hawkins in 1806.

The Fort Hawkins Commission has plans to preserve and promote its amazing early American history and the public is encouraged to visit the fort’s website: and the historic fort site on Emery Highway, now open every weekend with no admission charge and on all patriotic holidays such as our recent 10th annual Fourth of July celebration.

As archaeologist Elliott stated at the War of 1812 Bicentennial celebration marker dedication, “Fort Hawkins is truly an important historical and archaeological gem. It honors the building blocks of freedom and liberty that our ancestors struggled to create and serves as a vivid and noble reminder of the blood shed for human liberty in the War of 1812.”

Marty Willett is the Fort Hawkins Commission Press Officer & Project Coordinator.

Read more here:

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

DAR members hear program about Kettle Creek site archaeological finds.

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

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

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

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

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

Other items of business were conducted before the meeting adjourned.

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

The History Underneath
May 8, 2012

The History Underneath.

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

from Connectsavannah:

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

By Jessica Leigh Lebos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perspectives in Archaeology: Digging for the Truth

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

Where: Trinity Methodist Church, 127 Barnard St.

Cost: Free and open to the public

The History Underneath
May 8, 2012

The History Underneath.

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

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

ArchaeoBus rolls its mobile classroom into Auburn
May 4, 2012

ArchaeoBus rolls its mobile classroom into Auburn.

Way down yonder neath the Chattahoochee
April 26, 2012

Hey! Look what my buddies in Ellerslie, Georgia are up to. It looks like Matt Wood is growing his hair back long. Check this video news link out:

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

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

Thank you,


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

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

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

Cultural Resource and Urban Planning Manager

Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission

110 East State Street

Savannah, Georgia 31401

Tel.: (912) 651-1482

Fax: (912) 651-1480

Archaeology Panel Flyer

Past Perfect in Savannah:

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

Drudi Objects of Tybee Island
March 25, 2012

Here is a link to a recent television news story on Frank Drudi and his discovery of the “Drudi Objects” at the mouth of the Savannah River on Tybee Island, Georgia:

For additional info, consult my report on the subject at:

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).

TV Shows for the Dead
March 19, 2012


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

Two new TV shows hit rock bottom with archaeologists:

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

OR for the more sophisticated,


Brought to you by,

Historical and Natural Resources in Georgia—NOT!
January 18, 2012


Write, Call, Email, Telegraph, or Otherwise Contact Your Guy on This Vital Topic

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has introduced a proposed budget that will slash Historic Preservation in Georgia to mortally wounded levels. Here is my email: “I am emailing you to renew your awareness of my interest in historic preservation in Georgia and to urge your support to maintain funding levels for the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) in the upcoming budget. I have 35 years experience in historic preservation in Georgia and I have witnessed operations at the state government at greatly reduced funding levels compared to that currently enjoyed. It was not a pretty sight! The current staff at HPD has done a commendable job in advancing historic preservation issues in Georgia over the past decade, in spite of the drastic budget cuts of the past couple of years. To even further cut their budget, as Governor Deal recommends, would be a death sentence for this important part of our state government. The guidance from the HPD office is the catalyst that keeps many construction projects flowing. If their funding levels are reduced, then the permitting process for upcoming development projects will be slowed considerably. Or, projects will proceed on their own terms and face the potential violation of state and federal permitting regulations. Historic Preservation need not be a negative force in Georgia government but this is the potential if historic preservationists are shut out of the discussion. Many organizations, such as the LAMAR Institute, the Coosawattee Foundation and the Archaeological Conservancy, operate in Georgia outsite of direct government funding, but these organizations are too meager to handle the needs of the entire state. A modest budget for HPD will go a long way in maintaining responsible stewardship of our past. I hope we can count on you to be a voice in favor of recognizing and honoring Georgia’s architectual, archaeological and historical past.”

AND below is a repost from Tom Crawford’s blog that displays the sad state of affairs in Georgia:

The makeover of the DNR board is completed
By Tom Crawford | Published: January 27, 2012
The state Board of Natural Resources completed a historic changeover this week as it said goodbye to an environmental advocate and installed in one of its top positions a lobbyist whose firm’s clients include a utility that is one of Georgia’s largest sources of air pollution.

Board members voted formally on Tuesday to elect Philip Watt, a non-practicing physician from Thomasville, as their new chairman. They also elected Rob Leebern, a lobbyist with Troutman Sanders Strategies, as the new vice chairman.

Watt replaces Earl Barrs, the board chairman in 2011 who was removed from the panel when Gov. Nathan Deal decided not to reappoint him. Warren Budd, last year’s vice chairman who normally would have rotated to the chairmanship, was also ousted from the panel when Deal refused to reappoint him to another term as well.

Budd was booted from the board after he spoke out against two initiatives that are important to Deal.

Budd expressed skepticism about Deal’s proposals to build more reservoirs in North Georgia and he also criticized the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) for imposing a miniscule fine of only $1 million on a textile company that discharged chemicals into the Ogeechee River, causing the largest fish kill in Georgia’s history (the company could have been subject to fines of more than $90 million).

“I was told to hush up on both of them,” Budd said. “I was warned and I didn’t do it, and that is why I’m off.”

When reporters contacted the governor’s office about Budd’s removal from the board, Deal’s spokesman issued this reply: “If anyone on any board considers himself indispensable, this is what educators call a ‘teachable moment.’ It takes an eyebrow-raising amount of self-regard for someone to suggest publicly that, out of 10 million Georgians, only he or she brings a diverse viewpoint to a board.”

He added that the governor wanted to appoint board members “who are excited team players ready to carry out his agenda for our state.”

The removal of Budd from the Board of Natural Resources is a watershed moment, if you’ll pardon the expression, for the board that oversees and sets policy for both the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Division.

Budd was one of the few remaining board members who could realistically be considered a conservationist dedicated to protecting the state’s environment and natural resources.

Deal has made it clear that environmental protection is not the primary mission of either DNR or EPD anymore. Both agencies are now expected to advance the cause of economic development and job creation, even though state government already has a Department of Economic Development headed by Commissioner Chris Cummiskey.

The change in mission is vividly illustrated by the installation of Rob Leebern as the new vice chairman in place of Budd.

Budd is considered to be an environmentally sensitive conservationist. Ogeechee Riverkeeper Diana Wedincamp described him as a “friend of the rivers.”

Leebern is a skilled political operative who’s been working inside the Washington beltway for years, first as chief of staff for Sen. Saxby Chambliss and a top fundraiser for George W. Bush, and more recently with the Washington office of Troutman Sanders.

One of Troutman Sanders’ biggest clients over the years has been Georgia Power, which operates two coal-fired power generation facilities in Georgia, Plant Scherer and Plant Bowen, that are ranked by the EPA as America’s largest sources of greenhouse gases.

Whenever Georgia Power goes to the Public Service Commission to secure a rate increase or fight off demands for a risk-sharing mechanism to minimize cost overruns on their nuclear plants, Troutman Sanders partner Kevin Greene is the man who argues their case.

“It is outrageous to make a lobbyist for the biggest polluter in Georgia and the biggest user of water an officer of the DNR board,” said Mark Woodall of the Sierra Club of Georgia. “I’ve been going to these meetings for 25 years and this is by far the worst board, in terms of balancing the public and private interests of the state of Georgia, that I’ve ever seen.”

The changeover on the DNR board has been happening gradually since Sonny Perdue took office as governor in 2003.

When Perdue was first sworn in as the state’s chief executive, there were three prominent environmental advocates on the DNR board: former lieutenant governor Pierre Howard, Columbus attorney Jim Butler and Sally Bethea, director of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. All three of those people were removed from the board during the course of Perdue’s administration.

Howard was the first to go. In 2003, the Republicans who assumed control of the Georgia Senate refused to confirm nearly 180 people who had been appointed to state boards and commissions by former governor Roy Barnes, a Democrat, during his last year in office (2002). Howard was among that mass of people removed from state boards.

Perdue tried to replace Butler on the DNR board in 2003 before Butler’s term had expired. Butler promptly sued the governor in Fulton County Superior Court, where a judge ordered Butler’s reinstatement to the board. When Butler’s term expired two years later, Perdue then was legally allowed to appoint a replacement.

Perdue did reappoint Bethea to the DNR board, but she was removed from the panel in the same manner as Howard when the Republican majority in the Georgia Senate declined to confirm her reappointment.

Perdue also appointed Budd, a Newnan insurance agent, to the DNR board in 2005.

“He knew where I stood,” Budd said of Perdue. “He allowed a diversity of people on there. He appointed people that were pro-conservation. Gov. Barnes did that, too.”

Budd is a lifelong Republican who invokes Teddy Roosevelt as the kind of Republican who believed in conservation. He says his interest in environmental issues was sparked as a young man when his father, Methodist minister Candler Budd, gave him copies of the Rachel Carson books Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us.

“That’s true conservatism,” Budd said. “Conservatism is conserving what’s good.”

There was another indication this week of just how deeply involved lobbyists are going to be in setting environmental policy for the state over the next few years.

One of the most talked-about social events of the week among capitol observers was a dinner sponsored by several lobbyists Wednesday night for members of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

The dinner took place at the Parish restaurant in Atlanta’s Inman Park neighborhood and the event was staked out by several environmental activists, as well as by an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter and a photographer. At one point, we’re told, an environmentalist attempted to give Rep. Lynn Smith (R-Newnan), the committee chair, a list of Georgia’s “Dirty Dozen” polluted waterways.

According to an email invitation sent to committee members, the event’s sponsors included Georgia Power, the Georgia Association of Manufacturers, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Joe Tanner and Associates, the Georgia Conservancy, the Georgia Chemistry Council, the Georgia Agribusiness Council, the Georgia Forestry Association, the Georgia Poultry Federation, AGL Resources, the Georgia Mining Association, and the Georgia Paper and Forest Producers Association.

On the same day that the elegant dinner was held for the legislators, the new vice chairman of the DNR board, Leebern, proposed that Georgia’s top environmental regulator be given a $20,000 bump in his annual salary.

Leebern made a motion for the DNR board to increase the salary of EPD Director Jud Turner — a former lobbyist — to $175,000 a year. His motion passed by a unanimous vote of the board.

© 2012 by The Georgia Report

Abby Arrives At Fort Hawkins
October 24, 2011


Abby Arrives At Fort Hawkins

Abby the Archaeobus arrived at Fort Hawkins today for a special week at the 200 year old fort. Abby is Georgia’s Mobile Archaeological Classroom sponsored by the Society for Georgia Archaeology and arrives after a successful visit to the Georgia National Fair and the SGA Fall Conference. However, this is Abby’s very first visit to an archaeological dig and her visit provides an even more educational opportunity while the fort’s archaeological dig being done by The LAMAR Institute is in progress. Abby makes learning about archaeology fun with colorful and interactive exhibits that all relate to the ongoing archaeological research being done for the Fort Hawkins Commission at the historic site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Abby invites everyone to come visit during this next week at Fort Hawkins for a unique educational experience – archaeology as real living history! The fort site will be open each day from October 24 to October 31 until 4:00 p.m. with no admission charge. During the week days while the dig team continues its research, the public is invited to come view their work and now visit Abby too! The Commission has had the historic site open each weekend since March and during this month visitors have enjoyed touring the dig site and now visit Abby too! On the final day of the dig, Monday, October 31, there will be a Press Conference at 3:00 p.m. at Fort Hawkins to share some of the amazing dig discoveries and to view the actual excavations, and of course to visit Abby too! At 5:00 p.m. on October 31 the first Fort Hawkins Halloween Hauntings will begin and the biggest treat at this free, fun, family event will be, of course, to visit Abby! Abby keeps a blog about her adventures across the state on the SGA website, so let’s make her feel at home here in the Heart of Georgia and come visit during this rare and special appearance! Please call for group visits or more information 478-742-3003 and visit


Marty Willett, Fort Hawkins Commission Press Officer & Project Coordinator
1022 Walnut Street
Macon, GA 31201

Responses from the Media:

Macon Telegraph-

WRWR-TV, Warner Robins:

Fort Hawkins’ outer wall
October 13, 2011

Fort Hawkins’ outer wall is goal of archaeology dig – Local & State –

Today’s news in Macon, Georgia. $0.75

Breakfast at the H&H $12.90 for two

Resumed excavation on South Outer Palisade #1 at Fort Hawkins $XXX

Found a small uniform button of the Regiment of Rifles $Not for sale Francis

Soldiers in the Regiment of Rifles dug the outer palisade in 1809 $???

Sudden violent thunderstorm hit the site at 3:45PM $Costly

Drove the the Macon Flea Market and bought some stuff imported from China $7

Back in our motel room $PRICELESS

Fort Hawkins Dig News–October 2011
October 4, 2011




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, 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

Read more:

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:

Associated Press article, October 4, 2011:–Fort-Hawkins-Research/

Fort Hawkins Again! Turn your radio on…
September 7, 2011

The LAMAR Institute, the Society for Georgia Archaeology, the Fort Hawkins Commission, the Friends of Fort Hawkins and volunteers will team up and return to excavate at Fort Hawkins in Macon, Georgia this October. Here is a link to a short article about it by Josephine Bennett on Georgia Public Radio (GPB):

The upcoming project will target the fort walls on the western side, and a portion of the southern wall. A team of volunteers is shaping up and the project will end with ghost tales of Fort Hawkins on Halloween. It does begin on a sad note, however, with the death of Bob Cramer this past weekend. Dr. Robert Cramer had served as chairman of the Fort Hawkins Commission for several decades. He was the one who first lured me to the fort in the early 1990s. He was a friendly man who truly loved Georgia archaeology and history.

Special thanks to Marty Willett, the Peyton Anderson Foundation, the Fort Hawkins Commission, the City of Macon, New Town Macon, the Friends of Fort Hawkins and other tireless backers for making this project happen. See also,

The results of the present project should wind up the first excavation phase under the Fort Hawkins Commission’s Master Plan. We expect our report on the work to be available to the public in 2012, in time for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. I am wrapping up a study of the New Orleans battlefield (December 1814-January 1815) for the National Park Service and the St. Bernard Parish Government in Louisiana, so my mind is in the correct decade for a fitting return to Fort Hawkins.

Here is a link to listen to a podcast of the radio broadcast:

GPB News 9-5-11 Podcast

Chatham Commissioners designate Pennyworth Island as historic following swampy slog |
July 13, 2011

Chatham Commissioners designate Pennyworth Island as historic following swampy slog |

Heritage museum to bridge Pin Point’s past and future |
June 27, 2011



Good article in the Savannah Morning News by Chuck Mobley on Pin Point Museum at:

Heritage museum to bridge Pin Point’s past and future |

Marty Willett at Fort Hawkins
June 23, 2011

Article regarding Fort Hawkins by Jim Gaines from Macon Telegraph newspaper, June 23, 2011:

Legal question complicates Fort Hawkins funding – Local & State –

Follow up article:

Fort Hawkins Commission backs Willett’s reappointment – Breaking News –

Metal detectors, radar used to find Army barracks site at 19th century Oregon post
May 16, 2011

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Archeologists have used ground-penetrating radar to determine exactly where a Fort Klamath soldier barracks stood in the late 19th century.

“It’s a pretty exciting moment,” said Todd Kepple, Klamath County Museums manager. “No trace of this building was visible for the 44 years the county has owned this property. We had no idea exactly where anything was except for the flag pole.”

University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History archeologists on Wednesday used metal detectors and radar to find where the barracks stood at the Fort Klamath military post, established by the U.S. Army in 1863 to protect settlers as they settled in Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin Indian territory.

The museum was awarded a Preserving Oregon $10,000 grant to pay for the work. Archeologists went over three sites, but found substantial evidence only at the barracks site.

“To us, this is wild West . history,” said Paul Baxter, an archeologist. “To (tribal members), it’s family history.”

The fort was decommissioned 17 years after the Modoc War, a result of the U.S. government forcing three different American Indian tribes to live together on one reservation. A Modoc Indian the Army called Captain Jack led his tribe off the reservation and the Fort Klamath cavalry was ordered to bring them back.

