Article by Zach Murdock, 1-9-2015. same article also published in “The State”, “Beaufort Gazette” and “News Packet”.
Archive for the ‘archaeology’ Category
Archaeologists want to recover lost story of Purrysburg’s Revolutionary War history – Veterans – Stripes
January 10, 2015
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 The presentation will include information gathered from historical documents during a recent research trip to Washington, D.C., New York, and Boston.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.
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 341.7796. For more information about The LAMAR Institute visit http://www.thelamarinstitute.org
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
Dynamic Duo? Smash! Bang! Pow! %#&@!
November 11, 2014
Have You Seen This Battlefield?
October 19, 2014
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
Hiking trails are being blazed for visitors to explore entire Kettle Creek battle site
On his fourth trip to the Kettle Creek Battlefield site, Walter Cook, PhD, spent a recent morning on the Summit Trail. In earlier visits, he refined positions of the War Hill Loop Trail which Allen Burton, Joe Harris, and Richard McAvoy’s county crew had cleared.
Cook, retired from the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, has located and designed more than 80 hiking and interpretive trails in Georgia and South Carolina. “It is what I like to do in retirement,” he said. He used a machete to hack his way through blackberry thickets and other undergrowth on earlier visits under 100-degree conditions.
“The trail must follow the shoulder of the ridge and never allow more than a ten degree incline,” he said. He charges no fee and brings his own lunch so as “not to waste time.”
The two highest priority trails, identified by the Kettle Creek Battlefield Park Master Plan, are now open and identified for hiking, having only a few rough spots. The War Hill Loop Trail is less than half a mile and the Summit Trail is somewhat longer. The Loop Trail provides a view of Kettle Creek, all sides of War Hill, and allows a review of battle events and topography. It is rich in natural history. Public school lesson plan developers Katy Meeks and Al Dawkins toured the trail.
With adequate clearing to the west, the Summit Trail will offer a panoramic view of both Settlement Hill and War Hill. Thus, it is an easy visitor experience of the troop movement from the Hammett Settlement and battle sequences as the engagement moved southward to what is now New Salem Church Road.
The battlefield development project involves a partnership between the Kettle Creek Battlefield Association, Inc. and Wilkes County. It envisions economic development based on the rich history of Wilkes County and the city of Washington. It is supported by funding from Federal, state, and local sources as well as that of many private organizations and individuals who value the lessons of history.
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!]
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!
Caledonia is a Rock Star!! Brier Creek! Brier Creek! Caledonia! Caledonia!
Efforts underway to preserve Revolutionary War battlefield
By Rob Pavey
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:
Kettle Creek battle site expands with 60-acre purchase
January 22, 2014
Great News from Wilkes County!
Archaeology is Happening in Georgia!
January 20, 2014
Below are links to several recent newspaper articles about archaeology projects in coastal Georgia where LAMAR Institute researchers have been active. Both of these projects, the Brier Creek Battlefield Survey and the Isaiah Davenport House Museum excavations, are ongoing. The Brier Creek project is directed by Cypress Cultural Consultants, LLC with archaeologist Daniel Battle serving as the project’s field director and Daphne Owens as Principal Investigator. The LAMAR Institute has assisted at Brier Creek with skilled labor, loan of equipment. The Davenport project is a LAMAR Institute project with Rita Elliott serving as its PI. Both projects are telling us great things about the past and we look forward to bringing more of these discoveries to the public eye.
BRIER CREEK BATTLEFIELD STORIES
History in Screven County can be Revolutionary- article by Enoch Autry, January 17, 2014, Sylvania Telephone:
ISAIAH DAVENPORT HOUSE MUSEUM ARCHAEOLOGY STORIES
Gators in Brier Creek
January 2, 2014
End of the year report on our Revolutionary War research in Georgia! The big gators were out on New Years Eve (2013) at Brier Creek. The LAMAR archaeologists are busy finding our Revolutionary War history in the ground. A recent Associated Press news story highlighted our archival research on the Revolutionary War in Georgia, which appeared in many news outlets. We are busy writing grant proposals for other revolutionary War battlefields in the Carolinas. Next week my colleague P.T. and I are giving a paper in Quebec at the Society for Historical Archaeology meeting on our 100+ horseshoes from the Carr’s Fort battlefield landscape in Wilkes County, Georgia. Busy times here in south Georgia. We look forward to writing up some of these stories for the public in 2014. Happy New Year!
Trip uncovers records of Revolution-era Georgia – WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports
January 2, 2014
AP ARTICLE BY RUSS BYNUM ON LAMAR INSTITUTE PROJECT.
Slave artifacts found at Ga. highway project site
December 1, 2013
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:
Kettle Creek battlefield group gets support from state SAR
October 30, 2013
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:
St. Augustine archaeology dig uncovers prehistoric site
August 7, 2013
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 PastHorizons.com in England yesterday.
Russ Bynum’s Associated Press story appeared in well over 300 media outlets in the U.S., as well as Algeria, Ghana and Australia. And probably hundreds more that I am not aware of.
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
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…
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…
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.
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.
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: http://www.fs.usda.gov/conf
. 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
HAPPY END OF THE WORLD EVERYBODY!!
Great New Book Out! particularly Chapter 11.
November 1, 2012
Rita Ann Veronica Folse Elliott, M.A., R.P.A., G.C.P.A. has yet another publication under her garter. It is an edited volume by Todd Andrlik, entitled “Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It was History It was News”. On sale now at Amazon.com and other fine book vendors. Follow this link:
HERE IS THE LINK: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365255141/
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
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
Raw video footage of the discovery may be seen on Youtube.com (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
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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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/www.forthawkins.com
AND FROM THE JULY 8, 2012 EDITION OF THE MACON TELEGRAPH, WE READ:
“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: http://www.forthawkins.com 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.
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 LAMAR Institute is proud to sponsor the May 12th event in Savannah!
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 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.
Way down yonder neath the Chattahoochee
April 26, 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.
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
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).
Historical and Natural Resources in Georgia—NOT!
January 18, 2012
CLICK HERE TO READ GOVERNOR DEAL’s DEAL
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