Rita Elliott and Daniel Elliott are giving a presentation on the Puryburg 18th Century Redware Pottery Production Site discovery at the Decorative Arts Trust Symposium in Savannah this April. Here is the info:
Archive for the ‘LAMAR Institute’ Category
Kiln Carnage at Purysburg
March 23, 2017
pXRF Workshop for Archaeologists and Others
March 6, 2017
THE LAMAR INSTITUTE
For release, Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Get the Lead Out! A Scientific Workshop
The LAMAR Institute is pleased to announce that it will host a workshop for archaeologists, museum specialists, military historians and other professionals interested in early military history. The workshop, Get the Lead Out: Elemental Analysis of 18th and Early 19th Century Ammunition in Eastern North America, will instruct participants in the use of Portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) technology in the study of musket balls. It will allow participants to use elemental analysis to improve their understanding of round (musket) balls in current research and in older museum collections. The application of this advanced technology on early ammunition is new and evolving and preliminary results reveal it to be useful in identifying unique profile characterizations. While nearly all bullets from this era contain quantities of lead, the addition of other elements such as tin, antimony, and silver, whether intentional or accidental, has been demonstrated to vary within and between archaeological sites in Georgia and South Carolina. The workshop will be structured to allow researchers to bring samples for study. Experts in the field of pXRF will assist in data collection, processing and interpretation. The results of the workshop is expected to set the baseline for future studies on this topic. The workshop is being held at the Coastal Georgia Center in Savannah, Georgia on June 29 and 30, 2017 and is open to 30 students on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested persons should contact the LAMAR Institute.
Contact: Daniel Elliott, The LAMAR Institute, P.O. Box 2992, Savannah, GA 31402
When: June 29 and 30, 2017; 9AM-5PM
Where: Room 2002, Coastal Georgia Center, 305 Fahm Street, Savannah, Georgia
Cost: $25 registration fee, checks made payable to the LAMAR Institute; Registration for the workshop closes on June 15th.
What to bring: Laptop computer, round lead ball collection (if available)
Sponsored by: The LAMAR Institute, Savannah, Georgia and funded by a Preservation Technology and Training Grant from the National Park Service, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Open to: Archaeologists, museum specialists, military historians and other interested professionals (30 students max).
Support the LAMAR Institute with your purchases
February 17, 2017
When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Lamar Institute, Inc.. Bookmark the link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/58-1537572
and support us every time you shop. Our research team stands ready to locate more Revolutionary War sites in interior Georgia, but an archaeologist travels on his/her stomach! Consider buying something today and route it through AmazonSmile, it really is easy with no strings attached!
Support L… See More
Support Lamar Institute, Inc. by shopping at AmazonSmile.
When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate to Lamar Institute, Inc.. Support us every time you shop.
LETS GO KROGERING –For Archaeology!
Are you a Kroger shopper? Do you have a Kroger card? Do you love archaeology? Why not put all these together by adding the LAMAR institute to your list of Charitable Organizations that may benefit from your grocery shopping. The money comes from Kroger, so your money is safe. Just visit:
http://kroger.com and login to your account. Then go to:
and enter LAMAR Institute or the Number 64275 to enroll in the program. I will let everyone know how this money raising effort progresses. I just registered our personal card to get it started.
To learn more about the upcoming workshop on Metal Detecting for Archaeologists, visit this website:
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.
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:
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 email@example.com or (706) 341.7796. For more information about The LAMAR Institute visit http://www.thelamarinstitute.org
This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior. The Bluffton Branch Library is not a sponsor of this program.
Harvest Lecture – December – Archaeology at the Davenport House
November 21, 2014
Davenport House Museum- a Property of Historic Savannah Foundation
DATE: Monday, December 8 at 6:30 p.m.
PROGRAM: Panel discussion – Archaeology at the Davenport House: Findings and the Big Picture
PANELISTS: Daniel Elliott, Rita Elliott, Justin Gunther and more
ADMISSION: Free to the public but reservations are requested. 912.236.8097
LOCATION: Kennedy Pharmacy, 323 E. Broughton Street (Corner of Broughton and Habersham Streets), Savannah, GA
Dynamic Duo? Smash! Bang! Pow! %#&@!
November 11, 2014
Have You Seen This Battlefield?