After a year of battle, Captain Jack was captured and hanged; his grave is at the Fort Klamath Museum.

In 1966, Klamath County acquired 8 acres of the once expansive fort. In its heyday, the military outpost contained 80 buildings stretching from the museum to the town of Fort Klamath.

But in the 75 years the fort was under private ownership, buildings were allowed to disintegrate, leaving nothing but nails and, archeologists discovered Wednesday, a foundation.

“(Wednesday) was a banner day for us,” Kepple said. “It was the first time we’ve been able to turn back the pages of history and see the fort the way it was 120 years ago.”


News Article by Sara Hottman, Herald and News,–Fort-Klamath-Barracks/

Forts in Georgia
May 10, 2011


Lisa O’Steen searches for early Georgia fort in Oconee County.

Grant will fund dig at Oconee site ||

By Erin France, May 10, 2011

Grant will fund dig at Oconee site ||

An archaeologist will use grant funding this year to pay for investigating what may be the remains of a fort along the Oconee River east of Watkinsville.

The Watson Brown Foundation Athens’ Junior Board of Trustees recently awarded Athens Land Trust a $6,250 grant for an archaeological study of a site near the Oconee River and Barnett Shoals Road that some experts believe once housed a fort on the border between United States territory and Native American lands.

Archaeologist Lisa O’Steen likely will launch the study this summer, though much of the work could wait until fall and winter after the area’s heavy vegetation dies off, said Nancy Stangle, the Athens Land Trust’s executive director.

“We’re glad it’s happening now,” Stangle said.

O’Steen will explore the site and likely will find artifacts from both early Georgian settlers and Native Americans, she said.

Stangle’s also curious about the fort’s name, she said.

The ruins could be Fort Matthews or Fort Henry – there’s not enough evidence to prove either name at this time, she said.

“We have the additional mystery that we are trying to solve with which fort it was,” Stangle said.

The property owner, Celestea Sharp, also is curious about the name and history behind the fort, and already has agreed to help preserve found artifacts as well as the site, she said.

Sharp directed and distributed “Carving Up Oconee,” a documentary about grassroots activism in development issues. She’s also written a book about the history of Oconee County’s town of Bishop.

“Having her historical expertise … it’s just an excellent asset to the project,” Stangle said.

Junior board of trustees member Glenn Reece toured the site and was impressed with Athens Land Trust’s enthusiasm for the project, he said.

“It shows that they’re really interested and they really care about what they’re trying to get money for,” Reece said.

Reece is a junior at Monsignor Donovan Catholic High School, and this is his second year on the junior board of trustees, he said.

Board members sometimes disagree about which projects they should fund, but most members agreed about funding the archaeological study, he said.

“It’s hard to divvy up who gets what because we’re on a limited budget,” Reece said.

This is the second time the Athens Land Trust received the grant, said Shannon Hayes, the junior board of trustees’ adviser.

“The original grant would have gone through with no problems, but the property owner (at the time) decided to put the property up for sale,” said Hayes, who also works as the program coordinator at the T.R.R. Cobb House in Athens.

Members awarded the grant in 2008, then took the money back when the archaeological study wasn’t completed, she said. Sharp bought the land after that and OK’d the study.

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

Savannah’s Revolutionary War Discoveries | WSAV TV.

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

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

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

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

War of 1812 in Georgia–Search for Fort Lawrence
January 6, 2011


On Saturday, February 5, a team of archaeologists, historians, veteran land surveyors and interested laypersons will venture into the forests of Taylor County, Georgia in search of Fort Lawrence on the untamed Flint River. This United States Army fort was an important post in the War of 1812 period. Its archaeological remains have yet to be located. We are excited at the prospects of locating this important place so that it can be studied and properly interpreted to the public. This is a pro bono project by the team members. Any support (or additional information about the site) is appreciated!


Donate to LAMAR Institute–Carr’s Fort Project and Beyond
December 30, 2010

DONATE TO LAMAR INSTITUTE–Support Our Research for 2013!

Here are some of our active projects that could use some financial support:

  • Pre-Civil War Forts Inventory
  • Skeletons in The Closet Initiative
  • The Lost City Survey
  • Native Georgia Landscapes
  • Fort Hawkins Archaeological Project

DONATE TO LAMAR INSTITUTE–Support Our Research for 2013!

Get Your Archaeology Books? Support Archaeology!
December 30, 2010

Donate to LAMAR Institute using Razoo:

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December 12, 2010

New Archaeology Reports Available
October 13, 2010

Several recent archaeological reports have been uploaded for free public distribution on the LAMAR Institute’s website. These include:

The Search for Redoubt Number 6 at New Ebenezer

Smith House Site, Valdosta, Georgia, GPR Survey

Archaeological Reconnaissance of Civil War Resources on Rose Dhu Island, Chatham County, Georgia

GPR Survey at Behavior Cemetery, Sapelo Island, Georgia

Archaeological Reconnaissance of Pennyworth Island, Chatham County, Georgia

Fort Perry Reconniassance, Marion County, Georgia.

164. Fort Perry Reconnassaince, Marion County, Georgia. By Daniel T. Elliott, Mike Bunn, Don Gordy, and Terry Jackson, 2010 (0.7 MB).

GPR Survey at Gascoigne Bluff, St. Simons Island, Georgia.

165. GPR Survey at Gascoigne Bluff, St. Simons Island, Georgia. By Daniel T. Elliott, 2010 (1.7 MB).

GPR Mapping fo the Adler Plot, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia.

166.  GPR Mapping of the Adler Plot, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia. By Daniel T. Elliott, 2010 (3 MB).

GPR Mapping of Lot K-207, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia.

167. GPR Mapping of Lot K-207, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia. By Daniel T. Elliott, 2010 (2 MB).

GPR Survey at the Copeland Site (9GE18).

168. GPR Survey at the Copeland Site (9GE18). By Daniel T. Elliott, 2010 (2 MB).


The LAMAR Institute

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Ossabaw (Slightly Outdated) News
October 2, 2010

1794 Sheriff’s Sale of Ossabaw

In 1794 Chatham County Sheriff advertised the public sale of Ossabaw Island.


1799 Middle Place Plantation on Ossabaw for Sale

Advertisement for Sale of Middle Place at Ossabaw


1810 Ossabaw Wreck

The Charleston Courier for November 14, 1810 (page ) reported on the wreck of the sloop Defiance off of Ossabaw Island


1819 Middle Place Plantation on Ossabaw for Sale Again

Advertisement for Sale of Middle Place at Ossabaw


1820 Shipping News and Ossabaw

Shipping news in theJune 9, 1820 edition of the American newspaper (page 3)  noted the arrival of two ships from Ossabaw. These were the brig Patriot, commanded by Tucker, and the sloop Driver, commanded by Ramsey. Both the vessels completed the voyage in 15 days. The news of the arrival of the Patriot noted that the ship was loaded with live oak timber, destined for Ogden Day and Company, and seven passengers. One of the passengers, David M. Leavitt of Northhampton, New Hampshire, died on the voyage.

American 06/09/1820 page 3

1821 Shipping News and Ossabaw

The New York Daily Advertiser for May 16, 1821 (page 1) noted that the schooner Two Sisters, commanded by Captain Haskell, arrived after a 13 day voyage from Ossabaw, “with ship timber, to J&C Bolten”. That same news article noted the departure  of the schooner Penobscot Packet, Snow, of Orington, for New-York, in 6 days”

The May 26, 1821 edition of the New York Daily Advertiser (page 1) noted in its Shipping News that the schooner Penobscot Packet , commanded by Captain Snow, had cleared the Port of New York. No details of the cargo were provided. Shipping news for Portland, Maine, dated July 3, 1821, noted the arrival of the Penobscot Packet, under Captain Snow, with a shipment of ship timber from Ossabaw, Georgia after an 11 day voyage. (Gazette, July 3, 1821, page 4).

The schooner Mars, commanded by Captain Hill, made port at New York from Ossabaw, Georgia. No other details were noted in the shipping news (Boston Commerical Gazette, March 19, 1821, page 2).

1822 Shipping News and Ossabaw

The Connecticut Mirror on March 25, 1822 (page 3) noted that the schooner Driver was loading at Ossabaw, Georgia for New York.

1824 Hurricane and Ossabaw

Daily National Intelligencer reported on October 2, 1824 (page 2) about the 1824 hurricane that impacted coastal Georgia, including Ossabaw Island, Beaulieu, and Burnside Island:


1829 Abandoned Sloop on South End, Ossabaw

The Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser reported on November 4, 1829 (page 2) of the abandonment of a small sloop Eliza Ann that as towed to Dr. Cuyler’s plantation on the south end of Ossabaw Island. The captain of the vessel was deranged. The vessel was gotten off safely.

1838 Shipping News and Ossabaw

The March 23, 1838 Commerical Advertiser (page 2) contained in its shipping news for vessels arriving in Boston, Massachusetts on March 21, one vessel from Ossabaw, which was the Orbit, commanded by Captain Robinson. No other details about the ship or its cargo were given.

1843 Preacher John Jones at Ossabaw

Augusta Chronicle for January 30, 1843 (page 2) contained a list entitled, “Stations of the Preachers in the Georgia Annual Conference, 1843”, which listed, “Ossabaw–John Jones” in the Augusta District.


1846 Bryan Morrell’s Barn Burns on Ossabaw

From page 2 of the January 23, 1846 edition of the Times-Picayune, which I had found earlier, tells of the burning of Bryan Morel’s barn on Ossabaw Island, which consumed his entire crop of sea island cotton on December 14, 1845. The article states: “The barn of Bryan M. Morel, Esq., of Ossabaw Island, Ga., was consumed by fire on the 14th inst. and his sea-island cotton consumed. Loss about $2500”. The link to this one is below.


Another version of this news story noted that, “The barn is supposed to have been set on fire” (Spectator, January 24, 1846, p.4).

1846 Nautical Description of Ossabaw Bar


1854 Hurricane on Ossabaw

I recently located an article on page 2 of the October 2, 1854 issue of The Daily Intelligencer, which details the devastation in the coastal Georgia caused by the 1854 hurricane. Of particularly note is the mention of destruction on Ossabaw Island and at the plantation of Jonathan Morel.  An excerpt follows: “On …Ossabaw Island, Messrs. T.N. Morel, Jno. Morel, N.G. Rutherford, and Bryan Morel, are all sufferers—nearly or quite all, the entire crop being gone, together with a number of barns, negro houses, &c…Mr.Jno. H. Morel’s plantation in Bryan county, is a complete wreck….”.  To read the complete article click on the link below.


1858 Wreck on Ossabaw

New York Herald on March 25, 1858 (page 8) reported that the

Bark Actress, commanded by Catain Hopkins from Glasgow, was bound for Savannah when she went ashore on March 24 on Ossabaw Shoals.

1860 Shipping News and Ossabaw

The Boston Daily Advertiser on December 27, 1860 (page 1) noted of the arrival at Ossabaw Island, Georgia on December 21, 1860 of the schooner Roswell King. The schooner was commanded by Captain Swift and was bound for New Bedford, Massachusetts.

1863 Fort Seymour on Ossabaw

The Milwaukee Sentinel on June 25, 1863 (page 1) reported on a Confederate raid intended against Fort Seymour on Ossabaw Island.


1863 Sailing Directions include Ossabaw Improvements

Below are “Sailing Directions” for portions of the Ogeechee River delta from the 19th edition of The American Coast Pilot (Blunt 1863:370). Note the references to the Indian Mound and the plantation houses:

THE NORTH CHANNEL TO VERNON RIVER.—When in from three and a half to four fathoms water, bring the S. end of Great Wassaw Island to bear N. W. 4 N., and the N. E. point of Ossabaw Island W. N., the course over the bar is W. N. W. 4 N. direct for the N. end of Raccoon Key, for two and three fourths miles, taking over eight feet water, until the S. point of Raccoon Key is on with the point of Ossabaw Island to the Northward of Indian Mound, and the mouth of Odingsell River opens out, in nine feet water, hard sand; thence the course is N. W. N. direct for the S. point of Little Wassaw Island, a mile and a fourth, until in a line between the N. E. point of Ossabaw Island and the S. point of Great Wassaw Island, and the S. point of Raccoon Key is on with the group of plantation houses, about one mile E. S. E. of Indian Mound on Ossabaw Island. The course is then in mid-channel, which here shows very plainly, as the shoals and banks arc steep to, and a rip forms on their edges.

THE SOUTH CHANNEL TO OGECHEE RIVER—When in from five to six fathoms water, bring the N. E. point of Ossabaw Island to bear N. W. t N., steer in on this coarse for one mile and a half, when, being in seventeen feet water, and the S. end of Great Wassaw Island bearing N. W., the course is N., about one fourth of a mile along from the W. edge of the outer bank, which is steep to, and easily seen, as it nearly always shows with a rip or breakers on the shoalest spots. Stand on this course for two and a half miles, until the N. E. point of Ossabaw Island is just on with the plantation houses about three miles up the river and one mile E. S. E. of Indian Mound on Ossabaw Island. The course is then N. W. i N. direct for the N. end of Raccoon Key, one mile and a fourth, until the N. E. point of Ossabaw Island is on with the S. E. end of Horse Hummock on Ossabaw Island, with from five and a half to seven fathoms water, when the course is W. t N. on this range, for one mile, taking over the bar thirteen feet water; thence the course is direct for the plantation houses on Ossabaw Island to anchorage.

Blunt, Edmund M.
1863   The American Coast Pilot: containing directions for the principal harbors, capes, and headlands, on the coast of North and part of South America…with the prevailing winds, setting of the currents, &c., and the latitudes and longitudes of the principal harbors and capes; together with tide tables and variation. Edmund M. Blunt and George W. Blunt, New York.
1866 Tunis Campbell and Ossabaw Island
Macon Telegraph on June 4, 1866 (page 1):
Illustrated New Age on June 13, 1866 (page 2):
1867 Steamer General Shepley Burned at Ossabaw
Macon Weekly Telegraph on February 8, 1867 (page 5) reported on the burning of the steamer General Shipley at Ossabaw Island.
More details about the burning of the General Shepley are provided in the Commercial Advertiser on Feburary 4, 1867 (page 1).
1871 Wreck on Ossabaw
Macon Weekly Telegraph on February 14, 1871 (page 8) reported on the wreck and partial salvage of the Susannah on Ossabaw Island:
1873 Wreck on Ossabaw
The Cincinatti Commerical Tribune noted in its “Marine Intelligence” for March 27, 1873 (page 1):
Savannah, March 26.–The bark Arethnea, from Bristol, for Doboy, is ashore at Ossabaw and going to pieces. Ten of the crew were drowned.
1879 Wreck off Ossabaw
The New York Herald reported on August 12, 1879 (page 10) of the wreck of the sloop T.W. Willett. She wrecked the night of August 4 on “Bull Head breakers, off the southeast point at Ossabaw Island”.
1883 Wreck on Ossabaw
The British bark Seabird wrecked off of Ossabaw Island. Portions of its cotton cargo were salvaged but the ship was lost. The New York Herald reported on January 17, 1883 (page 10) that, “The hull will be stripped and burned“.
1893 Yellow Fever and Ossabaw
The Cleveland Plain Dealer on October 9, 1893 (page 4) reported on the yellow fever epidemic in coastal Georgia. Refugees were encamped on Ossabaw Island hoping to avoid the disease and these people were “intercepted” by Surgeon Coffer and the U.S. revenue cutter Boswell.
1896 Ossabaw Wreck
State for April 27, 1896 (page 1) reported:
1896 Hurricane on Ossabaw
OssabawThe State newspaper of Columbia, South Carolina reported on October 3, 1896 (page 1) about the widespread devastation caused in coastal areas by the hurricane. It mentions one body washed up on Ossabaw Island.
1898 Ossabaw Offered to U.S. by Harper

New York Herald-Tribune, July 8, 1898, Page 2
1902 Steamer Ashore
Cleveland Gazette on March 1, 1902 (page 6) reported on the grounding of the British steamship Nyassa on Ossabaw Island:
1907 Ossabaw Wreck
May 18, 1907 (page 5) issue of the Daily Herald:
The captain of this fishing vessel, who was presumed dead, later was found alive, as reported in a later newspaper article.
1907 Ossabaw Purchased by Weed and Others
The October 4, 1907 edition of the Macon Telegraph (page 1) contained this article on the recent sale of Ossabaw Island by Wanamaker and others.

