Plemmons roots of mine

November 25, 2012 - Leave a Response


Grave of my great-great grandfather William B. Plemmons, Boardtown, Gilmer County, Georgia USA.


Great New Book Out! particularly Chapter 11.

November 1, 2012 - Leave a Response

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

Reporting the Revolutionary War

On Sale Starting November 1, 2012

Watch the Camp Lawton Prison Discovery on Time Team America Episode

October 5, 2012 - Leave a Response

UPDATE 8/6/2014


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

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

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

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

2012 Post:

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

"Meg in the Car Park"

Searching for the Camp Lawton prison stockade wall.

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



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

Preservation Posts, November 2012, Issue 42,

Georgia Department of Natural Resources


Old cemetery inspires Brunswick’s city manager to investigate |

September 23, 2012 - Leave a Response

Old cemetery inspires Brunswick’s city manager to investigate |

News from Fort Hawkins

September 17, 2012 - Leave a Response

Click Here for:    Fort Hawkins news

LAMAR Institute awarded grant to find Carr’s Fort battlefield

July 10, 2012 - Leave a Response
Official NPS press release for our grant project award.

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War of 1812 Marker Dedication at Fort Hawkins

June 15, 2012 - One Response


Amazing American History Revealed At Fort Hawkins

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


“Fort Hawkins Significance Revealed”

By MARTY WILLETT — Special to The Telegraph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here:

DAR members hear program about Kettle Creek site archaeological finds

May 27, 2012 - Leave a Response

DAR members hear program about Kettle Creek site archaeological finds.

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

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

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

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

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

Other items of business were conducted before the meeting adjourned.

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

Dedication for graves of the unknown held at New Ebenezer |

May 27, 2012 - Leave a Response

Dedication for graves of the unknown held at New Ebenezer |

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.”

Fort Frederica Outdoor Archaeology School Shuts Down!

May 16, 2012 - Leave a Response

Glynn County Board of Education cut the 4th Grade Archaeology Program at Fort Frederica. Very, very “Poor Do” as my mom would have said. That program was vibrant and exciting and stimulated kids to learn. For 18 years it stood as an example for the U.S.A., which was never equaled. All hail Ellen Provenzano and the other scholarly building blocks of that bastion of learning!

Savannah Explores Its Archaeology

May 12, 2012 - Leave a Response

Savannah Explores Its Archaeology
(Savannah, Georgia, May 11, 2012)
A panel discussion on archaeology in Savannah and Chatham County, Georgia will be held on May 12th at 2:00 at Trinity Church on Telfair Square, Savannah, Georgia. Entitled, “Perspectives in Archaeology Digging for the Truth”, the four discussants include: Dr. Pamela Cressey, archaeologist for the City of Alexandria, Virginia; Neil Dawson, Dawson Architects; Richard Kanaski, Regional Archaeologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Dr. Sue Moore, Professor of Anthorpology, Georgia Southern University. Michael Jordan will serve as moderator for the event. Partners in this project are Metropolitan Planning Commission, Chatham County Resource Protection Commission (primary hosts for the event), Trinity Church, Chatham County, The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic District Board of Review, City of Savannah, the Chatham County Historic Preservation Commission, The LAMAR Institute and Coastal Heritage Society. This discussion will explore a variety of topics on archaeology in Savannah and Chatham County, including the current state of knowledge, need for an archaeological ordinance, and benefits of archaeology for the people of coastal Georgia. The LAMAR Institute is delighted to serve as a co-sponsor of a reception that follows the archaeology discussion. The event is free and open to the public.

More Fort Hawkins Discoveries!

May 12, 2012 - Leave a Response

More Fort Hawkins Discoveries
(May 11, 2012, Macon, Georgia, Special Press Release by Marty Willett, Fort Hawkins Commission Press Officer & Project Coordinator)
Fort Hawkins continues its May celebration of Archaeology Month in Georgia after a successful dig last week at the early American frontier fort and factory. The “Search For the Northwest Blockhouse” conducted by the LAMAR Institute helped kickoff the month long statewide celebration and determined the exact location of the fort’s other blockhouse that blew over in December, 1880. The preliminary results reflect that after the 1871 cleanup, the 1920’s construction of the Fort Hawkins Grammar School, and finally the widening and paving of Woolfolk Street, all evidence of the blockhouse, save the very bottom of the palisade posts leading to the blockhouse wall, has been erased. However, the research will allow the fort to be fully and accurately mapped now for the first time since it was constructed in 1806.

During the burning of Washington, D.C. by the British in the War of 1812, it is presumed the fort’s plans and early records were destroyed because they do not exist today. Since the Fort Hawkins Commission began its archaeological research with the help of the Peyton Anderson Foundation in 2005, more has been discovered about the fort than ever known before and why the Commission’s web site is called “The Real Fort Hawkins.”

The fort and the “Second War of Independence” are featured prominently on the Society for Georgia Archaeology’s May 2012 Celebration poster. On June 18, 2012 the Major Phillip Cook Chapter of the Daughters of the War of 1812 and the Commission will dedicate a War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration historic marker at the fort site.

Just completed at the fort site is the new protective covering over a 200 year old double brick fireplace hearth uncovered in the 2005 dig. One of the many surprises unearthed then that documented a more significant and substantial Fort Hawkins than previously thought, the unique brick feature is now better preserved and shared in a new outdoor interpretive display at the fort. The Macon Town Committee of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia sponsored this important preservation project and its completion adds to the site’s Archaeology Month Celebration.

