To learn more about the upcoming workshop on Metal Detecting for Archaeologists, visit this website:
Archive for the ‘history’ Category
Savannah Needs Archaeology!
June 19, 2016
Article from Savannah Morning News, June 18, 2016:
Petition urges protection of Savannah’s buried past
‘Archaeological ordinance’ would require builders to consider historic remnants
Within a city block-sized hole immediately north of downtown’s Drayton Tower apartment complex, excavators have been moving earth deep below the surface to make way for a new hotel. The project is just one of multiple developments underway or pending in Savannah’s Historic District, now that construction activity has picked up after the 2008 recession.
The renewed building activity has recently revived a decades-long effort to protect the city’s underground historic resources.
Archaeologist Phillip Ashlock said seeing the Drayton Street hotel development was a motivating factor behind an online petition he recently posted, which urges the city to adopt an archaeological ordinance.
The large hole in the Historic District, just west of Colonial Park Cemetery, was another reminder that Savannah has no archaeological requirements in place for city or private projects, Ashlock said.
The goal of the petition is to garner support for building requirements that would help prevent the loss of historic resources, Ashlock said, in addition to persuading the city to hire an archeologist who would coordinate preservation efforts. His aim is not to stop development, Ashlock said, but to make sure there is a review process for developers to follow to preserve and document historic sites.
“The past doesn’t belong to anybody,” he said. “We’re stewards of what came before us, and it’s our responsibility to take care of it.”
As of Friday afternoon, Ashlock’s petition on Change.org was more than halfway toward meeting his goal of 1,000 signatures.
The petition is raising awareness about the issue as the Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission creates an incentive for developers to voluntarily conduct archaeological studies.
Under the policy, developers that agree to perform studies for large-scale projects would be permitted to build an additional story beyond the area’s height limits. Four percent of the project’s cost, with a cap of $500,000, would have to go toward archaeology, outreach and education.
The incentive approach is a change in direction after an attempt about four years ago to develop an archaeology ordinance failed to move forward, said Ellen Harris, MPC director of urban planning and historic preservation. Options considered at the time varied from only requiring archaeological assessments for public projects to also mandating that private developers conduct evaluations, with potential incentives to offset additional costs.
The reasoning behind the ordinance was explained in a planning commission memo that said large segments of the underrepresented community — such as slaves, women and immigrants — could be more thoroughly understood through archaeology. Also, 95 percent of the area’s past is considered prehistoric and archaeology remains the only effective means of studying the 13,000-year-old heritage, the memo stated.
Archaeology helps tell the story of the people who built the buildings, Harris said.
“That story isn’t told in the structure anymore,” she said.
That abandoned 2012 endeavor followed a previous failed attempt in the late 1980s. At that time, the planning commission approved an ordinance that would have established an archaeological review policy for city projects, in addition to prohibiting the removal of artifacts from city-owned lands.
The ordinance was never approved by the mayor and aldermen, however.
“We just haven’t had a champion at the city council level for it,” Harris said.
With a new council in place, the issue could be brought back for consideration.
Savannah Alderman Bill Durrence, who represents the downtown Historic District, said last week that he was surprised to learn the city does not have an archaeology ordinance in place. The lack of a policy was something he would look into, Durrence said.
“That’s kind of odd, considering our history,” he said.
Most people in Savannah have no idea the city does not have an archaeological ordinance, either for city or private projects, said Rita Elliott, education coordinator and research associate with the Lamar Institute archaeological nonprofit. Elliott said she has been supporting the effort to “get the ball rolling” for implementing protections for 30 years, but that the lack of community awareness to the issue has played a part in the planning commission’s failed attempts to get regulations enacted.
“I think they need public support,” she said.
The false perception that archaeology and development can’t coexist is another barrier to an ordinance, said Laura Seifert an archaeology professor at Armstrong State University. Archaeology would just be another component of the historic review process, Seifert said, and the cost and time it takes could be built in if developers know their responsibilities at the start.
“If there is good planning, it shouldn’t be a problem,” she said.