U.S. Prisoner Artifacts Found At Georgia Site
October 1, 2010

Little Danny’s Camp Lawton Discoveries!

My pretty picture made it into the print version of this article, but so so sadly, not in the online edition. I need to check my cell phone more often.  Oh, and the site was actually discovered by Daniel Battle, who is missed entirely by the press. But that’s O.K. because I specifically told him not to go over there. Good think he doesn’t listen!

Jonathan McGlashan, Railroad Engineer
September 28, 2010

Read about Jonathan McGlashan and his great big relic collection from Georgia, which is housed at the Smithsonian Institution.

Historian Works to Save Savannah Area Battlefield | WSAV TV
September 28, 2010

Historian Works to Save Savannah Area Battlefield | WSAV TV.

Camp Lawton Prison Survey Report
September 27, 2010

Announcing the release of:

LAMAR Institute Publication Series, Report Number 162. GPR Delineation and Metal Detection Reconnaissance of Portions of Camp Lawton, Jenkins County, Georgia. By Daniel T. Elliott and Daniel E. Battle, 2010 (7 MB).

Louie Binford of “The Archaeologists Archaeologist” had this to say:  “Fantastic, so magnifico, you must read this report tonight, before you go to bed, and before you brush your teeth!”

Archaeology society series kicks off Tuesday |
September 15, 2010

Archaeology society series kicks off Tuesday |

LIDAR for Archaeology Workshop
September 13, 2010

The LAMAR Institute announces a 3-day Remote Sensing Workshop for
archaeologists and historic preservationists on the applications of LIDAR for
archaeology. The workshop will include classroom instruction and a demonstration
and test implementation of LIDAR mapping on a portion of the North End
Plantation on the north end of Ossabaw Island.

DATE: February 25-27, 2011

COST: $250 per person (includes boat transportation, 2 night’s lodging, meals,
and educational materials). A non-refundable deposit of $50 per person is required
by December 31, 2010. The balance due will be collected at the workshop.

LOCATION: North End Plantation, Ossabaw Island, Georgia

Registration for the workshop is limited to 20 participants. Invited participants
have been targeted, although this workshop opportunity is open to interested
scholars on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For More Information Contact: dantelliott  at

Yuchi Indians return to native land |
September 13, 2010

Yuchi Indians return to native land |

Effingham dig uncovers fort built by the British during the Revolution |
August 27, 2010

Effingham dig uncovers fort built by the British during the Revolution |

LAMAR Institute Aids in Discovery of Confederate Prison Near Millen
August 18, 2010


GPR Map of Camp Lawton’s Stockade Southwest Corner, 2009, The LAMAR Institute, Inc.

CONTACT: Daniel T. Elliott, The LAMAR Institute, Inc., P.O. Box 2992, Savannah, GA 31402

(706) 341-7796, dantelliott@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

LAMAR Institute Aids in Discovery of Confederate Prison Near Millen

(MILLEN, GA., July 31, 2010; UPDATE October 6, 2012) The LAMAR Institute, Inc. participated in a search for Camp Lawton, a military prison built north of Millen, Georgia by the Confederates in late 1864 to house more than 30,000 U.S. Army prisoners. The search for the prison began in December, 2009 with a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey for the southwestern corner of the prison stockade at Magnolia Springs State Park. After getting a feel of the topography and the likely layout of the prison site as generally conceived, some discrepancy in the only available historical maps became evident to the research team. The two maps available for reference seemed less accurate than previously thought. A minimally-invasive evaluation was performed with a metal detector . This tool, augmented along with GPR data, was used to get a feel of whatever prison “footprint” might still be present. Promising areas were immediately identified. One particular area, however, clearly stood out as likely being inside the prison and possibly adjacent to a stockade wall boundary, The discoveries were made south of a small creek documented as running directly through the prison yard. Armed with this new evidence, a quick reassessment of the prison layout was theorized. The long held belief, that the larger portion of the prison site was now the location of the Bo Ginn Aquarium facility and former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services fish hatchery, came in question. An unexplored wooded area just west of this facility was now suspected to contain a portion of the Civil War prison. A quick reconnaissance of the wooded tract was made. Our crew believed that this property was within the Magnolia Springs State Park property. This particular tract had changed hands several times in recent years and was currently Federally-owned property under the control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As it turned out, this misunderstanding yielded huge dividends in unmasking the ruins of Camp Lawton, After a very limited and quick evaluation by Georgia Southern University (GSU) anthropologists, the true site of the prison was confirmed. The brick ruins of a documented brick oven complex built fot the use of the prison., was tentatively identified. If this is indeed one of the brick ovens, and the placement of this feature on historical maps was accurate, then the location of the prison shifts further to the west of what was previously theorized. Further testing by GSU confirmed that this was the correct prison site location. Camp Lawton, once thought to be an insignificant Civil War site in our state, now appears to offer a great opportunity for understanding the daily life of Prisoners of War during the War Between the States.



UPDATE!!!  OCTOBER 4th 2012—

Here is video from October 4, 2012 showing the deep trench and palisade post remnant along the southern stockade wall at Camp Lawton.  Unearthed by Time Team America–at the location where GPR survey by The LAMAR Institute’s geophysical team indicated a large, deep soil disturbance most likely to be Camp Lawton. Other video footage showing the feature is posted on

Blast from the Past: The Dawn of Salzburger Archaeology in Georgia
July 22, 2010

Click on the link for the archaeological testing report for the Fort Howard Paper Mill project in Effingham County, Georgia by Garrow & Associates.AR_0720

LAMAR Institute Awarded Grant to Research Battle of Monteith Swamp
July 10, 2010

National Park Service News Release
Press Release_MonteithSwamp07072010
David Barna: (202) 208-6843
Kristen McMasters: (202) 354-2037

Monteith Swamp Battlefield Receives $40,000 Grant
National Park Service supports preservation efforts

WASHINGTON – The LAMAR Institute, Inc. has received a grant of $40,000 from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) to complete the first archeological survey and investigation of the Battle of Monteith Swamp site in Georgia.
“We are proud to support projects like this that safeguard and preserve American battlefields,” said Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. “These places are symbols of individual sacrifice and national heritage that we must protect so that this and future generations can understand the struggles that define us as a nation.”
This grant is one of 25 National Park Service grants totaling $1,246,273 to preserve and protect significant battle sites from all wars fought on American soil. Funded projects preserve battlefields from the Colonial-Indian Wars through World War II and include site mapping (GPS/GIS data collection), archeological studies, National Register of Historic Places nominations, preservation and management plans.
Federal, state, local, and Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions are eligible for National Park Service battlefield grants which are awarded annually. Since 1996 more than $12 million has been awarded by ABPP to help preserve significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil. Additional information is online at To find out more about how the National Park Service helps communities with historic preservation and recreation projects please visit


Editors Note: For additional information about this project, please contact Daniel Elliott, LAMAR Institute, Inc., at (706)341-7796 or

Back to the Islands
June 2, 2010

For those of who that are Ground Penetrating Radar geeks, or people who have an interest in Georgia’s barrier islands, I just uploaded two short research reports on the subject. Fieldwork for both (St. Catherines Island and Sapelo Island) were done in 2006 and it has taken me this long to put them on the web. These two reports are located at the LAMAR Institute’s report website (Reports 91 and 92).

Dawn of American Industry: Ebenezer Silk
February 27, 2010

Please download and enjoy our presentation, “Dawn of American Industry: Ebenezer Silk” by Daniel Elliott, President, The LAMAR Institute and Rita Elliott, Curator of Exhibits and Archaeology, Coastal Heritage Society. This keynote address was presented before the Georgia Salzburger Society at their Landing Day celebration that was held at the Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2966 Ebenezer Road, Rincon, Georgia, USA on March 13, 2010. Here is the link: DawnofAmericanIndustry_EbenezerSilk

Cold Springs 9Ge10–1977 Field Season
January 29, 2010

One of the most important (and under-reported) archaeological sites that was submerged beneath Georgia Power Company’s Lake Oconee in Greene, Hancock, Morgan, and Putnam counties, Georgia was the Cold Springs Site, known as Site 9Ge10. The site is located in the floodplain and lower ridge slope of the Oconee River, just below Thumping Dick Creek. I worked as a crew chief there in 1977 and 1978. This newspaper article is one testament to the extensive efforts of the University of Georgia Anthropology Department crew. Today portions of the site are submerged beneath the lake, other portions are in a residential subdivision, and another portion is located on the U.S.D.A. Oconee National Forest. This particular location shown in this image was in a backhoe trench on the Forest Service property. The Swift Creek phase pit house/daub extraction pit and the Lamar phase burials that intruded into it were discovered in a backhoe trench. P.S. My mom knitted the cap.

Digging Up the Past

Digging Up the Past

Perhaps there is a God…
January 25, 2010

Ancient Indian site plundered, Midville man sentenced

By Tres Bragg, courtesy of the True Citizen [Waynesboro, Georgia, USA]
Published: Friday, January 22, 2010 5:16 PM EST

In September 2009, Wesley Linton Hodges, 52, of Midville and James Seaborn Roberts, 57, of Swainsboro were discovered illegally digging on private property in Burke County. When Georgia Department of Natural Resources Ranger Jeff Billips found the pair, they had already dug up piles of artifacts and several human bone fragments.

Hodges and Roberts appeared before State Court Judge Jerry M. Daniel last Wednesday where they entered guilty pleas for excavating without written permission, criminal trespass and littering.

DNR ranger Grant Matherly discovered the dig site, and days later, Billips sat watching the pair for approximately half an hour before approaching them, at which time he discovered the freshly dug bones amongst the piles of relics. Hodges had pieces stuffed in his shirt pocket, and more were found in a cooler next to bottled drinks.

Courtesy of DNR The incident report stated that Dr. Tersigni-Tarrant, a forensic anthropologist and adjunct professor at the University of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia, confirmed the remains were human, specifically two adult metacarpals. Among the non-human items were pottery, chert and a shell gorget (status symbol), which officials say are commonly sold at tradeshows across the nation.

This time, however, was different – according to Judge Daniel, neither man had permission to dig on the premises, and the money they could have profited from the illegal dig rightfully belonged to the property owner.

“So what do you think I should do about that?” he asked the defendents regarding ownership of the artifacts. Hodges blankly replied, “Well, it was our hard labor that went into it.”

In an interview with The True Citizen, Thomas Gresham of the Georgia Council on American Indian Concerns said digging without proper authorization harms all Georgians.

“It’s destroying the history and prehistory of our state,” he said. “It touches us on an emotional and spiritual level to have burial sites dug into and disrespected … we are also upset by the loss of archeological value – an important piece of prehistory is lost forever.”

Dave Crass, a state archeologist, agreed, stating that archeological sites are nonrenewable resources. “Nobody’s making any more four-thousand-year-old sites,” he said, adding that the law distinguishes between people who pick up arrowheads out of fields and folks who dig into archeological sites. “Picking artifacts up off the surface is not an activity that causes damage versus digging into a site with no prior research or plan.” According to sentencing documents filed at the Burke County Clerk of Court’s Office, Judge Daniel sentenced Hodges and Roberts to three years probation, 24 days in jail (that may be served on weekends), 80 hours community service and a $3,000 fine. Restitution, which rangers said could be anywhere between $7,500-$25,000, was left open.

During the sentencing, Judge Daniel also banned each man from Burke County as well as future tradeshows and archeological activities.

Two other men were arrested the day prior to Hodges and Roberts as they were heading to the same dig site. Charles Bradford Phillips, 57, and Ronald Harold Flynt, 54, both of Metter, were charged with criminal trespass and interference with the performance of a ranger’s duty after being apprehended following a brief chase through the woods. Several digging tools were discovered during the arrest including shovels, gloves and a ground probe. Judge Daniel sentenced Phillips and Flynt to 12 months probation and a $2,000 fine. They were also banned from Burke County and future artifact related activities. All of the artifacts from the site and the tools used during the dig were turned over to authorities.

The two looters were caught waist deep, sifting through human remains in an attempt to recover Native American artifacts.

In September 2009, Wesley Linton Hodges, 52, of Midville and James Seaborn Roberts, 57, of Swainsboro were discovered illegally digging on private property in Burke County. When Georgia Department of Natural Resources Ranger Jeff Billips found the pair, they had already dug up piles of artifacts and several human bone fragments.

Hodges and Roberts appeared before State Court Judge Jerry M. Daniel last Wednesday where they entered guilty pleas for excavating without written permission, criminal trespass and littering.

DNR ranger Grant Matherly discovered the dig site, and days later, Billips sat watching the pair for approximately half an hour before approaching them, at which time he discovered the freshly dug bones amongst the piles of relics. Hodges had pieces stuffed in his shirt pocket, and more were found in a cooler next to bottled drinks.

Courtesy of DNR The incident report stated that Dr. Tersigni-Tarrant, a forensic anthropologist and adjunct professor at the University of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia, confirmed the remains were human, specifically two adult metacarpals. Among the non-human items were pottery, chert and a shell gorget (status symbol), which officials say are commonly sold at tradeshows across the nation.

This time, however, was different – according to Judge Daniel, neither man had permission to dig on the premises, and the money they could have profited from the illegal dig rightfully belonged to the property owner.

“So what do you think I should do about that?” he asked the defendents regarding ownership of the artifacts. Hodges blankly replied, “Well, it was our hard labor that went into it.”

In an interview with The True Citizen, Thomas Gresham of the Georgia Council on American Indian Concerns said digging without proper authorization harms all Georgians.

“It’s destroying the history and prehistory of our state,” he said. “It touches us on an emotional and spiritual level to have burial sites dug into and disrespected … we are also upset by the loss of archeological value – an important piece of prehistory is lost forever.”

Dave Crass, a state archeologist, agreed, stating that archeological sites are nonrenewable resources. “Nobody’s making any more four-thousand-year-old sites,” he said, adding that the law distinguishes between people who pick up arrowheads out of fields and folks who dig into archeological sites. “Picking artifacts up off the surface is not an activity that causes damage versus digging into a site with no prior research or plan.” According to sentencing documents filed at the Burke County Clerk of Court’s Office, Judge Daniel sentenced Hodges and Roberts to three years probation, 24 days in jail (that may be served on weekends), 80 hours community service and a $3,000 fine. Restitution, which rangers said could be anywhere between $7,500-$25,000, was left open.

During the sentencing, Judge Daniel also banned each man from Burke County as well as future tradeshows and archeological activities.

Two other men were arrested the day prior to Hodges and Roberts as they were heading to the same dig site. Charles Bradford Phillips, 57, and Ronald Harold Flynt, 54, both of Metter, were charged with criminal trespass and interference with the performance of a ranger’s duty after being apprehended following a brief chase through the woods. Several digging tools were discovered during the arrest including shovels, gloves and a ground probe. Judge Daniel sentenced Phillips and Flynt to 12 months probation and a $2,000 fine. They were also banned from Burke County and future artifact related activities. All of the artifacts from the site and the tools used during the dig were turned over to authorities.

Dave Crass, a state archeologist, agreed, stating that archeological sites are nonrenewable resources. “Nobody’s making any more four-thousand-year-old sites,” he said, adding that the law distinguishes between people who pick up arrowheads out of fields and folks who dig into archeological sites. “Picking artifacts up off the surface is not an activity that causes damage versus digging into a site with no prior research or plan.” According to sentencing documents filed at the Burke County Clerk of Court’s Office, Judge Daniel sentenced Hodges and Roberts to three years probation, 24 days in jail (that may be served on weekends), 80 hours community service and a $3,000 fine. Restitution, which rangers said could be anywhere between $7,500-$25,000, was left open.