Visitors to the fort this Saturday, May 12, 2012 will see more of the site’s treasures uncovered as the Boy Scouts of America join the celebration. Troop 10 of the Central Georgia Council BSA will aid one of their member’s Eagle Scout project to reclaim and stabilize the 1930’s WPA stone pool constructed when the Southeast Blockhouse Replica was built. The scouts will be digging out the stone pool, screening for artifacts, and building a berm that will prevent future flooding. Not only will this project improve the site’s appearance, but also allow the feature to be fully restored by the Commission as they fully develop the fort site. The site off Emery Highway in Macon is open every Saturday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 – 4:00 pm with no admission charge. For more information call or click 478-742-3003 or

Remember Donald Wayne Campbell

May 9, 2012 - Leave a Response

Obituary for my friend, Donald “Eon” Wayne Campbell, the Vice-President of the C&E Broom Company, Cedar Grove, Georgia and founding member of the short-lived garage band, The South Side Cedar Grove Salvation Army Marching Blues Band. Back in the Day.

Obituary For: Mr. Donald Wayne Campbell | Benson Funeral Home, Inc..

The History Underneath

May 8, 2012 - Leave a Response

The History Underneath.

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

from Connectsavannah:

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

By Jessica Leigh Lebos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perspectives in Archaeology: Digging for the Truth

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

Where: Trinity Methodist Church, 127 Barnard St.

Cost: Free and open to the public

The History Underneath

May 8, 2012 - Leave a Response

The History Underneath.

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

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

ArchaeoBus rolls its mobile classroom into Auburn

May 4, 2012 - Leave a Response

ArchaeoBus rolls its mobile classroom into Auburn.

Way down yonder neath the Chattahoochee

April 26, 2012 - Leave a Response

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

Savannah! Come to the Archaeology Panel Discussion on May 12th

April 14, 2012 - Leave a Response

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

Thank you,


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

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

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

Cultural Resource and Urban Planning Manager

Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission

110 East State Street

Savannah, Georgia 31401

Tel.: (912) 651-1482

Fax: (912) 651-1480

Archaeology Panel Flyer

Past Perfect in Savannah:

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

Savannah Civil War Films Grand Premiere

March 27, 2012 - Leave a Response

News Release on debut of two films on Savannah in the Civil War showing on April 12, 2012, 7:30PM, Fort Pulaski National Park, Georgia.SavannahCivilWarFilms

See also Phil Gast’s blog story at:

Drudi Objects of Tybee Island

March 25, 2012 - Leave a Response

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

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

127. Archaeological Reconnaissance at the Drudi Tract, Tybee Island, Chatham County, Georgia. [With Supplement: Identity of the Drudi Objects, 2009]. By Daniel T. Elliott, 2008. (2.6 MB).

TV Shows for the Dead

March 19, 2012 - Leave a Response


Call for Protestof Spike TV and National Geographic Channel

February 27, 2012 - Leave a Response

Two new TV shows hit rock bottom with archaeologists:

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

OR for the more sophisticated,


Brought to you by,

Savannah’s Underground Revolutionary War

January 30, 2012 - Leave a Response

Savannah’s Underground Revolutionary War
(Savannah, Georgia, January 30, 2012)

The American Revolution in Savannah, Georgia was the focus of archaeological excavations conducted from 2005-2011. The historical research and archaeological discoveries from this work are contained within four reports that are now available for free download. A related curriculum for 4th and 5th grade teachers is also available for download at no charge to anyone interested. The first project was funded by the Coastal Heritage Society, Savannah, Georgia. The National Park Service funded much of the later work, including two reports and the curriculum, through two American Battlefield Protection Program grants. All work was conducted under the auspices of the Curatorial Department of the Coastal Heritage Society (Savannah, Georgia) in partnership with The LAMAR Institute (Savannah, Georgia) and under the direction of Rita Folse Elliott. We invite you to download the reports and learn more about Savannah’s role in this pivotal American event. To obtain these reports, visit: See Reports 104 and 173-176.

Historical and Natural Resources in Georgia—NOT!

January 18, 2012 - Leave a Response


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 continues to expand on rich heritage – Local & State –

January 16, 2012 - Leave a Response

Fort Hawkins continues to expand on rich heritage – Local & State –

Abby Arrives At Fort Hawkins

October 24, 2011 - Leave a Response


Abby Arrives At Fort Hawkins

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


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

Responses from the Media:

Macon Telegraph-

WRWR-TV, Warner Robins:

October 17, 2011 - Leave a Response


Fort Hawkins’ outer wall

October 13, 2011 - Leave a Response

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

Today’s news in Macon, Georgia. $0.75

Breakfast at the H&H $12.90 for two

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

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

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

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

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

Back in our motel room $PRICELESS

Fort Hawkins Dig News–October 2011

October 4, 2011 - Leave a Response




Fort Hawkins Archaeological Dig Returns

During the entire month of October historic Fort Hawkins will see more of its early American history uncovered as The LAMAR Institute resumes the archaeological research of the outer palisade wall and Northwest Blockhouse. The British burned the fort’s plans and records when they burned Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812, so the past research done by The LAMAR Institute revealed details of the fort that were unknown until now. Erected in 1806 on the eastern Ocmulgee River, the fort was the frontier of America overlooking the Muscogee Creek Nation on the western side of the river. As U.S. Army and Georgia Militia Headquarters, the fort played a significant role in the Southeastern Theater of America’s “Second War of Independence.”