Certain projects that receive state or federal funding are required to conduct archaeological studies. That requirement was why Chatham Area Transit had to have a site evaluation performed in 2012 when it was building a transit center on Oglethorpe Avenue west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The archaeologists for that project evaluated two brick wells found on the site, which were believed to date back to the 18th century. The excavation work uncovered artifacts from the 1700s, as well as ceramic shards dating back an estimated 1,500 years, said the project’s archaeologist, Angus Sawyer. More artifacts would likely have been discovered if it wasn’t for the damage caused to the site by the construction of a bus station there in the early 1960s, Sawyer said. Now more than 50 years later, Sawyer said, that damage continues throughout the city.
“There is a story under Savannah that is being lost piecemeal,” he said.
Digging versus archaeology
Historic artifacts are discovered regularly during construction projects. Recently, workers dug up about 50,000 19th century bricks hand-crafted by slaves, known as Savannah Greys, during the construction of a hotel on the south side of River Street at MLK.
A stoneware jug dating back to the early 19th century was also recently discovered during the construction of a ferry shelter on River Street north of City Hall.
The handle was broken off by machinery during the project, but the rest of the jug is intact and in the city’s possession after Luciana Spracher, Savannah’s library and archives director, heard about the discovery and rushed down to claim the artifact.
“I’m not sure what would have happened if I hadn’t found out about it,” Spracher said.
However, Ashlock said the discovery of an artifact is not the same as determining the historic object’s story.
“Context is very important,” he said. “Digging is different than archaeology.”
Savannah would not be the first city to adopt protections for its buried past. Other governments that have adopted archaeological ordinances include St. Augustine, Beaufort County, and Hilton Head.
Alexandria, Va. has one of the best models, Harris said.
That city’s archaeological protection code requires the evaluation of a project on a case-by-case basis. The developer is only required to hire an archaeological consultant to conduct research after it is determined there is potential for archaeological resources to be impacted.
Local architect Patrick Shay said requiring some sort of historic investigation makes sense, but that an archaeological ordinance would have to be carefully crafted so it doesn’t make it impossible for development projects to move forward.
“It can get in the way of people using their property the way they want to,” Shay said. “It depends on how it’s worded, but it’s got merit.”
Shay’s firm designed the Rockbridge Capital hotel now being built along River Street, where the Savannah Grey bricks were found. An ordinance requiring work be halted in the middle of a project when such discoveries are made could be problematic for the developer, Shay said.
“If the rules are too strict, it can make it unlikely it is reported, frankly,” he said.
Jim Schrim, senior vice-president of real estate for Rockbridge, said during the project’s recent groundbreaking that the historic bricks would be cleaned and reused at the hotel.
Shay’s firm also designed the cultural arts center the city plans to build directly west of the downtown Civic Center. The arts center site at Montgomery Street and Oglethorpe Avenue is where a three-story private residence known as the Wetter House previously stood from about the mid-19th century to 1950. Noted for the ornamental iron railings that ran along the balconies circling the first and second floors, the house was torn down to make way for a used-car dealership and auto repairs.
The city decided not to conduct any further archaeological studies for the arts center project, since a previous survey was performed about 16 years ago when the site was being considered for the CAT transit center, according to city officials. While a full-scale excavation was not performed, an examination of a limited area on the site failed to locate any significant features and further study was not recommended, according to the survey report.
While it won’t be the same as archaeology, Shay said there are plans to investigate the site when the former parking lot’s concrete surface is torn up for the project.
With construction set to begin this summer, the arts center is among the millions of dollars worth of projects expected to soon break ground. In addition, developer Richard Kessler has announced plans to begin construction next month of an estimated $250 million hotel project along West River Street.
Without an ordinance in place, the revitalized building activity can mean the death of archaeological sites, Elliott said.
“When the source is destroyed, you don’t have that history anymore,” she said.
CSS Georgia Teacher’s Workshop 2016
April 29, 2016
From STEM to Stern: CSS Georgia Shipwreck
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: pe.gatech.edu/teacher-institute. For questions contact: Rita Elliott at email@example.com
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)
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
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
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 http://www.chsgeorgia.org.
Tuesday October 13, 2015 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Savannah History Museum Auditorium (303 MLK Jr. Blvd.)
And From heyevent.com:
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 thelamarinstitute.org 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.]
Battle of Purysburg News Story
August 5, 2015
Click here to read today’s news story in the Jasper Sun Times:
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.