Stallings Island
January 11, 2010

In 1999, I assisted Dr. Ken Sassaman on an archaeological project at Stallings Island, Georgia, which had then just been acquired by the Archaeological Conservancy. Below is some information about the site and the dig:

Late Archaic pit, Stallings Island Site 9CB1

Stallings Island Revisited: Modern Investigation of Stratigraphy and Chronology

Kenneth E. Sassaman
Department of Anthropology
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611

Report submitted to the National Geographic Society in partial fulfillment of Grant #6411-99
December 10, 1999

Abstract. Stallings Island (9CB1) is a large shell-midden site in the Savannah River near Augusta, Georgia, that figures prominently in archaeological perspectives on the origins of pottery and cultural complexity among hunter-gatherer societies of the American Southeast. Despite repeated investigations since the last century, Stallings Island was not securely dated with absolute chronometric methods. National Geographic funds supported an expedition to the site in 1999 to reopen a 1929 excavation for purposes of detailed stratigraphic mapping and radiocarbon sampling. The main trench of this early dig was located, but virtually none of the midden in the profiles of this unit remained intact. Fortunately, many undisturbed pit features were preserved in the residual clay beneath the midden. Strategy was shifted to seek out pit features in the old excavation block, and in some of the hundreds of looters’ pits at the site. Nearly all locations produced intact features filled with freshwater shell, charcoal, vertebrate remains, and artifacts. In addition, an area of the site heretofore regarded as geologically disturbed proved to contain over two meters of stratified shell midden. All told, dozens of pit features and a column from the deep shell strata provided ample opportunity for radiocarbon dating. Seventeen assays returned thus far not only enable Stallings Island to be situated firmly in the emerging details of regional chronology, but extend back by several centuries the onset of intensive habitation and shellfishing in the middle Savannah River valley.

Stallings Island (9CB1) is a National Landmark site in the middle Savannah River valley of Georgia that has been the subject of repeated archaeological investigations since the 1850s (Figure 1). As the namesake for the oldest pottery in North America, Stallings Island has figured prominently in the development of knowledge about increasing settlement permanence and social complexity in the prehistoric Southeast. Despite its central importance to prehistory, knowledge about Stallings Island has been more mythical than factual. Of the many professional investigations of the site (Bullen and Greene 1970; Crusoe and DePratter 1976; Fairbanks 1942), only the 1929 Peabody Museum expedition was reported in detail (Claflin 1931). Naturally, a report of work conducted 70 years ago cannot possibly satisfy all modern research needs. The Peabody investigators emphasized the recovery of artifacts and skeletal remains, and whereas they conducted stratigraphic mapping and feature excavation, a lack of independent dating prevented a detailed reconstruction of site formation, occupational sequence, and community patterning.

Since 1991 the Stallings Archaeological Project has undertaken field investigations at several other Stallings-period sites in the middle Savannah River valley. All such investigations were prompted by looting activities, as the shell-rich deposits of these sites have preserved organic artifacts, such as carved bone pins, that bring premium prices on the antiquities market. Despite the damage from looters, these sites still preserved intact subsurface features, many with datable organics and diagnostic artifacts. One result of this work has been an increasingly detailed chronology of the cultural developments leading to classic Stallings Culture of 3800-3500 radiocarbon years before present (rcybp) (Sassaman 1998). As stratigraphic work at Stallings Island demonstrated 70 years ago, classic Stallings Culture was preceded by a preceramic culture known today as the Mill Branch phase of the Late Archaic period (Elliott et al. 1994:371). Dating from about 4200-3800 rcybp, the Mill Branch phase represents much more than a local ancestor or predecessor to Stallings Culture. A growing body of evidence suggests strongly that groups of Mill Branch affinity, with ancestry in the middle Savannah region extending back at least five centuries, coexisted with early Stallings communities for upwards of 200 years. These latter communities have histories of coastal settlement dating from about 4600 rcybp, but they began to make seasonal use of middle Savannah riverine sites after about 4000 rcybp. The hypothesis that arises from these new data is that the emergence of classic Stallings Culture in the middle Savannah at about 3800 rcybp was a sociopolitical consequence of interactions between ethnically distinct Mill Branch and early Stallings communities.

As the regional chronology for Stallings genesis developed from investigations elsewhere, the type site, Stallings Island, had little to offer. Three radiocarbon dates obtained from samples collected by Bruce Greene (Williams 1968:331) generally agree with the rough details of regional chronology, but they were hardly sufficient to situate the various components of this complex site in the emerging details of Stallings chronology. The opportunity to remedy this situate came in 1998, when the Archaeological Conservancy acquired Stallings Island from the land owner, who stipulated in the transfer that the site be not only protected from further looting, but also availed to scientific investigation.

Knowing how severely Stallings Island had already been impacted by previous excavations and more recent looting, I was reluctant to initiate new excavations of sufficient scope to characterize the internal chronology of the site. At over 5000 m2 in extent and as much as 3 m thick, the midden deposits that constitute the core of Stallings Island would require extensive digging to ensure adequate sampling. In lieu of new excavations, I proposed that the 1929 excavations of the Peabody be reopened to expose one of the profiles that bisected the midden. Previous work exposed strata with intervening layers of shell and loam resting on residual clay generally 1.0 to 1.5 m below the surface across most of the deposit. Given our recent success at dating freshwater clam shell from other Stallings sites (Sassaman 1998), I proposed that we simply collect samples of shell from portions of intact profile to establish, at the minimum, the range of time represented by episodes of shellfish discard.

The strategy then was to relocate the profile of the 210-ft-long Trench 2—dug in 1929 under the direction of Mr. And Mrs. C. B. Cosgrove—map it in detail, and collect at least 24 samples for radiocarbon dating. A recent topographic map of the site with a 2-ft contour interval showed a surface depression in the general vicinity of the Cosgroves’ block excavation, which was bordered on its north edge by Trench 2. Three test units were opened along the northern edge of this depression, in what presumably was the western half of the Cosgroves’ unit. None of the units intercepted decidedly intact midden deposits, but exposed in the floor of Test Unit 1 was a trench that penetrated some 55 cm into basal clay (Figure 2). Nothing in the 1931 report suggests that the Cosgroves’ crew dug into basal clays in this part of the site, so we were skeptical that this feature related to their activity. However, we later exposed the trench in Test Unit 6, just to the west of Unit 1. Projected across the entire site, the alignment of these two exposures conforms rather well with the topographic depression, particularly as it appears in the 10-cm contour map we generated from about 1400 laser transit readings (Figure 1).

Having located Trench 2 we were at a loss for how to proceed, for none of the midden profile above the clay was preserved in any of the test units opened thus far. Indeed, looting at the site was far worse than we expected. As weedy vegetation was cleared from the surface it became apparent that the entire midden was impacted by illicit digging. Nearly 200 individual looters’ pits were mapped in the core of the midden; as many more are located along the sloping fringes of the “mound.” Certainly portions of the midden remain intact in isolated places across the site, but we had little hope of locating sufficiently preserved midden along the Trench 2 profile to warrant the effort it would take to uncover the entire 210-ft long exposure.

Fortunately, our initial test units uncovered something we were not prepared to see but which proved to fulfill our needs for internal chronology. In all places where we exposed the clay floor of the Cosgroves’ block excavation we observed the outlines of pit features. The Cosgroves located and excavated 110 such features, as well as hearths and human burials, and we found clear evidence of ones they had worked. However, we also located pits they overlooked, such as the one bisected by the trench fill in Figure 2. Like those found by the Cosgroves, unexcavated pits we encountered penetrated as much as 120 cm into the basal clay. They typically contained an organic-rich clay loam with shell, charcoal, abundant vertebrate bone, and numerous diagnostic artifacts. Here then was a resource we did not expect to have: a rich assemblage of well-preserved “time capsules” in the very location excavated by the Cosgroves. What is more, stains of back-filled features in their excavation block could be correlated with the published locations of features, so we were able to overlay the Cosgroves’ excavation plan on our modern map despite the lack of a datum from 1929.

Rather than put all our efforts into the redigging of the Cosgroves’ block, we took the opportunity to open up several looters’ pits to explore the potential for preserved midden and submidden features in other portions of the site. A total of six such pits were investigated with five 2 x 2-m and one 1 x 2-m units. The procedure in each case was to orient the test unit so that one edge would align roughly with the wall of the looter’s pit, thereby providing at least one good profile of the midden from surface to basal clay. In all but one unit in the core of the site, the entire profile consisted of reworked midden deposits. Still, in all but one case, the submidden clay preserved evidence for intact pit features. All told, 54 pit features were located, mapped, and excavated in the 51 m2 of test units in looters’ pits and the Cosgroves’ block combined. A sample of the features is provided in Figure 3. Given the rich organic fill and associated artifacts of most of these features, it goes without saying that they more than fulfilled our needs for developing an internal chronology for Stallings Island.

One additional surprise awaited us in the testing of looters’ pits. Down the slope of the east side of the “mound” was an especially large and deep looter’s pit (ca. 5 m in diameter) that exposed shell deposits at least 2.5 m deep (Figure 4). This was the area first tested by the Cosgroves’ in 1929. In his report of this work, Claflin (1931:5) interpreted the profile as midden fill that was eroded from upslope by floodwaters and redeposited in an old flood chute. Clearly the eastern margin of the “mound” had suffered severe erosion from floods of the late 1920s (Claflin 1931:2), so I never thought to question Claflin’s assessment of these deep deposits. However, as we began to expose a profile in this large looters’ pit (LP81) it became apparent that the upper meter was in fact redeposited fill (flood or looter), but that the lower two meters reflected intact shell midden. Once we recognized this fact, a pedestal roughly 1 x 1 m in size was left standing in the northwest corner of the unit and then removed in natural levels for 1/8-inch waterscreening and flotation sampling. Devoid of pottery but rich in shell, charcoal, fire-cracked rock and soapstone cooking stones, this column provided additional materials for dating, along with a variety of subsistence and paleoecological data.

Radiocarbon Assays

With the full recovery of fill from dozens of large pit features and a shell column, this project ended up with much more than it bargained for. National Geographic sponsorship, however, was for the express purpose of obtaining samples for dating, so I restrict further discussion in this short report to the results and interpretation of 17 radiocarbon assays obtained thus far.
Table 1 provides data on each of the assays, subdivided by the three major phases of occupation at the site and a residual category. The results are very gratifying. The classic Stallings component of the site is securely dated from 3800-3500 rcybp with five assays on samples from four pit features, each containing the diagnostic drag-and-jab punctate fiber-tempered pottery. The oldest date in this set is the single assay derived from freshwater clam shell from Feature 17 (Beta-133185). Previous efforts at dating paired samples of charcoal and shell from the nearby Mims Point site (38ED9) returned consistently comparable results at one-sigma (Sassaman 1998), suggesting that any reservoir effect on shellfish in the area is virtually negligible. The three paired samples analyzed in this effort (F. 17, F.42, and LP81-VI) returned less satisfying results, although all but one pair (LP81-VI) are statistically indistinguishable at the two-sigma range. Thus, freshwater shell dating in the middle Savannah continues to be relatively reliable. Charcoal was the preferred material when samples allowed, but shell was in fact used to obtain nine of the 17 assays.

The Mill Branch phase component at Stallings Island was dated to roughly 4200-4100 rcybp by samples from three features and the upper shell strata of LP81. All five assays overlap at one-sigma. Not all of these contexts produced definitive Mill Branch artifacts, but they each provided circumstantial evidence for the phase (predominance of metavolcanic flakes, soapstone, lack of pottery). The surprise here is the association between Mill Branch and large quantities of shellfish remains. Prior work at Stallings Island suggested that intensive shellfishing accompanied the introduction of pottery during classic Stallings times (i.e., post 3800 B.P.). Clearly this was not the case. The accumulations evident in LP81 suggest that the relative use of shellfish was misinterpreted due to sampling bias: previous efforts focused only in the core of the midden (i.e., the habitation area), where Stallings households discarded shellfish remains in large pits, whereas their preceramic predecessors did not. The LP81 profile shows that preceramic Mill Branch inhabitants harvested and ate freshwater shellfish intensively, throwing the remains over the sides of the “mound” into an area heretofore interpreted as flood-eroded and redeposited fill.

The basal strata of the shell column of LP81 places the onset of midden accumulation at about 4400-4300 rcybp, and perhaps a few centuries earlier. This time frame coincides with the Paris Island phase, defined largely through excavations of sites in the upper Savannah River valley (Wood et al. 1986; see Elliott et al. 1994:370). Neither of the two Stallings Island features yielding Paris Island-age assays (F. 29 and 42) included diagnostic artifacts, but they were devoid of pottery. Irrespective of artifact associations, the Paris Island-age assays from LP81 are supported by their stratigraphic position at the base of the deposit. Again, pottery was completely absent throughout the LP81 shell column.

Putting the Stallings Island assays into regional context, several significant new findings can be advanced (Figure 5). First, the antiquity of intensive riverine settlement and shellfishing in the Middle Savannah can be pushed back some two to three centuries. The cultural affiliation of this early phase cannot be specified presently, although it almost certainly reflects lineal ancestry of those communities comprising the Mill Branch phase. Second, dates for Mill Branch occupation at Stallings Island corroborate those from the nearby Ed Marshall site, the only other Mill Branch riverine settlement dated radiometrically. Together the Mill Branch components at Ed Marshall and Stallings Island reflect intensive riverine occupations dating from 4200-4000 rcybp; the only other dated contexts for Mill Branch in the Middle Savannah region come from two sites in the interriverine uplands: Hitchcock Woods and the Mill Branch type site, both dating to the 4000-3800 rcybp interval. Whereas the lack of riverine Mill Branch components dating to this latter aspect of the phase might be attributed to sample error alone, the existence of early Stallings components spanning this interval at three riverine (or river-adjacent) sites (Victor Mills, Uchee Creek, and Ed Marshall) renders this prospect less likely. Thus, the co-existence of Mill Branch and early Stallings communities from ca. 4000-3800 rcybp is becoming firmly established. In this regard, the absence of an early Stallings component at Stallings Island is conspicuous. Previous investigations of the island noted the occurrence of plain fiber-tempered pottery (Bullen and Greene 1970), one of the hallmarks of early Stallings material culture. However, the truly defining characteristic of early Stallings pottery is the thickened or flanged lips of plain, basin-shaped vessels (because later, decorated pottery involves the use of zoned motifs that leave large portions of vessels undecorated, plain body sherds alone are not terribly diagnostic). Such forms were exceedingly rare in the hundreds of rim sherds recovered in this project. Granted, other parts of the Stallings Island site may very well hold evidence for occupations during this early ceramic phase.

Finally, the five assays obtained from features with classic Stallings pottery conform generally with dates from other classic Stallings components in the region. All five dates overlap at two sigma (3600-3650 rcybp), matching the statistical range of assays from the well-dated Mims Point site. However, the tight cluster of three dates from separate, well-defined features at Stallings Island suggests that the classic Stallings component actually spans the last few decades of occupation in the region (ca. 3510-3540 rcybp). Riverine sites in the middle Savannah are completely abandoned after about 3500 rcybp and would not be again occupied in any significant fashion for centuries, long after Stallings Culture dissolved.

At the time of this writing, several other samples from Stallings Island are being prepared for radiocarbon analysis. One goal of this final effort is to bolster the dating of the shell column of LP81 to determine whether it represents a continuous sequence spanning two or more centuries, or discrete episodes of rapid deposition at either end of this time span. The second goal is to bolster the dating of the classic Stallings component(s) to determine whether it indeed represent occupations on the eve of regional abandonment, or an array of occupations spanning the entire 200-300-year history of classic Stallings Culture.


The National Geographic-sponsored expedition to Stallings Island was a complete success. Although the initial goal of locating and sampling one of the profiles of the 1929 excavation was not realized, the discovery of intact features throughout the site was welcomed consolation. In addition, we located deeply stratified midden deposits in a portion of the site long regarded as destroyed. Together the midden and features provided ample opportunity for radiometric dating in contexts rich in diagnostic artifacts, subsistence remains, and other data classes. Detailed mapping of the core of the site and subsurface testing will aid the Archaeological Conservancy in its effort to stabilize and preserve Stallings Island. Our work demonstrated unequivocally that the site has much untapped potential for scientific investigation. The National Geographic-sponsored work satisfied the need for an internal chronology for the site; the goal now is to obtain additional funding to inventory and analyze the enormous volume of artifacts and subsistence remains obtained in this project.