The LAMAR Institute’s past archaeological research revealed a more significant and substantial Fort Hawkins than ever known before and the complete archaeological report can be found at the Fort Hawkins Commission’s website, which is called “The Real Fort Hawkins” due to their critical research. LAMAR President and Lead Archaeologist, Dan Elliott, was so astounded by the wealth of new information that he dubbed the fort as “The Pentagon of the South” which verified its extreme importance in the War of 1812. This Phase 1 research from 2005 – 2007 documented the fort’s footprint and provided enough crucial information to create for the first time a Fort Hawkins Master Plan, also found on the Commission’s website.

Phase 2 to document the fort’s outer palisade wall is being concluded this month and was made possible by a generous grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation. The Commission plans to use this needed documentation to begin raising the ten foot tall timber palisade wall next year as part of the National Bicentennial Celebration of the War of 1812. Both the archaeological dig and palisade reconstruction, along with the fort’s expanded patriotic educational public programming and expanded hours of operation, being open every weekend since March, will lead to the capital funding needed to open the historic site full time as a self sustaining national and regional educational historic site just in time for the approaching National Celebration.

Although the professional and volunteer dig team is in place, the public will be invited to view the dig daily beginning Monday, October 10 and all Friends of Fort Hawkins will be able to help with the dig or as Commission Project Coordinator Marty Willett puts it enthusiastically “to get on their knees for history!” A Press Conference to announce some of the sure-to-be amazing discoveries is scheduled at 3:00 pm at the fort on the dig’s final day, October 31. This will be a real treat with more tricks and treats later for the community during the fort’s first Halloween program. For more dig information call Elliott at 706-341-7796 and for more Friends of Fort Hawkins information call Willett at 478-742-3003.

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


Fort Hawkins Halloween Hauntings

5-8 p.m. Oct. 31, Fort Hawkins Blockhouse Replica, Emery Highway. Visitors will enjoy some fun old fashion tricks and treats along with candlelight tours of the three story Blockhouse Replica, jack-o-lantern carving with the Irish legend about “Jack” and of course a Halloween bonfire. The official Ghostbusters will be on hand to help the Fort Hawkins Commission with its first Ghost Watch at the 200-year-old early American frontier fort. Free. 742-3003 or

Read more:

So, is Fort Hawkins haunted? Consider the case of Captain Kit Keiser. Captain Christopher “Kit” Keiser, United States Army, served as commander of Fort Hawkins from 1818 until his untimely death at Fort Hawkins, sometime prior to November 5, 1819. Keiser was Deputy Quartermaster Master General at Fort Hawkins at the time of his command appointment by Major General Edmund P. Gaines. Keiser is the only one of the fort’s commandants whose death at the fort is documented. What were the circumstances surrounding his death, and who was Christopher Keiser? Was his lifeless body cut down where it was hanging in the bell tower of the fort’s blockhouse????? WOOOOOOOOOOOOO~~~mooooore wooooork is neeeeeeded!!!!

LAMAR Institute archaeologist Joel Jones is shovel shaving as trackhoe operator Curtis Perry exposes the southwestern outer corner of Fort Hawkins as the Fort Hawkins Archaeological Project resumes on October 3, 2011.

NBC news local affiliate Channel 41 had this news story at 6PM:

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

Fort Hawkins Again! Turn your radio on…

September 7, 2011 - Leave a Response

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

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

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

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

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

GPB News 9-5-11 Podcast

Shoreline erosion report helps archeologists study past of Savannah |

July 30, 2011 - Leave a Response

Shoreline erosion report helps archeologists study past of Savannah |


Yep, shoreline is eroding and archaeological sites are being lost at a bewildering rate.–What global warming?

Chatham Commissioners designate Pennyworth Island as historic following swampy slog |

July 13, 2011 - Leave a Response

Chatham Commissioners designate Pennyworth Island as historic following swampy slog |

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

June 27, 2011 - Leave a Response



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

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

Marty Willett at Fort Hawkins

June 23, 2011 - Leave a Response

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

Legal question complicates Fort Hawkins funding – Local & State –

Follow up article:

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

Pin Point and Clarence Thomas

June 20, 2011 - Leave a Response

Link to recent news stories about Clarence Thomas, Harlan Crow, Pin Point, wealthy benefactor, etc.

An article in the Sunday New York Times:

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

May 16, 2011 - Leave a Response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Forts in Georgia

May 10, 2011 - Leave a Response


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

Grant will fund dig at Oconee site ||

By Erin France, May 10, 2011

Grant will fund dig at Oconee site ||

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yuchi Yuchi Yuchi

April 18, 2011 - Leave a Response

Coming Soon–A New Book about the Yuchi Nation:

“One of the Other Nations”: Yuchi Indian Histories Before the Removal Era, edited by Jason Baird Jackson. In press [2011], University of Nebraska Press.

I have Chapter 5 in it, which deals with the discovery of the Yuchi village at Mount Pleasant (9EF169) in Effingham County, Georgia.

Short History of Brass Knuckles in America

April 1, 2011 - One Response

This post contains the results of my quick internet research on the early history of brass knuckles in America. My curiosity was aroused after watching a television documentary made in 1999 about the Irish in New Orleans. In that documentary, the writer attributed the first use of brass knuckles in America to the Irish (not a direct quote). This evening I did a brief search of several internet sources to determine if this was a valid statement. Also, as an archaeologist I sought to determine if brass knuckles can be accurately dated, since they are occasionally found in archaeological contexts and archaeologists are always eager to identify artifacts that serve as time markers.