• 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 http://1.usa.gov/1G6S2Hn
|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!
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
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.
• 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.
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.
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:
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.”
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
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:
ISAIAH DAVENPORT HOUSE MUSEUM ARCHAEOLOGY STORIES
Archaeology at the Davenport House, Professional excavation happens Saturday in the courtyard– article by Jessica Leigh Lebos, January 15, 2014, Connect Savannah:
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.
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:
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.
Data Recovery in Queensborough Township at Hannah’s Quarter
February 25, 2013
Life in the Queensborough Township: Data Recovery at Hannah’s Quarter (9Jf195), Jefferson County, Georgia. Report prepared by Southern Research Historic Preservation Consultants, Inc., Ellerslie, Georgia.
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.
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.
By DeAnn Komanecky
Prayers for those who died long ago filled the sanctuary and grounds of Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church on Saturday during services held for those buried in at least 250 unmarked graves outside the walls of the church’s cemetery.
Many of the graves belong to slaves, buried just south of the church cemetery that contains generations of the area’s descendants, the Salzburgers.
Other unmarked graves are also located outside the cemetery’s brick walls, on the side nearest the New Ebenezer Retreat Center. The graves may contain those of soldiers and civilians who died during the Revolutionary War.
The graves were identified by a team, led by Dan Elliott, with the LAMAR Institute. The work was done with the support of the Georgia Salzburger Society. The institute is a nonprofit archaeological research organization. The team used ground-penetrating radar to find the graves with no disturbance of the soil. The work was done in 2010 with the purpose of determining the cemetery’s lines.
A British-built Revolutionary War fort was also built in 1779 at Ebenezer and its octagonal shape has been previously marked by Elliott. According to unit rosters from the time, some 500 soldiers died of natural causes while at Ebenezer.
In Elliot’s report of the archaeological findings, he noted that the earliest marked grave in Jerusalem Cemetery is dated from 1813 and very few engraved markers exist prior to 1830. Elliot also reports that while burial records for New Ebenezer exist from 1736 through the 1800s, they are inconsistently documented.
Saturday’s services were led by the Jerusalem Church, and their sister church, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Savannah. Holy Trinity is the only Black Lutheran Church in Savannah, member Ditric Leggett said.
Leggett said he spent time as a child coming to Ebenezer and to be back for this event was memorable.
“It’s like coming home for us (the congregation),” Leggett said.
Being a part of a cemetery dedication for so many slaves that were in Effingham County made Saturday a special day, for Eva Goldwire of Clyo.
“Our family name came from John Goldwire, a slave owner in Guyton,” she said. “It gives me chill bumps to be here.”
Bishop H. Julian Gordy of the Southeastern Synod of the ELCA, told those attending any differences in life among those buried at Ebenezer are gone.
“In death they are the same. Whatever differences in life, they were miniscule and they are reconciled in Christ. We are all free,” Gordy said. “We are all loved, treasured and welcome at the banquet tab le of the kingdom of God.”
The History Underneath
May 8, 2012
The 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
Fort Hawkins’ outer wall
October 13, 2011
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 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, http://forthawkins.com
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:
Good article in the Savannah Morning News by Chuck Mobley on Pin Point Museum at:
Marty Willett at Fort Hawkins
June 23, 2011
Article regarding Fort Hawkins by Jim Gaines from Macon Telegraph newspaper, June 23, 2011:
Follow up article:
Forts in Georgia
May 10, 2011
Lisa O’Steen searches for early Georgia fort in Oconee County.
Grant will fund dig at Oconee site || OnlineAthens.com
By Erin France, May 10, 2011
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
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
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
Get Your Archaeology Books? Support Archaeology!
December 30, 2010
Donate to LAMAR Institute using Razoo:
New Old Fort Jackson Artifacts Discovered | WSAV TV
November 12, 2010
Click link above for TV news story on Rita Elliott’s excavations at Fort Jackson, Savannah, Georgia. She found some cool stuff, artillery related, not shown in the news story.
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.
GPR Survey at Gascoigne Bluff, St. Simons Island, Georgia.
GPR Mapping fo the Adler Plot, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia.
GPR Mapping of Lot K-207, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia.
GPR Survey at the Copeland Site (9GE18).