References Cited

Bullen, R. P. and Greene, H. B. (1970) Stratigraphic Tests at Stallings Island, Georgia. Florida Anthropologist 23:8–23.

Claflin, W. H., Jr. (1931) The Stalling’s Island Mound, Columbia County, Georgia. Cambridge: Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology Papers 14(1).

Crusoe, D. L. and DePratter, C. B. (1976) A New Look at the Georgia Coastal Shellmound Archaic. Florida Anthropologist 29, 1:1–23.

Elliott, D. T., Ledbetter, R. J. and Gordon, E. A. (1994) Data Recovery at Lovers Lane, Phinizy Swamp and the Old Dike Sites Bobby Jones Expressway Extension Corridor Augusta, Georgia. Atlanta: Occasional Papers in Cultural Resource Management 7, Georgia Department of Transportation.

Fairbanks, C. H. (1942) The Taxonomic Position of Stalling’s Island, Georgia. American Antiquity 7:223-231.

Sassaman, K. E. (1998b) Distribution, Timing, and Technology of Early Pottery in the Southeastern United States. Revista de Arquelolgia Americana 14:101-133.

Williams, S. (1968) Appendix: Radiocarbon Dates from the Georgia Coast, in S. Williams (ed.) The Waring Papers: The Collected Works of Antonio J. Waring, Jr., pp. 329-332, Cambridge, Mass.: Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.

Wood, W. D., Elliott, D. F., Rudolph, T. P., and Blanton, D. B. (1986) Prehistory in the Richard B. Russell Reservoir: The Archaic and Woodland Periods of the Upper Savannah River. Atlanta: Russell Papers 1986, Archeological Services, National Park Service.

15 Men (and 2 women) on a deadman’s chest
December 19, 2009

Rita and I returned today from a weeklong excursion to the southern tip of the U.S. Travel to Savannah by Saturn to Miami by Amtrak to Key West by Shuttle to Tortugas by Ferry and return by same. Among the highlights, our ferry served to escort 17 new Cuban arrivals from Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas to Key West. Their boat, on which they floated for two days, was tiny and patched together. Below are two photos: one shows their boat, as viewed from inside Fort Jefferson; the other shows a group of them (and me, a NPS law enforcement officer and another tourist) on our ferry for the return ride.

Battles of Lovejoy Revisited
November 14, 2009

Archaeological field research documenting the various Civil War engagements near Lovejoy, Georgia will resume in December, 2009. The research is spearheaded by the Georgia Department of Transportation and Southeastern Archeological Services, Inc., Athens, Georgia. This effort will focus on a proposed highway corridor for improving traffic on Jonesboro Road. Preliminary survey work revealed that this path crosses many Civil War battlefield resources.Battles took place along this strip of land in August, September and November, 1864. The upcoming research will serve to better document these resources and to recover data from the highway corridor. This should prove to be an enlightening retelling of the final days in the struggle for control of Atlanta, and the very beginnings of Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea campaign.

Artillery Cache Discovered at Lovejoy
October 11, 2009

Mark Pollard, Henry County Historian and the guiding light for the Nash Farm Battlefield Park, unearthed a cache of 42 unfired artillery shells from the Civil War era on October 9, 2009. The find was first discovered by a landowner in a residential neighborhood, who exposed one artillery shell while digging a water line in his hard with a ditch witch. The landowner contacted Pollard, who recovered the remaining 41 shells. Pollard notes that this house is in the approximate position of an artillery battery of the U.S. 15th Army Corps, who were engaged in the September, 1864 Battle of Lovejoy. The cache, shown below, is currently being defused and cleaned for ultimate display in the Nash Farm museum.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Pollard.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Pollard.

Slant Six–an Athens band of Archaeologists
May 22, 2009

The Slant Six (aka Slant 6 or Slant VI) was formed in the Summer of 1981 in a tiny green tin house on the Commerce Highway, several miles north of Athens, Georgia. This house was a converted garage and was then rented by one archaeologist named Elliott.  The landlady was a elderly beautician and former local pornographic film actress of little acclaim. The Reagan-era had quickly trickled down upon the small community of archaeologists and during this period, one archaeologist named Spencer and another named Griffin came to stay in the green metal house for a few weeks. One evening one archaeologist named Schoettmer dropped by for a few cold ones and before the night was done, the band was solidified. Why the name Slant 6 you ask? The name Slant 6 was not chosen because three members of the band drove Dodge-Plymouth products with the enduring Slant-6 engine, just as R.E.M. was not named for Rapid Eye Movement–yeah right! The original Slant Six musical revue is not to be confused with numerous late-comers and copy bands. Below is a summary of the legacy of this quintessential archaeology band.

Although the band was formed in 1981, the roots of the band extend back to early June 1977 in Greensboro, Georgia. There, in a former boarding house, 35 University of Georgia Fieldschool students established their home. For those of who that do not remember, 1977 was avery hot year in central Georgia. The 100+ degree temperatures and lack of any cooling forced them onto the expansive front porch for most of their waking hours, when not in the field. Later-to-be Slant VI frontman, Elliott, was given the job of “House Mother” to this herd of archaeology wannabes. Elliott had the only guitar in the house, and soon provided entertainment on the porch. Many songs later performed by the Slant VI began on this porch or other parts of rural Greene County, Georgia.

The Original Band, July, 1981 Lead guitar, harmonica, electric saw, cheap metal detector, and vocals: Daniel Thornton Elliott, Esquire Rhythm guitar and vocals: Jean Spencer Lead vocals: Ronald “Eggplant” Schoettmer Rockem’ Sockem’ Robot guitar, amplified beer can, and token hippie: Michael “Chief” Griffin Haunted Illinois Mental Hospital Saxophone and Manager: R. Jerald Ledbetter (in absentia) Performances: Nightly, August 1981, Twila Motel, Leachville, Arkansas Tunes from this Phase of the Band’s Existence included: Pencil-necked Geek Mastodon Stomp Ice Cream Social Leapin’ Into Leachville The Bible.

The Band, October to December, 1981 Ditto: Elliott, Spencer, Schoettmer, and Griffin Bass guitar: Mark Williams Accordion: Chad Braley Manager: Cynthia Leigh Williams Performances: Halloween, 1981, Constantine Comolli Mansion, Elberton, Georgia December, 1981, Coffee Club, Athens, Georgia Tunes from this Phase of the Band’s Existence included: Ramona Double Fisted Sister Twister Plymouth Rock Immaculate Misconception

The Band, April 1982 Ditto: Elliott, Spencer, Schoettmer, and Griffin Occasional Lead Guitars: Bones and High Gear Performances: House on a Hillside above a Cave and Sinkhole and Next Door to the former Grand Dragon of the KKK, Erin, Tennessee Tunes from this Phase of the Band’s Existence included: I Need a Sedative Arctic Circle Jerk Mike the Trilobite I’ve Got a Speech Problem Jumper Cables Pine Sol Biscuits Watsnu Pussycat? or Wayward Paleoindians Do Tom Jones, I am a Mass Murderer.

The Band, 1983 and 1984 Ditto: Elliott, Spencer, Schoettmer, Williams, and Braley Drums: W. Dean Wood 2nd Lead guitar: Gary Shapiro Production Engineer: Jim Hawkins Manager: Cynthia Leigh Williams (1983) Performances: Summer 1983 and 1984, Uptown Lounge, Athens, Georgia Tunes from this Phase of the Band’s Existence included: We are the Beef People Drive Me Crazy French and Indian Dip Highway 15 Woodstork, Palm of My Hand, Hey Buddy!

The Band, 1987 Ditto: Elliott, Spencer, Schoettmer, Williams, Braley, Wood, and Shapiro Mandolin: Jim Errante Clarinet: William Marquardt Master of Ceremonies: Vincent Macek Performances: Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Charleston, South Carolina Tunes from this Phase of the Band’s Existence included: Flippa’ The Band, 1990 Ditto: Elliott, Spencer, Schoettmer, Williams, Braley and Wood Mandolin: Jim Errante Clarinet: William Marquardt Master of Ceremonies: Vincent Macek Performances: Society for American Archaeology, International Ballroom, Atlanta, Georgia Tunes from this Phase of the Band’s Existence included: Third of a Fifth Pitiful covers of old favorites, including Mudcat and Key to the Highway

The Band, 1999 Ditto: Elliott, Williams, Braley, and Wood Keyboards: Chris LeBlanc 2nd Lead guitar: Scot Keith 2nd Bass guitar: William Zimmerman, IV. Performances: Society for Georgia Archaeology Reception, Columbus, Georgia Tunes from this Phase of the Band’s Existence included: The Bart Simpson on a Stick March.

The Band, 2000 Ditto: Elliott, Schoettmer, Williams, Braley, and Wood 2nd Lead guitar: Matt Wood 2nd Bass guitar: William Zimmerman, IV Performances: Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Georgia Music Hall of Fame, Macon, Georgia. This was a lackluster-era in the band’s history. Actually, this performance really sucked! But hey, we did play the Georgia Music Hall of Fame!!!


Stoned on the Rock
Words and music by Daniel T. Elliott and Paul Arthur Webb, Siloam, Georgia 1977.

Key of G

Jesus gave me papers,
He gave me his roach clip,
He even gave me matches,
He said, “here, take a hit!”
I took a toke for Jesus,
And now I’m stoned on life,
I’m stoned on the rock of Jesus Christ,

Oh Lord I’m Stoned on the Rock,
Stoned on the Rock,
Stoned on the Rock of Jesus Christ,
Of Jesus Christ,
Oh Well I’m Stoned on the Rock,
Oh Yes I’m Stoned on the Rock,
Stoned on the Rock of Jesus Christ.

The cop he pulled me over,
He said, “You sure looked stoned!”
I said, “It’s just a headache,
won’t you please take me home?”
A voice rang out from Heaven,
“The Kid is Stoned on Pot!”
I said, “Gee thanks Jesus”,
“Goddammit, thanks a lot!”, and now I’m,


Now Christ has a great personality,
Lord knows he sure can cook,
Anyway you look at it,
He’s O.K. in my book,
Every time I’m horny,
He sets me up with twat,
And everytime I wanna get stoned,
He lets me smoke his pot and now I’m,


The Bible

Words and Music by Daniel T. Elliott, Erin, Tennessee, March, 1982

Key of E

On the first day, God created the heavens and the earth,

On the second day, he created the Slant Six engine,

On the third day, he created the Electric guitar,

And on the fourth day, on the fourth day,

He created this Big Fat Red Man, who started giving away free things, and this Rabbit that was laying eggs,

Oh but he wouldn’t let Poor Jesus, let Poor Jesus, play in any reindeer games, He said,


Jesus, with your nose so bright,

Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?

Jesus, with your nose so bright,

Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?


And this Big Fat Red Man,

Was givin’ away free things,

And this Rabbit was layin’ eggs,

This Big Fat Red Man,

Was givin’ away free things,

And this Rabbit was layin’ eggs,

But they wouldn’t let poor Jesus, let poor Jesus,

Play in any reindeer games,

No, they wouldn’t let poor Jesus, let poor Jesus,

Play in any reindeer games,

They said,

[REPEAT CHORUSES 1 & 2 to infinity]

Burned Beyond Recognition

Words and music by Daniel T. Elliott, Granite Village, Nova Scotia, January, 1982.

Key of G

I went to the welding shop today,
To see my little girl,
I wanted to see what she had to say,
My mind was in a swirl,
I asked her if she’d been cheatin on me,
I had a good idea that she might be,
But she turned around with her welding torch,
The first thing you know,
My body was scorched,

And I’ve been burned, fried,
Battered up, roasted and broasted,
Your love set me on fire,
Til like a piece of bread I was toasted.

Yes I’ve been burned, fired,
Heated to the point of ignition,
Your love set me on fire,
Til I was burned beyond recognition.



Words and Music by Daniel T. Elliott, Ronald Schoettmer, and Jean Spencer, Elberton, Georgia, 1981

Ramona changed her mind,

Ramona changed her mind,

We thought she was dead,

But she only changed her head,

You know Ramona changed her mind.

Ramona works all day,

Ramona works all night,

Working so hard she nearly lost it all,

You know Ramona changed her mind.

Ramona changed her mind,

Ramona changed her mind,

We thought she was dead,

But she only changed her head,

You know Ramona changed her mind.

Follow link below for video of instrumental (slightly retarded) version of Ramona:


Now then, a little background information about the song, Ramona:

Ramona was a large doll. It was late September, 1982. We found her in a dump in Elbert County, Georgia, mixed with debris from a cemetery, including faded plastic flowers and rotted green styrofoam. The debris was piled on an earlier dump of cut granite fragments. Elberton prides itself as granite capitol of the world. I prefer the title, “tombstone capitol of the world”. So, obviously we couldn’t just leave Ramona lying there, so we took her back to our archaeology fieldhouse, the Constantine Comoli mansion in Elberton. [This grand palace, complete with a dedicated telephone room and a toaster room, has since been bulldozed to make way for a widened highway.] Ramona simply loved her new home. We were curious and inspected her for any diagnostic information, for which we were immediately rewarded. Let me first describe her to you. Ramona stood about 2 feet tall, she wore a pink fluffy dress and a simple faux pearl necklace, she had red hair and her face was green. The green was acquired from decades of repose in a graveyard. On her upper chest was written in red ink, “Dec. 25, 1957”. Curiouser and curiouser she became. She made herself comfortable in our den bookcase. Now on a separate reconnaissance trip several days later, Dean and I were riding out a rural dirt road in Elbert County when we spied something odd in the middle of the road. It was a goat skull, well aged and apparently drug into the road by a neighborhood dog. The skull was impressive with its large twisted horns and it immediately went into our vehicle and we returned to the field house.

Now I should mention that Ron, our lead singer, was visiting us and Ron and I discussed making a photo-essay with Ramona Comoli as the subject. One thing led to another, we purchased a jar of peanut butter and with camera and Ramona in hand, we headed for the abandoned granite quarry on the west side of town (the one seen in the movie, Breaking Away). Our intent was to smear peanut butter over Ramona and film the thousands of stunted bream, who called the quarry pond home, as they feasted on Ramona. What we did not anticipate, however, was the laziness and timidity of these fish. They were hungry, for sure, but they waited for the chunks of peanut butter to drift down. They were apparently afraid of Ramona, maybe it was the green face.

Dejected and disappointed, we returned home with a soggy Ramona. We returned to a raging fire in the fireplace and we set Ramona by the fire to dry. Ron removed her head and we discovered it filled with wet cotton. While the contents of her head were drying, Ron held up the headless body and paired it with the body-less goat head, and thus, Ramon had changed her mind.

Ramona worked for a while in October and November as a figurehead on our john boat. She led the way through the fog across the Savannah River to Paris Island. As the archaeological excavation progressed, Ramona volunteered to serve security duty. She suspended herself on a rope over our block excavation to ensure that evil doers did not do evil in our Late Archaic bonanza. She and Roy Dickens met there and struck up a friendship-cut short by his early death.

Fast forward to the Coffee Club in early December, 1982, Ramona took the stage with the rest of the band. She was a smash hit. When the music finally ended around five in the morning, Ramona parted ways with the band. She was taken by the lady who ran the Coffee Club, we thought it was just a short term loan, sort of an Athens stay-cation, but the Coffee Club closed down and the owner moved to New York City, taking Ramona with her for all we know. Her picture never appeared on a milk carton and we never saw Ramona again. I have some faded photographs in a box somewhere, and Chief still has her eyeball in his “Table of Neat Weird Things”, but mostly Ramona is remembered in song.

A Plea for Help!
April 3, 2009

State funding for archaeology in Georgia is currently on the chopping block. Nonetheless, the LAMAR Institute is a proud supporter of the 2009 Georgia Archaeology Month festivities. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signs the proclamation for these events on April 2, 2009.