October 19, 2014
Mystery on Tybee Island
October 13, 2014
From the Savannah Morning News:
Looking for Pearls:
Spanish mariners leave mystery on Tybee
By Ben Coggins, Savannah Morning News, October 10, 2014
Do you remember the Uncle Remus story about Brer Rabbit and his misadventures with the silent Tar Baby? One after another of the aggravated Brer Rabbit’s hands and feet got hopelessly stuck until he tricked Brer Fox into getting him loose.
Since 2006, Tybee Island resident Frank Drudi has been captivated by a different sort of Tar Baby — one that is 500 years old and from Trinidad.
When Frank’s neighbor was digging a swimming pool, Frank said he could put the sand from the hole onto his empty lot. When the sand was spread, he found three heavy rough discs, clearly man-made. On the edge of each was an impressed seal that Frank recognized as a Spanish Cross.
That started the research wheels turning. What were these artifacts, dug up barely a hundred yards from the Tybee lighthouse? And what clues did the four letters S-O-C-G in the quadrants around the cross provide?
Daniel Elliott of the Lamar Institute performed an exhaustive archaeological survey of Frank’s lot, now described as the Drudi tract. He used ground-penetrating radar and systematic sampling to look at Frank’s property, but nothing else turned up.
Frank discovered that the discs were made of tar that Spanish mariners of the 16th century used to seal leaks in their ships’ hulls. Tar that came from a huge pitch lake at La Brea, Trinidad, discovered by Columbus in 1498.
From poring over history books and talking to experts on early Spanish exploration of the Southeast coast, Frank has arrived at a persuasive theory of when and how the tar objects came to Tybee.
In 1521, two navigators sailing together out of the Caribbean, under contract to different aristocrats, both claimed land surrounding Winyah Sound near Georgetown, S.C. Claiming land for the crown and the sponsor involved performing a standard ceremonial ritual and recording the event by ship’s notary.
A legal dispute followed over who had rights to explore and settle the vast coastal area. The king of Spain, Charles of Ghent, decided in favor of Luis Vasquez de Ayllon, whose captain had performed the ritual hours ahead of the other claimant.
Having the authority to explore this barely-charted coast, in 1525 Ayllon sent Pedro de Quejo to do further reconnaissance and double-check the desirability of Winyah Bay for settlement. Taking no chances on establishing claims this time, Ayllon instructed Quejo to place stone markers with the king’s name and the date.
Not a single one of those stone markers has been found. But according to Quejo’s logs, his first stop was at latitude 32.0 degrees.
Sound familiar? That’s Tybee.
This means that on May 3, 1525, the first Europeans to set foot on Georgia soil did it on Tybee sand. And the river that Quejo named the Rio de la Cruz on that date is the Savannah River.
Frank figures that, when no stones were around to erect as markers, Quejo formed markers of his own. A composite of sand, grass, and the caulking tar he had on board. And what more natural point for the claim than the location that was later chosen in Oglethorpe’s day for the lighthouse?
In July 1526, Ayllon set sail from Hispaniola with six ships and 600 settlers straight to Winyah Bay. But the mother ship foundered on a sand bar before landing. Many supplies were lost, the area was not as suitable for agriculture as described and there were too few Native Americans with whom to work and trade. So, Ayllon improvised a Plan B.
His expedition sailed south searching for a better location. On Sept. 29, 1526, they established the settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape. Somewhere along the Georgia coast, maybe on Sapelo Sound, and named perhaps for the Guale Indians of the area. Ayllon himself died of illness there. The colony lasted about six weeks before the survivors sailed home, and its site has never been found.
Maybe Frank Drudi’s markers hold a clue. Frank has looked long and hard at these tar babies, trying to coax more answers from them. But like Brer Rabbit, now he’s a bit stuck.
When he heard about the West Chatham Middle School students who were studying early Spanish missions along the Georgia coast, he decided to see if their young minds could bring new eyes and ideas to answer some of his questions. Why haven’t more of these tar objects been discovered elsewhere? What do the letters S-O-C-G mean?
Frank deputized me to carry the tar markers, almost 60 pounds each, like they were Faberge eggs, to show to the students. It was a good move.
The students and their teachers, Mrs. Jacquelin Harden and Mr. Josh Wonders, were very interested to see these old relics that are, so far, one-of-a-kind.
And they offered fresh insights. Samantha Jenkins suggested searching for references to “rough asphalt cylinders” in explorers’ narratives and that the letters may be initials for a church. Francheska Gonzalez suggested that there are more and larger markers nearby and always on the southern shores of their rivers.