TO NAME A FEW, FOR MORE VISIT:
The LAMAR Institute
Click on REPORTS.
We welcome your comments!
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.
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.
U.S. Prisoner Artifacts Found At Georgia Site
October 1, 2010
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
Archaeology society series kicks off Tuesday | islandpacket.com
September 15, 2010
Yuchi Indians return to native land | savannahnow.com
September 13, 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
National Park Service News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JULY 7, 2010
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 http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp. To find out more about how the National Park Service helps communities with historic preservation and recreation projects please visit http://www.nps.gov/communities.
Editors Note: For additional information about this project, please contact Daniel Elliott, LAMAR Institute, Inc., at (706)341-7796 or email@example.com.
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
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.
Translations of Two Letters from Ebenezer to the SPCK, 1739
A Translation of a Letter out of High Dutch, from the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer to their Benefactors in Europe.
WE, whose Names are underwritten, the Saltzburgers and all the Members of the Communion of Ebenezer in Georgia in America, present our mos t humble and most dutiful Respects, and good Wishes to all our kind Benefactors and Benefactresses in England and Germany, of all Ranks and Conditions whatsoever. To the Praise of Almighty God we often call to remembrance all the spiritual and temporal Kind- nesses and Favours which we have received from many Thousands of true Protestant Christians, since our going out from Saltzburg our native Place, and sojourning in Protestant Countries ; and therefore we think it our bounden Duty, as long as we live, humbly to implore our gracious Lord, in the Name of Jesus Christ, through the Assistance of the Holy Ghost, who has inclined their Hearts to Charity and good Will towards us, that He would be pleased according to his great Mercy to reward all their Works of Love with abundant Blessings in the Life that now is, and in that which is to come. The wonderful and all-wise Providence having open’d a Way for us to go to Georgia, a new Colony, begun in good measure for the Refuge and Support of persecuted and distressed Protestants ; and we, after a previous due Consideration of the Will of God, having gone thither with a full Inclination and Chearfulness of Mind: The Love and Benevolence- of our ever honoured Benefactors towards us despised People has not been altered in the least, but we have had the comfortable Experience of it ‘ in many Instances, as well at our Departure from ‘ Europe as also ever since at Ebenezer ; the Place, where, by God’s Assistance and Blessing, we have taken up our Abode. Before we left Germany we were provided with necessary Protestant Books, and such as we still wanted have been sent after us in such plenty, that we cannot sufficiently praise the ‘ Lord for those Blessings. Upon our Arrival in ‘ this Country, wherein we were quite Strangers, we found the want of Linnen and other Necessaries for the cloathing of our Bodies ; but God Almighty has beyond our Expectation so graciously order’d it, that from Year to Year, by the kind Contributions of several Benefactors, a good Stock thereof has been sent to us, which has filled our Hearts with Praise and Thanksgiving : And tho’ an uncultivated Country, in a new Climate, together with a Way of Living quite different from what we were accustomed to before, could not but occasion various ‘ Diseases and Distempers, as did likewise the Want of Shoes and other Necessities among our Poor ; yet the merciful God has inclined the Hearts of our worthy Benefactors, to make Remittances from time c to time for these Purposes into the Hands of our Ministers, and more particularly we have been sufficiently provided with excellent Medicines, which have often had their desired Effect. Besides the liberal Charities in Money given to the Third Transport, as also to some of the Second, who came from Lindau to Ebenezer, and since that, to the seven new Colonists ; the All-sufficient God has likewise continually blessed us with such Supplies, that we 1 have been able both to erect and support an Orphan- ‘ House or Hospital among us ; which has been very ‘ much to the spiritual and temporal Advantage of’ the whole Congregation ; and will continue to be so, if, as we wish and pray, the Fountain of God’s Mercy mall still flow upon us. We cannot also but esteem it to be a very acceptable Benefit, and worthy of our most sincere Thanks, that so many good and pious Persons in Europe go on to promote our Welfare with their earnest Prayers, Intercessions, good Wishes, Counsels and Christian Exhortations-, but above all we acknowledge, with the deepest Sense of Gratitude, that the Lord, according to his loving Kindness, has