As expected, searching with, I met with several websites that tracked brass knuckles back to the Romans, and even the Greeks. The intermediate era, like the past 1500 years or so, were glossed over in these “histories’.  The terms “brass knuckle” and “knuckle duster” (and various variants of these two concepts) were cited as early names for these items, along with some vague etymological link to the German language.

The earliest use of the term that I was able to locate using Google Books in Europe was in 1862, when The Archaeological Journal, an archaeological publication in the British Isles, published an article about a personal collection of armour that noted, “A pair of gauntlets is described in the next item, of ancient fashion, and with brass knuckles (condolis de latone). Examples are not wanting of representations of gauntlets thus ornamented in monumental portraitures, such as the effigy of John de Montacute in Salisbury Cathedral; he died in 1388.’ In a Computus of the Treasurer of the Dauphin, in 1333, a payment occurs for ‘guantis lattunatis;’—for a pair ‘de caligis de latono,”‘<fcc. These may, however, have been gauntlets wholly of brass, such as those still suspended over the tomb of the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral.” (The Archaeological Journal 1862: 163).

I then searched Google Books for earlier references in America and restricted my search to the 18th and 19th century. I was surprised to find that the term “brass knuckles” did not appear in a printed book until 1855. A similar search of 18th and 19th century newspapers contained in the archives at pushed the earliest reference to “brass knuckles” back to February, 1855.

The City Council of New Albany, Indiana noted in their proceedings:

“Mr. Weir offered the following.

Resolved, That the Committee on Ordinances beinstructed to report an ordinance prohibiting the carrying or using of instruments called brass knuckles.

Mr. Stoy moved to amend by striking out brass knuckles and inserting ‘any kind of concealed weapons,’ which amendment was lost.

Mr. Kent moved to amend by making the resolution read, ‘Brass Knuckles, Slung Shot, or other dangerous weapons;’ which amendment was accepted, and the resolution as amended adopted by the following vote…” (New Albany Daily Ledger 1855:2).

Then I discovered an antique brass knuckle collector’s group on and I emailed one of their members, Daniel White, with an question about the origins of brass knuckles in America. He graciously provided a quick reply, in which he stated, “Some of the earliest ones I know of are the Sam Houston lead knuckles which are on display at the Sam Houston Schoolhouse Museum in Maryville, Tennessee. Apparently he was only at the school in 1812 and the knuckles(which have his name carved into them and appear to be handmade) were supposedly found hidden above the door frame during a renovation in the 1950’s. I also believe brass knuckles were brought over by Chinese immigrants during the early to mid 1800’s and I think these strongly influenced the style of the most common cast iron knuckles made during and after the Civil War.”

I signed up to join the group and examined a series of uploaded photographs of brass, lead and cast iron knuckles dating to the Civil War era. Most of these were posted by Mr. White. They reflect a variety of styles. Thanks to Mr. White and his colleagues for furthering the history of this intriguing weapon type.

Civil War Era Knuckles, Courtesy of Daniel White.

If White is correct, this would push the begin date for brass knuckles in America back to 1812. If this is so, then why did it take the popular press in America four decades to final document these useful weapons of personal protection? Cleary, the 1855 city ordinance shows that public officials in this wild and wooly Ohio River town saw the need to regulate brass knuckles by 1855, which implies their presence for several years prior. The wording in their ordinance, however, infers a “newness” and relatively unfamiliarity with the term brass knuckles. Perhaps brass knuckles had been around for many decades but were considered vulgar items and not suitable for “polite society”, or the printed word. Perhaps they were hovering below the public radar, tucked inside the pockets of the men (and maybe even the women) who were busy populating the American heartland. Can these weapons be traced to the Asians, many of whom were being imported to America to perform manual labor?  Or were they brought by Irish laborers from Great Britain? Or possibly both? Was the manufacture of cast iron knuckles an American innovation? And were lead knuckles the first type used in America? Were any used in the War of 1812, or in the American Revolution? Thus far, I have found no references to their use in those earlier wars.

Composite weapons that included Brass knuckles, knives, and/or handguns existed in America by the 1860s. Common phrases, such as “knuckle sandwich” “bare knuckles”, and “knucklehead”, may hide clues to this puzzle. By World War I, brass knuckles were a common weapon and effective in the trench warfare that characterized that war. Similarly, brass knuckles continued to be used as weapons in World War II. If these weapons were official weapons in the American Civil War, documentary evidence for it is elusive. Collector reports demonstrate that brass, lead or cast iron knuckles are widespread (albeit relatively rare) on battlegrounds in the South. Were these personal weapons sold by sutlers in the Army camps? Which examples were sand cast, possibly by the soldiers themselves, and which were cast at furnaces or forges? Were the lead examples made from melted bullets? Were they used by both Union and Confederate soldiers? The present contextual information for these battlefield relics do not adequately answer these questions.

My own archaeological research over the past 35 years has yielded only one pair of knuckles. This was a broken example made from cast iron that I recovered from a 19th-20th century house (Alma Boyd House) on the Sumter National Forest in Abbeville County, South Carolina. It came from surface context, so its age was unknown. Any other archaeologists who have encountered this tool type, please let me know. Clearly, more research is needed, and I hope to report back.

Best regards,




References Cited

New Albany Daily Ledger

1855       Proceedings of the Council. New Albany Daily Ledger, February 7, 1855:2.

The Archaeological Journal

Original Documents. The Armour and Arms Belonging to Henry  Bowet, Archbishop of York, Deceased in 1423, from the Roll of his Executors’ Accounts. The Archaeological Journal 19:159-163.