Several of the students speak Spanish, so they may discover Spanish-language journals, diaries or records that refer to the markers or the voyages. Regan Gayadeen said she has family in Trinidad and would get them involved to look for similar tar objects in museums and collections around La Brea.
Diamond Folston and Sade Baker had experience making charcoal rubbings of cemetery headstones, so they took rubbings of the Spanish crosses to study more closely. Jack Steuwe commented on the markers’ plasticity, and Nicholas Bergeron on their symbolism.
Some students were intrigued whether the seals stamped in the markers were made ahead of time in Hispaniola or on board the ships as situations changed. All three of the Drudi objects have the same imprint, but in other locations might different letters be used? And maybe we should search for the wooden stampers that were carved to impress the seals — like searching for the branding iron and not the brand.
Could the markers have been moved at all by Indians? Are the letters really S-O-C-G, or are they D-O-C-G? Does C-G stand for Carlos de Gante (King Charles of Ghent) as Frank assumes or for something else? Could the G stand for Gualdape? The S for San or Santa?
Students Cameron Myers, John Winters, and John Tyner lingered to look at the markers from all sides. They pointed out the wood impressions on the undersides and holes that might have been for lifting them. They suggested X-raying the markers to see if they contained medals or coins put in by the seamen who fabricated them.
They suggested that 3-D scans be made of the markers, so that they could be 3-D printed and examined by other researchers. And they suggested that, with high definition, perhaps the wood grain and grass imprints might help tell the story.
Tybee DPW Superintendent Danny Carpenter is equally fascinated. He has found hundreds of artifacts from the Civil War, the Fort Screven era, and even from the lost Martello Tower.
He says, “These tar markers are a Tybee mystery, like the Tybee Bomb. But I think they are far more significant.”
He and Frank are hopeful that the West Chatham students make a breakthrough, crack this Da Vinci code and get the tar babies to reveal their secrets.
For more background information on Frank Drudi’s discovery, read and learn at:
127. Archaeological Reconnaissance at the Drudi Tract, Tybee Island, Chatham County, Georgia. [With Supplement: Identity of the Drudi Objects, 2009]. By Daniel T. Elliott, 2008. (2.6 MB).
News from Kettle Creek
October 8, 2014
Kettle Creek Battlefield to develop conceptual plan
(Flash! From The News-Reporter, October 9, 2014)
The Kettle Creek Battlefield Association, Inc. (KCBA) recently signed an agreement for development of a conceptual plan for a Kettle Creek Battlefield Park. The plan would be developed by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia (CVIOG), and was signed by Walker Chewning, president of KCBA and Jere Morehead, president of the university.
[dan says, “Great! The more the merrier.”]
AND this story from October 2nd:
Harley makes donation to help preserve Kettle Creek Battlefield
Hiking trails are being blazed for visitors to explore entire Kettle Creek battle site
On his fourth trip to the Kettle Creek Battlefield site, Walter Cook, PhD, spent a recent morning on the Summit Trail. In earlier visits, he refined positions of the War Hill Loop Trail which Allen Burton, Joe Harris, and Richard McAvoy’s county crew had cleared.
Cook, retired from the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, has located and designed more than 80 hiking and interpretive trails in Georgia and South Carolina. “It is what I like to do in retirement,” he said. He used a machete to hack his way through blackberry thickets and other undergrowth on earlier visits under 100-degree conditions.
“The trail must follow the shoulder of the ridge and never allow more than a ten degree incline,” he said. He charges no fee and brings his own lunch so as “not to waste time.”
The two highest priority trails, identified by the Kettle Creek Battlefield Park Master Plan, are now open and identified for hiking, having only a few rough spots. The War Hill Loop Trail is less than half a mile and the Summit Trail is somewhat longer. The Loop Trail provides a view of Kettle Creek, all sides of War Hill, and allows a review of battle events and topography. It is rich in natural history. Public school lesson plan developers Katy Meeks and Al Dawkins toured the trail.
With adequate clearing to the west, the Summit Trail will offer a panoramic view of both Settlement Hill and War Hill. Thus, it is an easy visitor experience of the troop movement from the Hammett Settlement and battle sequences as the engagement moved southward to what is now New Salem Church Road.
The battlefield development project involves a partnership between the Kettle Creek Battlefield Association, Inc. and Wilkes County. It envisions economic development based on the rich history of Wilkes County and the city of Washington. It is supported by funding from Federal, state, and local sources as well as that of many private organizations and individuals who value the lessons of history.