April 2, 2009

April 2, 2009

Can you find the plea for help in this picture? Look closely.


Above the Ear

Above the Ear

Guten Tag Bubba: Germans in the Colonial South
January 13, 2009

Guten Tag Bubba: Germans in the Colonial South

Daniel T. Elliott and Rita Folse Elliott

SHA 2000, Quebec


“As American as hot dogs and apple pie”…could have easily have become “as American as bratwurst and strudel”. During the colonial period numerous German settlements populated the Carolinas and more than one-third of Georgia consisted of German immigrants. Where were these settlements and how did they affect the American south? This paper presents an overview of these settlements while examining some of the more germane results of archaeological excavations among them. It highlights the site of New Ebenezer, in colonial Georgia, to provide a more specific view of German life in one such settlement. How did the British government, other colonists, and German settlers define colonial German culture in southern America? When and how did the parameters of German culture change? Is “Germaness” reflected in the material culture recovered archaeologically and can the process of German acculturation or non-acculturation be isolated in the archaeological record?

Guten Tag Bubba: Germans in the Colonial South

Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology

January 2000, Quebec

Daniel T. Elliott and Rita Folse Elliott

Southern Research Historic Preservation Consultants, Inc.

Columbus, Georgia

Written Draft Version

King George I was a German, as was George II and George III. The ethnicity of England’s 18th century monarchs is often overlooked, yet it undoubtedly played a role in stocking the American colonies. Historians estimate that at least 65,000, and perhaps as many as 100,000 Germans immigrated to colonial America (Moltman 1982:9). The most well-known example of such German settlement is the Pennsylvania Dutch, although German Lutheranism was firmly established in Georgia eight years prior to Pennsylvania’s Lutheran beginnings (Bernheim 1872:ix). The Southeastern colonies, especially Georgia and the Carolinas could boast as much as one-half of their populations as German. Political boundaries in Europe in the 18th century were dynamic and contained no specific country called “Germany”; so who were these Germans? The British government defined ethnicity according to language spoken. Immigrants from Alsac, Austria, Bohemia, Herrnhut, Hungary, Moravia, the Palatinate region (that is the area of Heidelberg by the Rhine River), Salzburg, Saxony, Swabia, Switzerland, Wurttemberg, and Wurzburg, were lumped into the category “German” because they spoke the German language. This commonality was cosmetic on one level, however, as the language was divided into High and Low German, and contained Bavarian, Silesian, Rhenish-Franconian, and many other dialects. When the German Lutheran minister Johann Boltzius met his new German congregation prior to their trans-Atlantic voyage to Georgia, he could not understand their dialect, nor they his, even though all were “German”. So where did these British-defined German immigrants to the colonial Southeast settle and how did they: define themselves; interact with each other; acculturate; and thrive or perish? How did they affect southern culture and what markers of ethnicity did they leave in the archaeological record?

Colonial German settlement in America began in earnest in 1709 and ended in 1783, and included areas of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and what is now North and South Carolina. This paper will focus on the Germans who settled pre-Revolutionary War Georgia and the Carolinas. Towns settled by German immigrants were established for one or more of the following reasons: as a haven from religious persecution; as a place of economic opportunity to provide trades, land, farms, and freedom from enormous European tax burdens; as a place of civil freedoms; as a buffer from Spanish and Native American aggression towards already established settlements; and as a place to produce raw materials for the British empire. From a German perspective, the freedoms were highlighted in a recruiting statement made by Johannes Tobler who told Germans contemplating emigration to America, “People are free and everyone, so to speak, a little king, a fact which cannot be changed…” (Tobler 1740).

The areas of settlement in much of Georgia and the Carolinas offered to German colonists were often inferior to areas provided for English settlement. This is obvious in Georgia trustee’s policy of reserving settlement along the prime lands of the Savannah River for the English, rather than Germans. Also, the English were first into much of the central South Carolina region and were able to choose the choicest properties. Later influx of Germans, however, resulted in decreased English settlement. This decrease was not due to any ethnic hostilities, but rather to the fact that later areas of settlement lacked the natural resources that the English deemed necessary for habitation. The Germans could not be so particular.

From the establishment of New Bern, North Carolina in 1709 to the beginnings of the later Moravian towns in the 1770s, nearly two dozen predominantly German settlements were located in colonial Georgia and the Carolinas. Some settlements encountered a swift demise, or were not populated by a German majority. The earliest documented settlement was in 1674, when a small group of Deutsch Lutherans established the settlement of Jamestown on James Island, South Carolina. It was unsuccessful and was abandoned within a few years. Germans came into Charleston after 1708 and successfully settled that city, in addition to English, Irish, and other ethnic immigrants. Many other settlements consisted of greater percentages of German colonists and became successfully established in the Carolinas and Georgia.

A total of 1,500 Swiss and Palatinate Germans established the town of New Berne on the North Carolina coast in 1709. There, Swiss Baron Christopher de Graffenreid purchased 10,000 acres and established the settlement at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers. The Tuscarora War of 1711 resulted in Indian attacks and at least 60 German deaths in New Berne (Bernheim 1872:72). The New Berne settlement survived the war by remaining neutral and in 1714 its residents successfully petitioned for more land. Although New Berne represents the single largest influx of German settlement, the settlers quickly dispersed and most German aspects of the town, other than its name, are gone. One faction of this settlement splintered and established a town in interior Virginia.

In 1732 the town of Purysburg was established in South Carolina, across the Savannah River from where New Ebenezer would be located four years later. This large, planned town contained 450 lots, of which only 200 at most were ever occupied. Germans constituted one quarter of the 500 Purysburgers, with Swiss and French making up the remainder (Meriwether 1940:35). The urban architect of Purysburg, Jean Pierre Pury, died within a few years of the town’s founding. Purysburg suffered for lack of leadership, although the town persisted as an urban center into the early 19th century.

In 1734 a group of persecuted Lutheran pietists who were expelled from Salzburg by the Catholic princes journeyed to the colony of Georgia where they settled the town of Ebenezer, on a tributary of the Savannah River. After two grueling years at an ill-suited location that did not allow access to river transportation, and the deaths of one-third of the original Salzburger settlers from dysentery, typhus, and other illnesses, the colonial trustees allowed the survivors to relocate to a bluff on the Savannah River a few miles away. It took the Salzburgers two years to convince the Georgia Trustees and James Oglethorpe to disregard their stated ethnic policies reserving the Savannah River for English settlers (Jones 1969:6). New Ebenezer was peopled with several more transports of Germans consisting predominantly of non-Salzburgers. By the 1760s Ebenezer was a thriving township of 800-1,000 Germans and townspeople helped establish the satellite communities of Abercorn, Bethany, Halifax, Goshen, New Gottingen, and Zion. Religious and political infighting and alternating occupations of British and American forces during the Revolutionary War permanently crippled the town of New Ebenezer.

In 1735 the Lutheran settlement of Orangeburg was established on a tributary of the Edisto River, adjacent to the town of Amelia in South Carolina. This tributary lacked navigability due to its narrowness and many obstacles. Thus, Orangeburg settlers suffered the same riverine transportation problems as did colonists at Ebenezer. In spite of this major hurdle, by 1753 Orangeburg was reportedly as densely occupied as Saxe-Gotha, and inhabited mostly by Germans (Tobler 1753). An estimated 800 settlers resided in the township by 1759 (Meriwether 1940:46). The present-day town of Orangeburg, which has shifted from the original site, exhibits no obvious signs of its German beginnings.

In 1735 the Moravians, led by August Spangenberg, established a foreign mission in coastal Georgia at the Irene settlement on Pipemaker’s Creek. Their goal was to proselytize to the Native Americans. The increasing threat of Spanish attack in the Savannah area and Savannah’s citizens efforts to bolster the town’s defenses led to friction with the Moravians, who were avowed pacifists. After five years the dozen families living there grew tired of local attempts to force them into military defense of the colony, and they “…saw no other prospect…but to forsake their flourishing little settlement and emigrate for the North” [that is, Pennsylvania] (Henry 1859:103).

In 1737 New Windsor was established in South Carolina, southeast of Augusta, Georgia, on the Savannah River. The township was settled predominantly by Swiss Germans, and it maintained a steady total population of around 300 people between 1738 and 1760 (Meriwether 1940:67). This population also included a number of Indian traders who influenced the local economy.

The township of Saxe-Gotha was established in 1737. An observer named Riemensperger reported back to Germans in Europe that “no township as yet is reported its equal for good land…[It] is only 125 miles from Charleston and on the Great Santee River, and people can go from here at will with heavily laden boats to trade by water when enough boatmen come here to settle and establish themselves…The trail here is cut through the forest wide enough so that people can travel by land in wagons back and forth to Charles Town” (Riemensperger 1740). Riemensperger’s recruiting was a success and between 1744-50 a large influx of settlers arrived, mostly from the Rhine area. Documents indicate that the Saxe-Gotha congregation consisted of about 280 people in 1750 (Bernheim 1872:142). In 1759-60 the Cherokee War affected townspeople and later the American Revolution destroyed the town’s church (Bernheim 1872:147.)

Between one-half to two-thirds of Germans immigrating to the colonies did so through indentured servitude. This practice was encouraged by tracts being circulated across Europe. Riemensperger, for example, returned to Europe from the Carolinas in 1740 with testimonials signed by German colonists. Riemensperger’s tract encouraged emigration by explaining indentured servitude in this fashion: “Also it is well known that in Germany and Switzerland there are poor, unemployed hardworking people who would delight themselves in this gift of land [that is, the 50 acre headright], but who cannot afford the expense of the passage across the sea. Arrangements are such that laborers and tradespeople of all sorts and kinds who scarcely know how to make a living in Germany or Switzerland can live in plenty here [in what is now South Carolina] and in a short time make themselves well-to-do” (Riemensperger 1740). Such marketing of the colonies by Riemensperger and others was successful. Recruits who survived the voyage and their five to seven years of indentured servitude were free to establish a household on their own.

One example of this is the Georgia coastal town of Vernonburg, settled by Swiss-German indentured servants who had worked off their five-year indenture. At Vernonburg such “redemptioners” were given land and some tools by British colonial trustees to facilitate their independence. Established in 1742, Vernonburg was also a planned settlement that later evolved into a primarily ethnic British village.

Fort Frederica was a major British outpost located on Georgia’s St. Simon’s Island. One lesser known section of the settlement was called the “German Village” and was home to a small contingent of about 70 Germans. These Germans built most of the houses in Frederica. By 1747, however, all but two families had left Fort Frederica after the fort’s military regiment was removed. Presumably, the German Village was abandoned at the same time.

By 1750 German colonists, including Lutherans and Reformed Germans, were emigrating from Pennsylvania in a steady trickle via the Shenandoah River valley, to settle in the southeast. In 1753 the Moravians established themselves in an area of the Yadkin River valley called “Wachovia” or “Wachau” near present-day Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They established the town of Bethabara that year and then constructed Bethany and Salem nearby in the ensuing 13 years. The Moravians established three additional settlement in Wachovia between 1769-1772 (Bernheim 1872:159). All of these pacifist communities suffered during the American Revolution, but the Moravian element remains vibrant in this region today.

Londonderry was a settlement of several hundred Palatines that was established in the South Carolina Piedmont, near the French town of New Bordeaux, northeast of Augusta, Georgia. The town did not prosper and it is one of the least known German settlements.

How did these Germans, dispersed across the colonial frontier, define themselves in this foreign land? Apparently there were two major criteria that colonial Germans used to define themselves. The first was geography, or the location of their motherland. Émigrés came from Austria, Bohemia, Herrnhut, Hungary, Moravia, the Palatinate, Salzburg, Saxony, Wurttemberg, and Wurzberg. The majority of Germans to America immigrated from the area that is now southern Germany. The second, and perhaps most important way colonial Germans defined themselves was by their religious theology. Some of the principal divisions were: Lutheran, Reformed (such as Calvinists and Presbyterian), Moravian, Episcopal, and Anabaptists (Mennonites and Amish). Among these were further divisions according to nuances of orthodoxy. For example, among the Lutherans were a pietist sect represented in its strictest form by Pastor Johann Boltzius and the New Ebenezer settlers. Germans of various denominations, or even among their own denominations, did not always condone each other’s habits. For instance the Lutheran pietists at New Ebenezer viewed the Moravians, who were the model for Lutheranism, as “disruptive innovators” because of the Moravian’s religious practices and communal living (Jones 1969:4). In spite of differences of opinion among various religious sects, there seems to have been a generally prevalent, over-riding attitude of ethnic cooperation. Johan Tobler wrote back to his countrymen in Switzerland that, “…there are Germans everywhere who are glad to advise and help new arrivals until they get on their feet (Tobler 1753)

In spite of the isolation of the frontier and the lack of communication technology that we so heavily depend upon today, the colonial Germans were surprisingly adept at inter- and intra-colonial and global communication. This network involved many of the major “movers and shakers” of the period, in Europe and America. The principal facilitators of missionary communication were European Institutions, including the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge; the Society for Promulgating the Gospel, the Moravian home church in Herrnhut, and the Francke Institute. For example, the Francke Institute in Halle (in the former East German Republic), encouraged their Lutheran missionaries to write long and frequent letters about the condition of their settlement. In turn G. A. Francke, aided by Samuel Urlsperger, who was the head of Evangelical Lutheran missions in Augsburg, read, edited, and published these accounts in Europe and/or redistributed them to their other missions in colonial America and around the world. This redistribution served multiple purposes: it allowed the leaders of the outlying missions to discover news on a local, regional, and global level; it allowed them to draw moral support from other missions; it helped raise financial support from benefactors in Europe and other areas; it allowed missionary leaders to petition for specific needs such as medicine, funds, and minsters; it kept Institute leaders current on mission status; and it enabled them to send advice and encouragement in return letters.

German missionaries took the task of communication seriously. Ebenezer’s Pastor Boltzuis wrote letters directly to General Oglethorpe and other trustees of Georgia, to Samuel Urlsperger, to the SPCK, who helped sponsor the settlers, and to other influential Europeans (Loewald et al 1957:219). Boltzius also maintained a diary at New Ebenezer throughout his life, sending entries back to the Francke Institute. These entries constitute 18 published volumes today, and offer a wealth of data to historical archaeologists about everything from who sinned to how much rain fell on a particular day. Frederica’s pastor Driessler also wrote letters to the Francke Institute, many a thousand lines long (Jones 1996:7). Driessler and Boltzius often wrote each other directly, as did Boltzius and Johannes Tobler of New Windsor. Written correspondence was also encouraged among the Moravians, whose missionaries kept detailed accounts of their work in the new World. The Moravian leaders Count Zinzendorf and August Gottlieb Spangenberg, who traveled between headquarters in Herrnhut, Europe and in Pennsylvania received communiques from the North Carolina missions and sent replies in return. The North Carolina Moravian records, written well into the nineteenth century, are published in a multi-volume series (Fries 1905, 1968).

German colonists were acculturated on one level but maintained their identity on another. Acculturation was rapid in practices dependent on survival, such as food and shelter, and much slower in matters such as religion and language. Numerous contemporary testimonials, accounts, and letters reveal that the New World was constantly compared to the old in terms of environment, botanical and animal specimens, weather, and geography. The limited and irregular shipment of supplies to the far-flung German settlements across the southern frontier, however, demanded that the settlers learn to use the natural resources available, no matter how foreign those resources might look or taste. Frederica’s Lutheran pastor Driessler wrote of brewing “small beer”, made by boiling a handful of roasted Indian corn in an iron pot with water, wood, sassafras, and molasses. English beer was too expensive and “as sour as vinegar” and the price of wine was “prohibitive” (Jones 1996:20). Driessler reported, “For lack of tea we have fetched cassina leaves in the forest…[for] cassina tea. My family has brewed Indian corn like coffee… (Jones 1996:21). But in true stoic, pietist Lutheran tradition Driessler admits that while, “Both [the tea and corn coffee] taste very bad, to be sure, yet we praise the Lord for not letting it harm us” (Jones 1996:21). Driessler reports that both, “The Germans and Englishmen eat raccoons and opossum meat like the Indians, but I can’t eat any of it because they look frightful like wild cats or half apes…” (Jones 1996:21). Frederica’s Germans also ate fish (though they were reportedly not as good as German fish), smoked mullet, raw oysters drizzled with orange juice, palmetto stalks, and sweet potatoes. They planted cabbage, greens, herbs, turnips, and watermelons, in addition to apple, orange and peach trees. The New Ebenezer Germans taught those at Frederica to “…boil Indian corn in water and afterwards put the dough on the fire” to make a bread (Jones 1996:21-22). Frequently the Frederica Germans survived on nothing but rice boiled in water with bear oil or lard, while awaiting word of provisions from England (Jones 1996:23).