largely provided us with his holy Word and Sacraments, together with all things necessary for this Life, particularly with a plentiful Harvest last Year; as also that He has disposed the Honourable the Trustees of Georgia, and the Society for Promoting Cbristian Knowledge, together with other Benefactors in England, to favour and assist us in a singular and extraordinary Manner; for which the Name of the Giver of every good and perfect Gift be for ever praised by us and all our Posterity. In order, therefore, to shew our most worthy Benefactors the real Sense we have of the charitable Gifts and Kindnesses we have receiv’d from them, we think ourselves bound both in Duty and Gratitude to write this Letter in order to be published, wishing from the bottom of our Hearts, that the God of eternal Truth, the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth, (who is pleased with Sacrifices of Mercy) may abundantly reward all their Charities bestowed upon us, and so bless this their Seed that they may reap a plentiful Harvest of eternal Joy and Happiness in the Life to come, for our Lord and Saviour will not forget his gracious Promise : Matt. xxv. 34. 36. Then shall the King say unto them on his right band, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the Foundation of the World: for I was an hungry , and ye gave me Meat ; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink ; I was ‘ a Stranger, and ye took me in ; naked, and ye cloathed me, &c. but will fulfil it to the eternal Satisfaction and Comfort of all such as are not weary in well doing : As long as we live we shall not cease, by the ; Assistance of the Holy Spirit, humbly to implore, in our publick and private Prayers, our heavenly Father, that he would encompass them with his Favour as with a Shield ; and make good to them and their Children all his precious Promises, more; especially that in Psalm xli. I. 3. Blessed is be that considereth the Poor, the Lord will deliver him in the time of Trouble: the Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and be shall be blessed upon the Earth ; and thou wilt not deliver him unto the Will of his Enemies, the Lord will strengthen him upon the Bed of Languishing; thou wilt make all his Bed in his Sickness. And as we do further humbly conceive, that it will not be unacceptable to such our Friends and Benefactors to be acquainted with our present Circumstances in this new Part of the World; we beg leave to inform them, to the Praise of the living God, who has done all Things well, that we at Ebenezer live in the happy and comfortable Enjoyment of a pure, and plentiful Instruction in the holy Gospel ; of many temporal Blessings ; of all Christian Liberty; of external Tranquility, and good Success in our Undertakings, and also in brotherly Love and Charity to one another: the Sense of which Mercies, even whilst it convinces us of our great Unworthiness, does at the same time make us wish, out of Love to our Brethren and Countrymen in Germany, that they also might be Partakers with us of these Blessings. Our new erected Town, Ebenezer, is situated so very conveniently on the River Savannah, as to be far enough removed from the noise of the World and worldly minded Men. The Land granted for our Plantations is very good, and has even this Year given us a full Proof of its Fertility, and what it is able, by the Blessing of God, to produce. Our Cattle increases; the keeping of Herdsmen to look after them is made easy to us, by their being for the most part maintained by Charity Money sent over from Europe to our Ministers. As to the blessed Effects of the Ministry of our loving Teachers, and what the most gracious God is pleased to do by them for our Souls, Eternity will make appear. The Eyes of many amongst us have been opened in this Wilderness, so that Ebenezer has been to several the Place of their spiritual Birth. Our Place of Divine Worship has been hitherto in a Hut, which in Winter and rainy Seasons is very inconvenient ; nor have we any Place for the Education of our Children ; but we trust God will also therein hear our Prayers, and by the charitable Contributions of well disposed Christians, enable us to build a Church and ‘ School-House. We have already signified these our Wants to some of our Friends in Europe; and may God Almighty so stir up the Hearts of some who « abound in the Blessings of this Life, that they may c give out of their Abundance, what will be sufficient towards railing so necessary and useful Edifices. We conclude this our Letter with commending you, our ever renowned Benefactors, to the everlasting Love of God the Father, to the tender Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the comfortable Fellowship of the Holy Ghost, now and for evermore; and at the same time assuring you of our constant and earnest Prayers for your true Happiness and Welfare, we remain, with the profoundest Respects,
Your most bumble, (and for so many spiritual and temporal Benefits, in Love and Gratitude) Most obliged Servants,
The Inhabitants of Ebenezer.
Ebenezer in Georgia, 26th Octob. 1739.