Archaeology Exhibit Opens at Magnolia Springs/Camp Lawton Site in Jenkins County, Georgia USA
October 7, 2014
PRESS ITEM, October 7, 2014
MILLEN, Ga. (AP) — Civil War artifacts from a former prison are set to go on display at Magnolia Springs State Park near Millen.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Magnolia Springs History Center is set for Tuesday. The agency says Camp Lawton was built to relieve overcrowding at Andersonville Prison.
Archaeologists and students from Georgia Southern University have been excavating the site since 2009. They’ve found items such as a pipe, coins, a ring, buttons, buckles and stockade wall posts. Some of them will be displayed in the new museum and some will stay at the university.
Magnolia Springs State Park is five miles north of Millen. In addition to the museum, visitors can tour original Confederate earthworks, as well as the springs and boardwalk.
[Elliott notes: I look forward to seeing the museum exhibit. The LAMAR Institute was happy to be part of these discoveries!]
The LAMAR Institute has been awarded a research grant from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program to document the Purysburg (S.C.) Revolutionary War battlefield and American headquarters complex. To learn more:
Abby Does Austin SAA 2014
April 24, 2014
Guess Who Won a 2014 Award from the Society for American Archaeology for Excellence in Public Education? Hmmmmmm???? Abby the Archaeobus!!!!! YIPPEE!!! Abby Rocks! (I have known her since she was a baby….parked in our driveway refusing to crank)
Don’t believe me? Here it is in the SAA’s own words:
“Abby the ArchaeoBus is a mobile archaeological classroom that has reached thousands of educators, students, and families since it was created in 2009 by the Society for Georgia Archaeology (SGA) and its volunteers. It is a creative and innovative means to foster public understanding of archaeology and appreciation for site stewardship. It provides flexible, informal programs for large public events and formal classroom resources emphasizing standards-based analytical skills.”
“In 2013, New South Associates staff and Georgia State Anthropology graduate students, guided by the SGA, served as ArchaeoBus educator—targeting schools, libraries, museums, and events in metropolitan Atlanta and reaching 6,000 youngsters, many in economically challenged school districts. As a “magic school bus” full of archaeology fun and knowledge; a collaborative partnership among the avocational, academic, business, and CRM communities; an opportunity for public archaeology training of college students; and in the educational experience it provides to visitors, it deserves the SAA’s Excellence in Public Archaeology award.”
I would add a few names to the list of cudos, such as Tom Gresham, James Eiseman, John Robertson, Ellen Provenzano (Mrs. P), Betsy Shirk, Catherine Long, Carolyn Rock, Lain Graham, the generous folks at Best Buy, Georgia Transmission Company and the Georgia National Fair, and, not least but most, Rita Folse Elliott (her foster mother). Way to go guys!
I left out numerous others, but hey, this is my blog!
Caledonia is a Rock Star!! Brier Creek! Brier Creek! Caledonia! Caledonia!
Efforts underway to preserve Revolutionary War battlefield
By Rob Pavey
Friday, April 11, 2014 7:59 PM
SYLVANIA, Ga. — More than two centuries after a daring British surprise attack routed American forces at Brier Creek, new efforts are underway to preserve one of Georgia’s least explored Revolutionary War sites.
“This battlefield has all the components very rarely seen in preservation,” said archaeologist Dan Battle, who has spent the past year assessing the Screven County historic site to determine what secrets it might still hold.
The Battle of Brier Creek unfolded March 3, 1779, when a British force of 1,500 men led by Col. Marc Prevost circled back on Gen. John Ashe’s encamped Patriot army, which included about 1,700 soldiers.
The late afternoon attack was a complete surprise. About 150 Americansdied, while hundreds of others were captured. The fleeing survivors left behind their arms, food and supplies.
The British victory was so decisive scholars believe it prolonged the American Revolution by a year, changing the course of U.S. history.
Today, much of the site lies within the 15,100-acre Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area owned by the state of Georgia and managed for hunting and fishing – but not specifically for historic preservation. Portions of the battlefield and related camps sprawl onto private tracts. Although the area is marked by a bronze historical commission marker erected in 1956, little has been done in terms of formal archaeology.
Battle’s company, Cypress Cultural Consultants, began evaluating the area last year with funding from a Transportation Enhancement Act matching grant obtained by the city of Sylvania.
Objectives of the cursory assessment include pinpointing certain battle features – and possibly graves of the soldiers who died there.
Although a final report isn’t due until later this year, the results are encouraging.