In some ways, acculturation was encouraged by Germans. Johannes Tobler’s treatise encouraged other Germans not to “shy away from living among the English; they are, most of them, industrious people and good neighbors” (Tobler 1753). Interestingly, Tobler encouraged German settlement among the English rather than living among some Germans. Tobler told European Germans, “Whoever wants to come to America should not go to Pennsylvania. This place is good, to be sure, but it is a cold, wintry land so that the rivers [one and a half miles] wide freeze…Moreover, this province is as densely settled as Germany, and the land is expensive to buy…”(Tobler 1753). Obviously the intemperate weather and the price of land was viewed as a much larger problem than living among the English. The fact that Pennsylvania was heavily settled by Moravians also may have influenced the advice given by the Reformed Calvinist, Tobler. The relationship between the English and Germans could be seen in religion, as well. The Germans and English often shared minister. New Windsor lacked a minster, and made use of Reverend Zublin (or Zubly), who preached in both English and German to accommodate everyone in the area. Zublin’s father-in-law Tobler reported, “…many English people come here on Sunday, so that my living room…can hardly contain them” (Tobler 1753). Likewise, Orangeburg’s church record book was completed in German and English by two pastors, both named Giesendanner (Bernheim 1872:100-102).

The questions of acculturation and ethnicity are just two of the many fascinating subjects regarding German colonial sites in the southeast. Unfortunately, archaeology has been conducted on very few of these sites. This is one cause of the difficulty in determining German ethnic markers in the archaeological record. The only sites examined by archaeologists to date include: some of the Wachovia settlements in North Carolina; Dutch Fork, New Windsor, Purysburg, and Saxe-Gotha, South Carolina; and Irene, Old and New Ebenezer, Vernonburg, and Bethany, Georgia. Even this list is deceptive, as investigations conducted on some of the sites have been extremely limited in scope and often having consisted only of preliminary survey or reconnaissance data. The most intensive level investigations have been conducted at the following settlements: the Moravians at Wachovia’s Bethabara and Salem; the Swiss at New Windsor; the Lutheran Salzburgers at New Ebenezer; and the Swiss and Palatines at Vernonburg.

One marker of German ethnicity in the archaeological record may be found in ceramics. Jean Pierre Pury’s promotional treatise reported that in 1731, “There is not one potter in all the Province [of what is now South Carolina], and no earthenware but what comes from England, nor glass of any kind; so that a pot-house and a good glass house would succeed perfectly well, not only for Carolina but for all the other colonies in America” (Pury 1731). Pury’s wish was soon granted. A locally made coarse earthenware has been excavated at New Ebenezer from contexts as early as the 1740s. This pottery consists of a buff colored paste and either has no exterior treatment, or has a slip which is most often a yellow or yellowish green. Vessel forms include large cream pans, saucers, and jars. The New Ebenezer potter, George Gnann, was probably responsible for making some of the later vessels, but the maker of the earlier ware has not been identified. Archaeologists have recovered significant amounts of this drab coarse earthenware pottery from within a 10 mile radius of New Ebenezer but it is less common beyond that. Morphologically, the Ebenezer coarse earthenware resembles the Moravian slipware that was being manufactured in North Carolina during this period. The latter tended to be much more colorful and ornate than the plain, austere wares influenced by the pietistic Lutherans. Vessel forms were similar in some cases, however, such as the cream pans and plates.

Another potential marker of German ethnicity may involve architecture. The Moravians in Bethabara, North Carolina initially constructed hastily built log cabins. The following year, in 1754, they constructed the sleeping hall, a clapboard structure which was converted into a barn within a few years. They erected the dwelling house for strangers, or non-Moravian visitors, that same year built of log construction with a gabled end-chimney and a gabled roof (Idol et al 1996:2). Moravian drawings and diary accounts offer conflicting information as to what variation of the Alpine-Alemannic architecture was used at Bethabara. Diary accounts support a hewn-beamed and chinked structure. Drawings indicate that the structure would have had solid plank walls held at the corners by grooves in the corner posts (Idol et al 1996:3). Moravian architecture in North Carolina is marked by extensive use of stone in cellar construction, an attribute not seen in any of the German settlements in the coastal plain where stone is scarce. Orangeburg Germans also used wood and clay construction in the building of their original church, which fell into ruins by the 1770s (Bernheim 1872:124). In comparison, limited excavation at New Ebenezer has uncovered architectural elements that suggest in-ground posts structures with mud and stick chimneys (Smith 1986; Elliott 1990). The only surviving colonial house in Ebenezer, a 1750s timber frame and clapboard construction with sills resting on wooden piers. This house, however, has been relocated several times, so the foundation construction is altered. The house site excavated at New Windsor indicates post-in-ground architecture and limited use of brick (Crass et al 1997). A scarcity of brick is also a hallmark of New Ebenezer, except in the case of their main brick church, which was completed in 1769.

German ethnicity may be found in the reed stemmed, molded tobacco pipes made by the Moravians in the Wachovia settlements. These pipes are most commonly associated with potter Gottfried Aust, who was Bethabara’s potter from 1755. Similar pipes have been recovered from other German settlements in Pennsylvannia (Walker 1975:107). Only one example was excavated from New Ebenezer. While Moravian pottery also was popular with non-Germans, it may be that these specific pipes can still serve as ethnic German markers. This would be especially true if they are found to have been more popular among Germans than other groups.

A fourth indicator of German ethnicity may possibly involve medicines. Contemporary and modern historians have admitted that the Moravians were “ahead of their time in pharmacology and were quick to have their own apothecary and medicinal herb garden” (Moravian Museum at Bethlehem 1999). The colonists at New Ebenezer also had “…quite well prepared medicines from England and Halle”. In addition to these, they experimented with various herbs and medicines which they used among themselves and sold to other settlements. Their interest in remedies was apparent when Pastor Boltzius’ remarked that he wished an old Indian woman had waited to show him the plant of the root she brought him to cure his wife. Boltzius goes on to say that “Undoubtedly there are many such plants in these woods. My desire to collect some of these for our and our friends’ benefit is quite great” (Tresp 1963:23). The affinity towards understanding and producing medicines held by the Moravians and the New Ebenezer colonists may have been associated with their German background. Such proclivities may serve as ethnic markers, located in the archaeological record in the form of medicine bottles, pharmaceutical preparation aids such as mortars and pestles or other equipment, and ethnobotanical remains.

Obviously, German ethnic markers in the southeastern archaeological record are scant, at best. This is due to the lack of archaeological investigation on such sites and the rapid rate of acculturation during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Acculturation appears to have happened swiftly by the late 18th century, based on several indicators. The 1790 census records 2,300 people in South Carolina and 7,400 people in North Carolina claiming German nationality (U.S. Population Census 1790). (Statistics are unavailable for Georgia.) These totals reflect less than one percent of South Carolina’s population and just under two percent of the total population in North Carolina. Such low percentages (compared to approximately 50 percent during the second quarter of the 18th century) suggest that second and third generation German immigrants no longer called themselves German.

Language is another indicator of acculturation. Before 1800 the inhabitants of the Dutch Fork area of South Carolina spoke German, but by 1824 none of the school children were able to converse in that language (Mayer 1982:6). By 1825 the congregation of New Ebenezer was worshiping in English (Jones 1967:98). This appears to have been a natural evolution, since English had been taught regularly to the school children of New Ebenezer during the 18th century. The older generation of many communities was not as quick to abandon its heritage. As late as 1891, a German Dutch Fork resident reported that gatherings of old ladies brought out the “mother tongue” in earnest.

The elderly German residents maintained their ethnicity through their clothing, as well. Historical accounts describe old German men in the Dutch fork area who, “..tottered about the yard in their tight knee breeches giving quite a bow-legged appearance to their nether limbs; and while displaying bright silver buckles on their shoes and broad brimmed hats…would revel in an overflow of German, -singing songs and telling anecdotes..” (Mayer 1982:6-7).

Having suggested that ceramics, architecture, tobacco pipes, and medicine paraphernalia may be markers of German ethnicity in the archaeological record, we must confess now that we are grasping at straws! Many factors conspire against identifying such ethnic markers. The lack of extensive archaeological investigation on German colonial sites is one over-riding factor. Another is the very fact that most of the Germans strove for rapid acculturation in the colonies, as indicated by primary historical documents. A third, and very strong factor against locating ethnicity on these sites is the nature of the sites themselves. At New Ebenezer, Germans owned both a house in town and a 50 acre farmstead outside of town. Excavations on the town lots and farmsteads–often on ones owned by the same people–reveal two drastically different material culture patterns (Elliott and Elliott 1992). One might assume incorrectly that the local pottery of the farmstead and lack of fancy tablewares was a product of German ethnicity, rather than a truer reflection of geography and site function. Likewise, intra-site patterning on these sites does not necessarily reflect ethnicity, as the British authorities dictated the layout of towns such as New Ebenezer and Vernonburg, even stating where on each lot the residence was to be built. German settlement of colonial sites involved a complex interplay of economic, geographic, political, military, and trade factors. As a result, no one “smoking gun” of German ethnicity exists, to date. We have not given up, however, and feel that when these factors are considered along with a much more intensive level of archaeological excavation on these sites, a clearer picture of German ethnicity will begin to emerge.

References Cited

Bernheim, G.D.

1872 History of the German Settlements and the Lutheran Church in North and South Carolina. The Lutheran Book Store, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Crass, David C., Tammy Forehand, Bruce Penner, Chris Gillam

1997 Excavations at New Windsor Township, South Carolina. Savannah River Archaeological Research Heritage Series 3. Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Elliott, Daniel T., and Rita F. Elliott

1990 Seasons in the Sun: 1989 and 1990 Excavations at New Ebenezer. LAMAR Institute, Watkinsville, Georgia.

1992 “City House, Country House: A Comparison of Salzburger Material Culture in Colonial Georgia”. Annual meeting of the Society of Historical Archaeology, Kingston, Jamaica.

Elliott, Rita Folse and Daniel T. Elliott

1994 Vernonburg Village, An Archaeological Study. LAMAR Institute, Watkinsville, Georgia. Prepared for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Atlanta, Georgia.

Fries, Adelaide L.

1905 The Moravians in Georgia, 1735-1740. Edwards and Broughton, Raleigh, North Carolina.

1968 Records of the Moravians in North Carolina (ed., reprinted). State Department of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Henry, James

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Idol, Bruce S., and Stephen T. Trage, and Roger W. Kirchen

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Jones, George F.

1967 “Colonial Georgia’s Second Language”, reprinted from The Georgia Review, Vol. XXI, No. 1, Spring 1967, The Georgia Salzburger Society, Rincon, Georgia.

1969 “The Secret Diary of Pastor Johann Martin Boltzius”, The Georgia Historical Quarterly, Vol. LIII, No. 1, March, Savannah.

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1996 The Germans of Frederica. The National Park Service. Fort Frederica Association, St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Loewald, Klaus G., Beverly Starika, and Paul S. Taylor

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Mayer, O.B.

1982 The Dutch Fork. (Reprint) Dutch Fork Press, Columbia, South Carolina.

Meriwether, Robert L.

1940 The Expansion of South Carolina, 1729-1765. Southern Publishers Inc., Kingsport, Tennessee.

Moltmann, Günter (ed)

1982 “300 Years of German Emigration to North America” pp. 8-15 in Germans to America: 300 Years of Immigration 1683-1983. Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Stuttgart, Federal Republic of Germany.

Moravian Museum of Bethlehem

1999 “Historic Sites”. 21 Oct. 1999, <;.

Pury, Jean Pierre

1731 “A Description of the Province of South Carolina”. 29 Oct. 1999 <;.

Reiemensperger, Hans Jacob

1740 True and Fully Dependable Good News From the English Royal Province Carolina. 29 Oct. 1999 <;.

Smith, Marvin T., compiler

1986 Archaeological Testing of Sixteen Sites in the Fort Howard Development Tract. Garrow and Associates, Atlanta. Submitted to Law Environmental, Kennesaw, Georgia.

Tobler, Johann

1753 “A Description of Carolina.” Alter und vervbesserter Schreib-Calender. 29 Oct. 1999 <;.

Tresp, Lothar

1963 “Pastor Bolzius Reports”pp.20-23 in The American-German Review, April-May, Vol. XXIX, No 4, National Carl Schurz Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

U.S. Population Census

1790 State Level Census Data. Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. Historical Demographic, Economic, and Social Data: U.S., 1790-1970. Anne Arbor, Michigan. 9 September 1999 <;

Walker, Iain C.

1975 “The American Stub-stemmed Clay Tobacco-Pipe: A Survey of Its Origins, Manufacture, and Distribution” pp.97-128 in The Conference on Historic Site Archaeology Papers 1974, Vol. 9, The Institute of Archeology and Anthropology, Columbia, South Carolina.

Maxeys Dump: An Archaeological Wonderland
December 23, 2008

In Late 1977, I took a solo drive in my hand-me-down Ford on an overcast Sunday evening from Greensboro to Maxeys, Georgia. Nature called and I stopped to listen along the dirt and gravel road at a kudzu jungle in thick piney woods. After listening to the message, I realized I was without any sort of cleaning apparatus. Through the dead kudzu, I spied a glint of white, only a few yards distant. Waddling to the spot, I finished my job–so much relieved. Then, my eyes told my brain what I had done. I had cleaned myself with the newly pressed sleeve of a 19th century man’s dress shirt. It started to drizzle as I glanced around at the pile of trash from whence I had procured the much needed rag. It was a dump-truck load of stuff, rising some 4 feet above the plain. Jars, books, clothes, jagged broken glass, plates, hats, and bric a brac galore. It continued to drizzle and darkness descended. I opened my trunk and filled it to the brim. I made a final glance around and realized that I had only scratched the surface of this veritable goldmine. Driving away, I vowed to return.

I made my way speedily back to the fieldhouse next to the funeral home, where I was the house mother, and I began unloading boxes from my trunk into the dining room. My fellow archaeologists, dumpster diving buddies, and curiosity collectors gazed in amazement. Where from this find, they inquired. Eyes were wide as I distributed my newfound wealth. Tomorrow, I will take you tomorrow.

The next afternoon, tired from a day of digging, we piled into Paul’s baby blue econoline van and drove back to the dump. Crunching glass and giggles, we filled the van to capacity with all sorts of tattered and slighly damp treasures. There were books and letters and tiny shiny things. A woven coverlet fragment for Leslie, gifts for the whole fieldhouse family. Joel grabbed stacks of letters and threw them in his duffle bag. Paul and I did the same. It was a sensation. And we made a few more trips in the days following as the pile dwindled and the mildew set in.

Months later, Jerald and Lisa returned to the dump on another pilgrimage, only to find another fresh pile. Dresses and hats from bygone days, enough loot to fill Jerald and Lisa’s haunted house on Wildcat Creek. It became the stuff of legends.

Decades passed, then I learned from Lisa, that the old Durham place, the source of the dumped material, had been robbed, around the time of my initial discovery in 1777. Was this the dump for the stolen items that could not be easily fenced?

The Maxeys’ Dump was a most exciting find. It was a living archaeological site that several presently active archaeologists were immersed in. We observed the deposition, the plunder, and the decay. Or at least part of the decay, as I have not returned to visit the site in over 25 years….


Relevant References

Calhoun, Charles H., Sr., 1965. “Dr. Lindsey Durham, A Brief Biography.” and “The Durham Doctors, Biographical Sketches.” Privately published booklet, 53 pp.