Marching Through Georgia: Tracking Sherman Backwards Through Archaeology

February 16, 2011 - Leave a Response

Dug Gap Battlefield, Union Right Flank

The year 2011 began for me by tracking he archaeological footprint of  Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s 20th Corps backwards through the State of Georgia. My sample consists of two relatively minor places of conflict, Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge and Monteith Swamp near Savannah. By the word minor, I mean that both battles did not greatly add substantially to the overall death count in the war. It does not mean, however, that these two engagements were meaningless. The battle at Dug Gap took place on May 8, 1864 and the battle at Monteith Swamp was on December 9, 1864.  Between these two military events was Sherman’s social engineering project to “Make Georgia Howl”. Efforts to delineate these two battlefields on the modern-day landscape were very successful and laboratory analysis and reporting phases are underway. This information will be presented to the public by years end.

Savannah Under Fire Stakeholders Presentation

February 3, 2011 - Leave a Response

This link is the Powerpoint Show and presentation text in PDF format.SavannahUnderFire_StakeholdersPresentation

Savannah’s Revolutionary War Discoveries | WSAV TV

February 2, 2011 - Leave a Response

Savannah’s Revolutionary War Discoveries | WSAV TV.

Fort Hawkins is Up and Running!

February 2, 2011 - Leave a Response


February 1, 2011

At today’s Macon City Council’s Community Resource & Development Committee Meeting, the Fort Hawkins Commission announced that it has hired a full time Project Coordinator to expand both educational public programs and fund raising efforts. The 1930’s Blockhouse Replica on Emery Highway will be opened to the public without charge every weekend through December beginning in March during the Cherry Blossom Festival. The already popular public program schedule of 18 events (attached) will be continued and expanded. The equally popular Friends of Fort Hawkins will be renewed and revitalized with more on site participation opportunities.

The Commission further plans to continue archaeological research at the fort site this fall, which will lead to the rebuilding of the 1806 Fort Hawkins palisade wall at the beginning of the Bicentennial Celebration of the War of 1812. The Commission’s commitment to become a living history educational center will continue with the introduction of more demonstrations at public events and classes to teach the crafts, skills and arts that allowed Fort Hawkins to grow and prosper on the American frontier – seventeen years before the birth of Macon. All such artisans will soon have a place to regularly share and teach these nearly lost skills at the fort – once again.

The Commission’ s Chairman, Marty Willett, has been retained to provide this professional contribution to begin their full time effort to fund and implement the Fort Hawkins Master Plan. This endeavor is far from the parliamentary duties required of the Chairman by the City and allows the Commission to take the fort to this next level of public recognition and participation leading hopefully to the full development of the historic site. Willett has served for the past five years as Chairman of the all volunteer, non city funded, official city commission. Willett and Mr. Ed DeFore are the only current commission members that were on the 1990 commission created by then Mayor Lee Robinson to find a better way to preserve and promote the fort site than just part of the city’s famed green spaces in our “City in a Park.”

The Commission’s archaeological research revealed a more significant and substantial Fort Hawkins than ever known before and finally allowed this long awaited site development plan to be created. The Master Plan, Archaeological Report, Public Program Schedule, Friends Program and much more are found on the Commission’s web site “The Real Fort Hawkins” at The public has direct access to the Commission’s exciting plans with the web site, and with today’s announcement, soon even more access to the fort site with its breathtaking view and equally breathtaking early American history. Willett has been active for over 38 years with historic site development and interpretation beginning with the Georgia Historical Commission at the Lapham-Patterson State Historic Site & National Landmark in his hometown of Thomasville in 1972.

Willett’s excitement and enthusiasm is hard to contain. “Fort Hawkins is not only Macon’s Birthplace, but it also played an important part in America’s birth and our expanded efforts will hopefully get the site open daily as the National Bicentennial of the War of 1812 begins next year. When the British burned Washington, D.C. in 1814 they destroyed the fort’s plans and records so only our recent research has finally begun to reveal the real Fort Hawkins. With our dedication to archaeology and living history plus its own rich history, the Fort Hawkins Historic Site is destined to become a successful, self-sustaining local, regional and national educational resource and tremendous economic generator plus a place to share our local and national pride.” And he could continue to expound, but it is all found at and soon every weekend!

Marty Willett
1022 Walnut Street
Macon, GA 31201

An earlier Civil War battle in Savannah, 1779

January 14, 2011 - 3 Responses

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 - 7 Responses


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 - Leave a Response

DONATE TO LAMAR INSTITUTE–Support Our Research for 2013!

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

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

DONATE TO LAMAR INSTITUTE–Support Our Research for 2013!

Get Your Archaeology Books? Support Archaeology!

December 30, 2010 - Leave a Response

Donate to LAMAR Institute using Razoo:

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i before e except after c

December 24, 2010 - Leave a Response

People of Earth,
The word “siege” is spelled “siege” and not “seige”. As in “Seige of Savannah” where nearly 40,000 web pages have it spelled wrong, not to mention many books, articles, organization websites, etc. Is it too much to ask to spell this wright? –Respectfully submitted, Daniel Thornton Elliott, Esquire, M.A., R.P.A. (not Elliot). Pet Peeve Number 347a.