A Translation of a Letter out of High Dutch from the Minister of the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer.
Dear and Honoured Benefactors and Friends in Christ our Lord,
We think it our Duty to accompany this Letter of our Congregation with a few Lines, as being, by your Will and Pleasure, intitled to a Share in the many Favours you have bestowed upon them; and, consequently, being obliged to unite with them in Praises and Thanksgivings to God for his Mercies, as well as in humble Intercessions for your Welfare and Happiness. We can assuredly testily of our Saltzburgers, that they have received all the Benefactions sent and distributed to them, with the greatest Humility and Thankfulness, express’d in the most obliging and respectful Terms -, and have made use of them agreeably to the Intent of the Givers, to the Glory of God, and the Relief of their own Necessities. As often as they join with us in Prayer (as we do not only every Day at Evening Prayer, but several times a Week besides, either in our own Houses of theirs when we go to visit them) the Benefactions received are always mentioned with Praise to God, and Wishes for his Blessing on all their Benefactors. They beg of God Almighty to give them Grace to apply all such Benefactions to the End? they are sent for, and that they may be led by this his Goodness towards them to Repentance and Holiness of Life. Altho it is too common for many to spend what is bestowed on them even in Charity in an irregular and sinful Manner, yet we cannot say. this of any one of our Saltzburgers; nay we should ourselves even on any Suspicion of this kind-, have rather kept back the Benefactions designed for such Persons till their Amendment should appear, than to allow a wrong Use of them; in doing which we hope that we act nothing contrary to the Will and Intention of our Benefactors. We can therefore assure all our Patrons and Friends upon our best Knowledge and Conscience, and we hope to their great Satisfaction, that they have not sown the Seed of their Charities upon a barren, but in a fertile Ground at Ebenezer, where it will blossom and bring forth Fruits unto everlasting Life: And since according to the Testimony of the Holy Spirit, this is the Portion of the Righteous, that it mall be well with them, and that they mall eat the Fruit of their Doings; we never mall cease to make our hearty Supplications before our most faithful and merciful Father in Heaven, that He may fulfil on them this and all his other precious Promises; that in return for what they h.ive given so liberally to the poor Saltzburgers, or rather lent unto the Lord, they may receive a thousand fold, through the Merit and Mediation of Jesus Christ. Part of the Charities in Money and other Gifts has been, according to the Pleasure of the Benefactors, a great help to both of us Ministers, in the first settling our Families; for which we humbly ‘ praise the Lord, and return them our most grateful Acknowledgments. The Lord grant unto them, that they may find Mercy of the Lord in ‘ that Day ; and as they have refreshed us so often, they may together with their worthy Families be refreshed in the Presence of the Lord for ever, yea that Goodness and Mercy may follow them all ‘ the Days of their Life.
These, dearest Benefactors, are the hearty Wishes and daily Prayers of Your very obliged humble Servants,
John Martin Boltzius, Minister of the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer. ISRAEL CHRISTIAN GRONAU, Catechist and Assistant to the Congregation of Saltzburgers at Ebenezer.
Ebenezer in Georgia, 26th Octob. 1739.
Source: Thomas, John 1740 No. IV. A Translation of a Letter out of High Dutch, from the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer to their Benefactors in Europe. [and] No. V. A Translation of a Letter out of High Dutch] from the Minister of the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer. A Sermon Preach’d in the Parish-Church of Christ-Church, London; On Thursday May the 8th, 1740…To Which is Annexed, An Account of the Origin and Designs of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Pp 51-57. M. Downing, London, England.
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.
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.
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Crass, David C., Tammy Forehand, Bruce Penner, Chris Gillam
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Elliott, Daniel T., and Rita F. Elliott
1990 Seasons in the Sun: 1989 and 1990 Excavations at New Ebenezer. LAMAR Institute, Watkinsville, Georgia.
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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.
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Jones, George F.
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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….
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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.
The work was tedious but fruitful.
Stay tuned for the answer…
Prevost and Elliott at Sheldon Church
August 24, 2008
Graffiti on Sheldon Church Wall, 1826
October 10, 2006–Beaufort County, South Carolina
Sir Christopher Prevost and Daniel Elliott escorted their ladies to Sheldon Church on this fine day. A few images of this outing are shown below.