Gay, M., 1892. Life in Dixie During the War, edited by J.H. Segars, Reprinted by Mercer University Press, Macon [See pages 303-304 for Durham discussion].

Lavender, Billy, compiler, 2005. A Pioneer Church in the Oconee Territory. A Historical Synopsis of Antioch Christian Chjurch. I-Universe. 436 pp. ISBN: 9780595797257

Crowfield Update
December 23, 2008

Crowfield and Broomhall were two 18th century Goose Creek rice plantations in Berkeley County, South Carolina. In 1987 Garrow & Associates, Inc., under my direction, 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 I completed the survey report, we were 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. I summarized the work done in a short LAMAR Institute report, which is available online at the LAMAR Institute’s webpage:

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, which I have uploaded here as a .pdf file and it is also available at this website:



The other reports by Chicora Foundation are available through Interlibrary Loan.

Ms. Barbara Orsolits, M.H.P. , whom I met in early 2008, 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.


And this information about Crowfield is from an 1845 publication (Southern and Western Magazine and Review, by William Gilmore Simms, pages 283-284):

N. B. A few errors, attributable to hurried preparation for the press, occurred chiefly in the notes to our first number. In note on page 210, paragraph 7, line 1st., for “Isaac Marion, his brother, settled in Georgetown, at least as early as 1742,” read “Isaac Marion, the General’s eldest brother, married and settled in Georgetown, at least as early as 1742.” In note on p. 217, line 2d., for “Mrs. Sarah Cutler, of New-York,” read “Mrs. Sarah Cutler, of Massachusetts.” In note on p. 215, par. 2d. line, in relation to the present ownership of Crowfield, for “but now the property of Mrs. Middleton Smith,” read “but now the property of Henry A. Middleton, Esq ” We were led into this error by confounding Crowfield with Bloomfield, the adjoining plantation of Mrs. Middleton Smith. In line 34 of same note, for “Dr. Geddings’ map of Crowfield,” read “Dr. Geddings’ map of ‘The Elms.'” Crowfield was originally the property of the Hon. Arthui Middleton,* who conveyed it Nov., 11,1729, to Wm. Middleton, who, it is said, had a country-seat of the same name in England. During the revolutionary war, he sold it to Rawlins Lowndes, Provost Marshal under the colonial government, and President of the State of South-Carolina after the Declaration of Independence. After six years’ possession, Rawlins Lowndes, and Sarah, his wife, on the 16th March, 1784, conveyed it to John Middleton, whose heirs sold it to the present proprietor. It is said to be a place of great beauty, presenting numerous remains of the great labour and lavish expenditure of money, which the wealthy colonial planter bestowed on his villa or country-seat, when the law of primogeniture gave us a landed aristocracy and kind of hereditary nobility. It is no longer in cultivation ; but it is well worth the visit of the antiquarian, and of all who delight to recal the memories of the past,—and especially the grandeur and magnificence of colonial times. R. Y.

* We find on record an indenture of lease and release, dated November 10 and 11,,1729, between the Hon. Arthur Middleton, of Berkley county, and William Middleton, of the same county, by which deed the former conveyed to the latter two tracts of land in the Parish of St. James’, Goose Creek—the one containing one thousand four hundred and forty acres, (Crowfield,) bounded north and northwest on lands of Matthew Beard and Andrew Allen, south on lands of Benjamin Marion, west on lands of Mr. De La Plain, deceased, east and south-east on lands of Thomas Moore and Benjamin Gibbs: the other containing 103 acres in said parish, bounded north-west on land of Mr. De La Plain, deceased, northeast and south-east on land of John Gibbs, and south on land of Francis Guerrin. The Will of Arthur Middleton, of Berkley county, is dated June 7,1734, and proved Dec. 7, 1737, before William Bull, Governor. It mentions his wife Sarah, and his sons William, Henry and Thomas,—and devises, inter alia., half of his lot No. 199, in Charlestown, to his son William, to be divided lengthways, and the other half to his son Henry; and his brick tenement and part of his lot, bought from Andrew Allen, to his wife. The witnesses to the Will were Tim Mellichamp, Jane Mellichamp and Thomas Corbett.



Interest in the history of the Broomhall plantation continues, as noted in a recent Charleston Post and Courier news story:

Site of former Broom Hall plantation commemorated

Staff report, Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Crowfield Plantation Community Service Association manager Missey Lewis (left) stands with Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler in front of the new historical marker outside the Bloomfield subdivision. 

Crowfield Plantation Community Service Association manager Missey Lewis (left) stands with Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler in front of the new historical marker outside the Bloomfield subdivision.

The land that became Broom Hall was granted to Edward Middleton in 1678 and later conveyed to Benjamin and Jane Gibbs. When Benjamin died, the land was left to Jane, who later married Peter Taylor, who developed the estate until the mid-18th century. The property was later owned by the Smith family and their descendants, who rented sections to freedmen after the Civil War. The West Virginia Pulp and Paper Co. used the land to harvest pine trees in the 20th century with the property finally being developed residentially after 1980.

A historical marker noting the site of the former Broom Hall plantation was erected in Crowfield Plantation.

The marker can be seen in the small park off Westview Boulevard near the Bloomfield neighborhood.

“The Crowfield Plantation Community Service Association is proud to share in this great endeavor with (Goose Creek) Mayor (Michael) Heitzler in educating and recognizing the historical value of our great city,” association manager Missey Lewis said.

 And a 1994 article from the New York Times:

A Historical Colonial Garden Is Recovered From the Rough

On a recent misty morning here in the Carolina low country, golfers teeing off at the 14th hole of the Crowfield Golf and Country Club were mindful that their golf balls could stray into an archeological dig.

A team of garden archeologists, wielding root clippers, trowels, and whisk brooms between the 14th and 17th fairways, was investigating what has come to light as the earliest picturesque, or natural, landscape garden in America. Twelve miles north of Charleston, the 23-acre garden was created at Crowfield Plantation by William Middleton in 1730. The land, including the golf course, is owned by the Westvaco Corporation, the paper packaging and chemical company.

“Crowfield is clearly the oldest ornamental landscape garden we know of in this country,” said Jonathan H. Poston of the Historic Charleston Foundation, “and though now a ruin, its above-ground features are relatively intact.”

Crowfield’s extensive ponds and canals predate by 10 years the famous green, stepped terraces and butterfly lakes of Middleton Place, the nearby garden that belonged to William Middleton’s younger brother, Henry. William Middleton eventually inherited the family’s property in England and returned there in 1754.

Thereafter, Crowfield was sold to a succession of mostly absentee landlords. Crowfield’s survival, even overgrown, was partly due in this century to its inaccessibility along back logging roads cloaked by 2,850 acres of swampy timberland that Westvaco bought in 1930.

Westvaco eventually decided to build a planned community for an estimated 15,000 people around Crowfield. For the future homeowners to qualify for Federal Housing Administration financing, Westvaco was required in 1986 by the National Historic Preservation Act to make an archaeological survey of the site.

Westvaco then proposed saving 15 acres of the historic garden as the centerpiece of the golf course. Several holes on the course, which opened in December 1990, act as a natural buffer between the community and the garden. (This arrangement may be a trend; the Desert de Reiz, a 1770’s garden outside Paris, has also been preserved within a new golf course.)

The existence of a 1730 American garden in this style shows that the wealthy English in the Charleston area were in the mainstream of the British fashion in gardens, and without the time lag usually associated with colonial culture. And the style of that day was turning toward the natural over the formal and developed into the English-style landscape. (The earliest documented formal colonial garden is at Bacon’s Castle in Virginia, dating to 1680.)

Although it is not known who designed Crowfield, English landscape designers were advertising in Charleston newspapers at that time, and colonists had access to books like Stephen Switzer’s 1718 “Ichnographia Rustica” and John James’s 1712 “Theory and Practice of Gardening.”

William Middleton was 19 years old in 1729 when his father gave him the 1,500-acre plantation that was named for Crowfield Hall, the family’s English seat in Suffolk. The Middletons, who were prominent in colonial government, were part of the Charleston community that had originally been sugar planters in Barbados in the 17th century. Born in the American colony, William cultivated the rice that was called Carolina gold because of the high rate of return that made the low country planters so wealthy.

In May 1743, on a visit to Crowfield, Eliza Lucas, a young colonist who pursued an interest in local agriculture, described the garden at its height in a letter to a London friend. She wrote of the plantings, the perspectives, and the “large fish ponds properly disposed which form a fine prospect of water from the house.” This letter, the only reliable documentation of the way the garden appeared at the time, has been crucial to the restoration project.

Massive oaks draped in Spanish moss still line the old avenue to the ruins of the plantation house. The moon pond at the entrance, 200 feet in diameter, lies just before the house. The house was abandoned in the early 1800’s, and it has succumbed over the years to fire and earthquake, as well as vandalism to its handsome Flemish-bond brick work.

Some old magnolia trees are positioned behind the house near the section of the bowling green that has survived the golf course; in all, about eight acres of the original gardens were lost to development, the archaeologists’ report said. And in the middle of the wilderness area, which may have had symmetrical plantings, a 15-foot-high hill, or viewing mount, indicates that the garden’s features like the ponds and the terraces were meant to be surveyed from above. All of these features are more visible now, after Hurricane Hugo felled many trees in September 1989.

The “fish ponds” that terminate the view are more precisely a central rectangular lake, framed on three sides by long canals. “There are few, if any other, gardens in America with authentic mounts or canals,” said Rudy J. Favretti, a consultant on historic landscapes from Storrs, Conn. It is conceivable that the ornamental lake and canals were also part of a system to irrigate the rice fields.

In particular, Crowfield’s plan, which included a Roman temple, resembles such English landscapes of the late 1720’s as the water garden at Studley Royal in Yorkshire or the bowling green and serpentine walks at Claremont in Surrey.

In the most recent stage of garden archeology, conducted in April by Michael Trinkley of the Chicora Foundation, a non-profit heritage preservation organization, Westvaco acted with the advice of its consultants, Hugh and Mary Palmer Dargen, Charleston landscape architects who specialize in historic preservation.

Although the archeologists uncovered two brick foundations of garden structures, perhaps summer houses, and such artifacts commensurate with wealth as fragments of Chinese porcelain and glass goblets, the real work, as Mr. Trinkely saw it, “was to try to determine pathways and to study soil stains and topographical features that will guide in the garden’s rehabilitation and restoration.”

During this dig, the team analyzed earth berms that elevated the garden and separated it from the cultivated fields. Team members were also able to determine areas where shallow top soil indicated grassy areas rather than deeply rooted flower beds.

Current plans call for the garden to be turned over to the homeowners’ association when the houses encircling the golf course are completed. But Charles Duell, a Middleton descendant and president of Middleton Place Foundation, said he hoped that Westvaco would “donate a conservation easement on the property” to a consortium of preservation groups. This group could then control further archeological research and restoration. So far, the site has been open only to researchers.

Although Crowfield is now only a beautiful ruin with classic water features, it is evidence of how the first settlers transported high style to the New World. “It is the Mona Lisa of early American landscapes,” Mr. Poston Said.

The New York Times, Thursday, June 23, 1994


Ossabaw Crematorium
December 21, 2008

Burial Site Sheds Light on Prehistoric Indian Culture

The recent excavation of a prehistoric American Indian burial site on Ossabaw Island revealed cremated remains, an unexpected find that offers a glimpse into ancient Indian culture along Georgia’s coast.

State archaeologist David Crass of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said prehistoric cremations were rare, particularly during the early time in which preliminary evidence suggests this one occurred, possibly 1000 B.C. to A.D. 350.  [Elliott’s comment:  actually, C-14 dating results, which were obtained shortly after this press release was written place the age of this pit in the Mississippian period, well after the Woodland period estimated age.]  The remains also mark the first cremation uncovered on Ossabaw, a state-owned Heritage Preserve about 20 miles south of Savannah.

“This interment broadens our knowledge about … the kinds of belief (involving) death within the Woodland Period,” Crass said. “This is not something we have seen before on Ossabaw Island. Similar cremations on St. Catherine’s Island may point to this practice being more widespread than we have believed up to now.”

Crass said during this time American Indians in Georgia moved to the coast in the winter for shellfish, then inland in the spring for deer hunting and into uplands in the fall for gathering nuts. “This site may have been a winter season camp,” he said.

Erosion from natural causes exposed the burial on an Ossabaw bluff earlier this year. Scientists from the DNR Office of the State Archaeologist, the non-profit Lamar Institute and the Georgia Council on American Indian Concerns worked under the council’s direction to excavate the roughly 6- by 6-foot pit. As required by state law, Crass informed the council about the situation and organized the excavation at the group’s request.

The work on Georgia’s third-largest barrier island revealed a cremation pit that had been lined with wood and oyster shells. The body had been placed on top of the wood and the contents of the pit burned. The human remains recovered were primarily from extremities, indicating that the deceased had been disinterred after cremation, possibly to be reburied elsewhere.

The charcoal will be submitted for carbon 14 dating, but preliminary analysis of the pottery recovered from the pit suggests the cremation may date to the Refuge-Deptford Phases in the Woodland Period, c.a. 1000 B.C. to A.D. 350. A ground-penetrating radar survey showed many prehistoric American Indian features in the general area, Crass said. The bluff apparently had long been a focal point of prehistoric Indian life.

After analysis, the remains will be reinterred in a secure location under the auspices of the Council on American Indian Concerns. Crass expects the carbon 14 dating results and details on the radar survey by early next year.

Human history runs deep on Ossabaw. Shell mounds and other artifacts here date to 2000 B.C. More than 230 archaeological sites have been recorded. Spanish records indicate the island probably had an early Guale Indian village, according to The New Georgia Encyclopedia. But long before the first European contact on Ossabaw, possibly through the Spanish in 1568, small pox and other diseases unwittingly introduced by the Spanish in Mexico and South America had swept north, devastating populations of native Americans.

Crass said it’s not known what Indians were on the island when the cremation pit was used. But because of its discovery thousands of years later, more will be learned.

Access to Ossabaw is limited to approved research projects and hunts managed by the DNR’s Georgia Wildlife Resources Division. Details at Information on visiting the island for research and educational purposes is also available from The Ossabaw Island Foundation’s Jim Bitler,

The Wildlife Resources Division works to protect, conserve, manage and improve Georgia’s wildlife and freshwater fishery resources. The division’s mission also includes managing and conserving protected wildlife and plants, administering and conducting the mandatory hunter safety program, regulating the possession and sale of wild animals, and administering and enforcing the Georgia Boat Safety Act.

The Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia DNR serves as Georgia’s state historic preservation office. The Historic Preservation Division’s mission is to promote the preservation and use of historic places for a better Georgia. Programs include archaeology protection and education, environmental review, grants, historic resource surveys, tax incentives, the National Register of Historic Places, community planning and technical assistance. For more information, call (404) 656-2840 or visit


Photo available from Helen Talley-McRae ( or Rick Lavender ( Caption information: DNR staff archaeologist Jenn Bedell and Council on American Indian Concerns archaeologist Tom Gresham examine artifacts from the cremation excavation on Ossabaw. (Credit: Ga. DNR)

DNR RSS news feeds:

Click here for Russ Bynum’s (AP) newstory on our recent excavation on Ossabaw Island, which contains more recent date information:

Savannah’s Colonial Park Cemetery & GPR
October 20, 2008

On October 15 and 16, we (Coastal Heritage Society and LAMAR Institute archaeologists and volunteers–the Morris family from Ogden, Utah, conducted a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey of a portion of the Colonial Park cemetery in Savannah. We examined the southeastern corner in search of a British Revolutionary War fortification ditch. We also mapped in many unmarked human graves and crypts. The results will be published very soon. A good time was had by all. A few pictures of the project follow.

RAMAC X3M monitor display

RAMAC X3M monitor display

The work was tedious but fruitful.

GPR Survey of Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia.

GPR Survey of Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia.

GPR Survey in Progress, Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah.
GPR Survey begins.

GPR Survey begins.

GPR Survey in Progress, Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah.

Stay tuned for the answer…


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