December 12, 2010 - Leave a Response

Fort Hawkins continues bicentennial celebration – Opinion –

December 12, 2010 - One Response

Fort Hawkins continues bicentennial celebration – Opinion –

Monteith Swamp Battlefield-Week Two

November 20, 2010 - Leave a Response

Here is a brief update on LAMAR Institute’s Civil War battlefield survey at Monteith Swamp, Chatham and Effingham Counties, Georgia. We located two good portions of the battlefield. One is in the northwest corner of Harrison’s Field and the other is further north in the swamp margin. Finds include grapeshot, bullets, a scabbard tip. Other finds may be related to the Civil War period, including cut lead, cut brass, many 19th century buttons, and various iron and brass hardware. We also found a fine specimen of earlier U.S. button. Today we covered part of the battle with Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) coverage. Late in the afternoon we discovered the northern battle area. Tired again, breaking for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Monteith Swamp Battlefield Survey

November 12, 2010 - Leave a Response

Survey of the Civil War battlefield began this week at Monteith Swamp in Chatham and Effingham Counties, Georgia. After a slow two days, on the third day we were rewarded with about two dozen iron grapeshot and about a dozen fired brass percussion caps that clued us into the battlefield landscape. Since then we have been plugging along unearthing and mapping an assortment of battle and post-battle objects in Harrison’s Field. Dog tired tonight after a week working in beautiful weather. A flock of turkeys kept a watchful eye on the crew. More later.

New Old Fort Jackson Artifacts Discovered | WSAV TV

November 12, 2010 - Leave a Response

New Old Fort Jackson Artifacts Discovered | WSAV TV.

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.

Certain Mounds of the Georgia Coast, by Clarence Bloomfield Moore

October 17, 2010 - Leave a Response

This book by C.B. Moore is available on Google Books as a .pdf

Available at this link:

Wal-Mart Superstore Threatens Wilderness Battlefield

October 14, 2010 - Leave a Response

This site has an easy link for sending an email with your thoughts to the CEO of Walmart. Git er done.


Wal-Mart Superstore Threatens Wilderness Battlefield.

New Archaeology Reports Available

October 13, 2010 - Leave a Response

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

The Search for Redoubt Number 6 at New Ebenezer

Smith House Site, Valdosta, Georgia, GPR Survey

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

GPR Survey at Behavior Cemetery, Sapelo Island, Georgia

Archaeological Reconnaissance of Pennyworth Island, Chatham County, Georgia

Fort Perry Reconniassance, Marion County, Georgia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GPR Survey at the Copeland Site (9GE18).

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


The LAMAR Institute

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We welcome your comments!

Ossabaw (Slightly Outdated) News

October 2, 2010 - Leave a Response

1794 Sheriff’s Sale of Ossabaw

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


1799 Middle Place Plantation on Ossabaw for Sale

Advertisement for Sale of Middle Place at Ossabaw


1810 Ossabaw Wreck

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


1819 Middle Place Plantation on Ossabaw for Sale Again

Advertisement for Sale of Middle Place at Ossabaw


1820 Shipping News and Ossabaw

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

American 06/09/1820 page 3

1821 Shipping News and Ossabaw

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

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

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

1822 Shipping News and Ossabaw

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

1824 Hurricane and Ossabaw

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


1829 Abandoned Sloop on South End, Ossabaw

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

1838 Shipping News and Ossabaw

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

1843 Preacher John Jones at Ossabaw

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


1846 Bryan Morrell’s Barn Burns on Ossabaw

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


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

1846 Nautical Description of Ossabaw Bar


1854 Hurricane on Ossabaw

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


1858 Wreck on Ossabaw

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

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

1860 Shipping News and Ossabaw

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

1863 Fort Seymour on Ossabaw

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


1863 Sailing Directions include Ossabaw Improvements

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. Prisoner Artifacts Found At Georgia Site

October 1, 2010 - Leave a Response

Little Danny’s Camp Lawton Discoveries!

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

Jonathan McGlashan, Railroad Engineer

September 28, 2010 - Leave a Response

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 - Leave a Response

Historian Works to Save Savannah Area Battlefield | WSAV TV.

Camp Lawton Prison Survey Report

September 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

Announcing the release of:

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

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

Archaeology society series kicks off Tuesday |

September 15, 2010 - Leave a Response

Archaeology society series kicks off Tuesday |

LIDAR for Archaeology Workshop

September 13, 2010 - Leave a Response

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

DATE: February 25-27, 2011

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

LOCATION: North End Plantation, Ossabaw Island, Georgia

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

For More Information Contact: dantelliott  at

Yuchi Indians return to native land |

September 13, 2010 - Leave a Response

Yuchi Indians return to native land |

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

August 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

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

Battle of Lovejoy Redefined

August 24, 2010 - Leave a Response

In 1993 the National Park Service defined the battle and battlefield of Lovejoy Station, Georgia for a congressionally-mandated study of Civil War battlefields in America.  That definition was off the mark. In 2007 an archaeological study of the Nash Farm near Lovejoy by the LAMAR Institute yielded new information on Civil War action in the Lovejoy area. Even more recently, archaeological survey for the Georgia Department of Transportation has substantially expanded the Civil War military landscape at Lovejoy. The National Park Service, American Battlefield Protection Program reassessed the Civil War battlefields in America, including the battle of Lovejoy. Their reconfigured map greatly expands the battlefield landscape to incorporate many of the findings from the two recent archaeological studies.

A recent article by Johnny Jackson  in the Henry Daily Herald stated:

“Validation has come for Nash Farm Battlefield’s role in the American Civil War.