Using technology known as LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, three-dimensional maps were used to identify the defensive line hastily arranged by the Patriot forces. Further studies helped locate other key areas, which are remarkably intact.
“The American camp is still in good shape – not pilfered,” Battle said. “We’ve also come across a site where the Patriots were manufacturing musket balls, which is unique in its own right.”
Teams extracted about 600 items that were carefully preserved and recorded and will undergo curation and analysis at University of Georgia. “There are things from the camp, from the American lines – and we even know where the exchange of gunfire occurred,” he said.
As historic battle sites go, Brier Creek’s remoteness is part of its charm – and also its curse.
“The only thing that happened out there was the battle – then it got left alone,” he said. “It’s one of the best preserved sites in the country.”
Its secluded setting, however, makes it vulnerable to tampering by relic looters, and possible degradation through land management programs, such as timber harvesting.
Lee Taylor, regional game management supervisor for Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division, said state officials are doing all they can to protect the resources at Tuckahoe, but will need a final report with hard data and recommendations.
“We are anticipating getting the final report from the surveyors by the end of the year, so Wildlife Resources Division and the Historical Preservation Division can develop a comprehensive management plan for the WMA,” Taylor said. “To date we have received no information from the survey.”
In the meantime, DNR keeps the area patrolled and under the watch of its officers, who will arrest anyone caught digging or looting. The area is also posted to warn against using metal detectors.
Maintenance at Tuckahoe, including road scraping, is conducted carefully and will not include any excavations deeper than past activities, Taylor said.
Any proposed logging activity will be screened by the Historic Preservation Division’s Archaeology Section, he said. Currently, however, “no timber operations have been proposed for Tuckahoe WMA.”
The ultimate objective, he said, will be to preserve the area’s cultural resources while also making sure Tuckahoe remains available to the public for hunting and fishing – the purposes for which most of the site was purchased in 1989, using license fee revenues from Georgia’s anglers and hunters.
“The Georgia DNR will continue to rigorously protect intact portions of the site and ensure the entire battlefield is managed appropriately,” Taylor said.
One of the biggest mysteries of the Battle of Brier Creek involves where the American soldiers killed in battle were buried, and by whom.
Based on details from comparable battles of the Revolutionary War, the dead were likely moved into piles, near where they fell, and are probably in mass graves, Battle said.
As far as who buried them, one piece of the puzzle turned up in an unlikely place: the archival records of the Dallas (Texas) Historical Society.
It was there that references were found that the British Army’s 71st Highlanders ordered Loyalists from nearby South Carolina to bury the casualties, starting the day after the battle. Other clues emerged from maps and regimental records identified in the New York Public Library.
Efforts to locate graves have included the use of “cadaver dogs” specially trained to detect the scent of human remains, even if those remains are centuries old. The surveys yielded positive hits, but further studies would be needed to confirm what lies beneath the surface soil.
Battle believes the presence of Patriot casualties should earn the site more attention in the future.
“Over 150 U.S. soldiers and militia are buried on the battlefield, not found or ever celebrated by America,” he said, adding that George Washington is believed to have visited the area during his Southern tour and said prayers for the killed Americans.
“The forces at Brier Creek were a multinational force that included soldiers from almost every state of the 13,” he said. “Many of Georgia’s Continentals were actually recruited from Pennsylvania and Virginia.”
Preliminary findings will likely recommend more detailed explorations in the future, but such projects are expensive – and tend to move slowly.
“That’s why one of the most needed things at the site is a management plan,” said Dan Elliott, president of The Lamar Institute, a non-profit group that works with universities and state and federal agencies to conduct archaeological research.
The findings so far indicate the battlefield was impacted by farming – in particular plowing – in the past, but is still relatively intact.
“In the bigger picture, things aren’t too bad,” Elliott said. “Plowing disturbs things, but even if some of the site was farmed over the centuries, it doesn’t move things too far.”
Many artifacts discovered by the teams were left “in situ,” or in place, without being disturbed. Items were removed only from the shallow surface layer of disturbed soil, or “plow zone,” he said, and deeper items that were identified and left alone were mapped for future reference.
Although the lead musket balls and decaying metal fragments buried in the sandy soil have little monetary value, they have a tremendous value in their ability to tell a compelling story if properly extracted, Battle said.
“It’s really rare to be able to put things you find in the ground into a particular day and year,” he said. “Usually, you’re lucky if you can even get the right century. We have a chance, right here in this battlefield, to study that.”
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
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