The battlefield has been designated by the National Park Service as one of 384 core battlefields of the Civil War, according to Julie Hoover-Ernst, communications director for Henry County.

“This is the highest validation a battlefield can receive, and the designation was given upon the completion of the comprehensive update to the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission [or CWSAC] Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields published in June 2010,” Hoover-Ernst said, in a written statement.

The updated report, from CWSAC’s American Battlefield Protection Program, was based on interviews with historians and experts, and includes the designation of the Battle of Lovejoy’s Station in Clayton County, according to Henry County Civil War Historian Mark Pollard.

Pollard said the new report was based on a 2008 survey of the Battle of Lovejoy’s Station, which prompted surveyors to redraw the battlefield boundaries originally set during a 1993 survey. The civil war historian said the expanded boundaries incorporate parts of Lovejoy and Hampton, providing a more accurate and complete picture of the Union’s advance into Lovejoy’s Station in late August of 1864, when Union Soldiers were met by Confederate Soldiers along the Macon and Western Railroad, in present-day Lovejoy.

He said the battle continued to move eastward into Hampton, expanding into the wavy terrain of Nash Farm Battlefield toward Walnut Creek in unincorporated Henry County. “When they resurveyed in 2008, they expanded the battlefields to reflect the calvary battles that stretched from Lovejoy to Walnut Creek,” said Pollard. “The biggest change in the survey is the overall size of the battlefield, which has been increased to reflect the approach at Nash Farm Battlefield, the only portion of the battle that has been preserved.”

Nash Farm Battlefield was acquired by the Henry County Board of Commissioners in 2005, he added. The property now serves dual purposes as a venue for county events, as well as recreational and educational Civil War re-enactments. He said a segment of land across Jonesboro Road from the Nash Farm Battlefield site, was also recently designated by the National Park Service as an endangered battlefield site.

The 204-acre Nash Farm Battlefield, on the other hand, is the only segment of the roughly 1,180-acre Lovejoy’s Station core battlefield area that is preserved, according to John Culpepper, chairman of the Georgia Civil War Commission. Culpepper, who also took part in the 2008 survey, noted that the battlefield is one of only 27 battlefields in the state eligible for a listing in the National Register of Historic Places. “You’ve got a treasure here,” Culpepper said. “It used to be a well-known place locally, but now it’s getting worldwide attention.”

“It basically puts Nash Farm Battlefield on the radar of the world,” added Pollard. “Nash Farm Battlefield was a significant part of the Battle of Lovejoy’s Station. And anybody can look up that battle, and come and see a portion of that battlefield that has been preserved.”

Pollard said he believes Nash Farm’s designation is reason to continue preserving the property for future generations to experience. “Just to be recognized by the National Park Service is an awesome thing,” he said. “It would be hard to imagine a battlefield when the landscape has been changed. At Nash Farm Battlefield, you can imagine what took place so many years ago. You can connect the landscape to the history, and the history to the actual soldiers who were mounted on the horses that charged across that field.”

The 2010 revised National Park Service report on Georgia’s Civil War battlefields for the portion including Lovejoy is available online to those interested. The address is:

LAMAR Institute Aids in Discovery of Confederate Prison Near Millen

August 18, 2010 - One Response


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

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

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

LAMAR Institute Aids in Discovery of Confederate Prison Near Millen

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



UPDATE!!!  OCTOBER 4th 2012—

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

Take this Job

August 12, 2010 - Leave a Response

When I was a young lad in college, I took a summer job canning drinks for Coca Cola. It was a hot miserable job on an evening shift, where we made millions of canned cola that summer. One afternoon before heading to work, my father and I lay in two rope hammocks in our front yard on Soapstone Ridge, DeKalb County, Georgia. One of our neighbors, Dr. Driggers, was hosting a barbecue fundraiser for Sheriff Pat Jarvis’ reelection campaign. My father and I had absolutely no interest in attending and our conversation dealt with antiquities, family lore, and fresh work experiences. As we swang and talked our conversation was suddenly shattered by the amplified strains of Johnny Paycheck and his band with a strong intro to his hit song, “Take This Job and Shove It”. Startled at first and then without speaking, my father, who had recently retired after 35 years at the Ford Motor Company factory, and I, simply smiled at each other and enjoyed the song. Johnny sang the entire song, followed by silence. We continued to swing without speaking for another 20 minutes, then I got up, climbed in the family Ford and drove to work. I thought of that moment when I heard the recent news story about Mr. Slater and Jet Blue. Payday was never like this!

Blast from the Past: The Dawn of Salzburger Archaeology in Georgia

July 22, 2010 - Leave a Response

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

LAMAR Institute Awarded Grant to Research Battle of Monteith Swamp

July 10, 2010 - Leave a Response

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

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

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


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

Animal Tales from the Birdhouse

June 29, 2010 - One Response

Lookin Out My Front Door, I see my full-size and slightly overweight labrador retriever Caledonia jumping repeatedly high in the air, directly underneath the bird feeder. As I walk nearer, I see the problem, a fat squirrel is trying to climb up the metal rod that suspends the bird feeder from the pecan tree, but try as he/she might, the squirrel cannot reach the top of the rod, and so he/she slides back to the roof of the bird feeder and immediately tries it again with the same effect. This goes on for about 1 minute, which is 7 minutes in dog, and what must have seemed an eternity to the squirrel. Finally, after I shook the bird feeder a few times trying to end this stalemate, the squirrel reached the top of the rod and made it to freedom, this time. Good dog, Caledonia!

Fort Hawkins Fourth of July Celebration

June 25, 2010 - Leave a Response

Fort Hawkins Fourth of July Celebration

Noon-5 p.m. July 4, 2010, Emery Highway, Macon, Georgia, USA. Benjamin Hawkins in his American Revolutionary uniform will present a patriotic program at 2 p.m. concluding with the original Star Spangled Banner poem. Benefit BBQ plates, featuring famous Fresh Air BBQ, are $12.50 each and will be served from 1-4 p.m. with tickets available from all Fort Hawkins Commission members, by calling 742-3003 or at Free admission.

Read more:

Sketch of Fort Hawkins, ca. 1863.

GPR Survey at Ebenezer 2010

June 25, 2010 - Leave a Response

Current GPR survey work at the colonial townsite of New Ebenezer has revealed the complete outline of an octagonal British fortification that guarded the entrance to town. The fort, known as Redoubt Number 3, was built under the direction of Colonel James Moncrief in early 1779 and was filled-in by Continental troops in June, 1782–thus its deposits contain a history of three years of the American Revolution in Georgia. No trace of this fort is visible on the surface but archaeological tests confirmed its existence. This image is a preliminary version and the final version will be published in a LAMAR Institute Research Publication. This project was funded by the Georgia Salzburger Society, Inc. The goal of that project was to defined the outer boundaries of the Jerusalem Cemetery, and that effort is ongoing.

GPR Overlay Map of British Redoubt 3, Ebenezer, Georgia

Back to the Islands

June 2, 2010 - Leave a Response

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

May It Please the Court?

April 24, 2010 - Leave a Response


Supreme Court of Georgia, (November 15, 1999)

Docket number: S99A1229

Thomas H. Beisswenger, Douglas R. Haines, for appellants.

In December 1997, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia sold 297 acres of real property to the Development Authority of Gordon County. On July 1, 1998, appellants, the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists and the Society for Georgia Archaeology, filed suit in the Superior Court of Gordon County, contending that the sale was subject to the Georgia Environmental Policy Act (GEPA), OCGA 12-16-1 et seq., since it involved the sale of more than five acres of state-owned land, See OCGA 12-16-3 (7). Believing that the Board of Regents had not complied with GEPA, appellants sought a writ of mandamus to compel the Board of Regents to perform its obligations under GEPA and a declaratory judgment that the Board had violated GEPA; that the sale was null and void; that GEPA required state departments and agencies to identify the purchaser’s intended use of property being sold by the department or agency and make an evaluation thereon; and that state departments and agencies could not avoid their GEPA duty by extracting a promise from the purchaser to do a GEPA evaluation after the sale.

The trial court dismissed appellants’ complaint after finding that the sale of 297 acres did not meet the statutory definition of “a proposed governmental action which may significantly adversely affect the quality of the environment” and, even if it did, the decision of the responsible government official did not create a cause of action on behalf of the two plaintiff corporations. See OCGA 12-16-5 (c). The trial court denied the request for declaratory relief, finding that the parties did not face uncertainty since all the conduct had occurred. The trial court declined to exercise its equity power to set aside the deed, finding that the Board of Regents had complied with GEPA, and that appellants had taken no legal action until six months after the sale was completed, though they had been aware of the proposed sale five months before it occurred. The trial court denied the request for mandamus because the responsible government official had not abused his exercised discretion, and the decision to proceed with the proposed governmental action did not create a cause of action in the plaintiffs. Id. This Court granted appellants’ application for discretionary review and posed the following questions:

1. Does OCGA 12-16-5 (c) bar plaintiffs’ action challenging the decision of the responsible government official that the proposed governmental action at issue was not a “proposed governmental action which may significantly adversely affect the quality of the environment?”

2. If OCGA 12-16-5 (c) does not bar the action, what remedy is available for plaintiffs to challenge the responsible government official’s determination that a proposed governmental action is not one which may significantly adversely affect the environment’s quality?

3. What standard of review applies to the superior court’s review of the responsible government official’s decision?

4. Applying that standard, was the superior court correct in affirming the decision of the responsible government official?

GEPA requires the “responsible official” of a “government agency” to determine if a “proposed governmental action” is “a proposed governmental action which may significantly adversely affect the quality of the environment.” [1] OCGA 12-16-4. If it is so determined, the governmental agency responsible for the project must prepare an environmental effects report; [2] publish notice in the legal organ of affected counties that the environmental effects report has been prepared; make the report available to the public upon request; and hold a public hearing if, within 30 days of the publication of the notice in the legal organ, the responsible official receives written requests for a hearing from at least 100 Georgia residents. OCGA 12-16-4; 12-16-5. Prior to the sale of the land at issue, the responsible official decided there was no significant adverse environmental impact from the sale of the property. As a result, no environmental effects report was made, no public notice was published, and no public hearings were held. Appellants maintain that, contrary to the determination of the responsible government official, the sale of the land was a “proposed governmental action which may significantly adversely affect the quality of the environment” which required the responsible official to have an environmental effects report prepared and to notify the public.

It is clear that the sale of more than five acres of state-owned land is a “proposed governmental action” under OCGA 12-16-3 (7) and that, under OCGA 12-16-3 (5), the Board of Regents is a “government agency” subject to GEPA. Compare Thornton v. Clarke County School District, 270 Ga. 633 (1) (514 SE2d 11) (1999) (a school district is not a “government agency” under GEPA). At issue in this case is the propriety of the responsible official’s decision that the proposed governmental action was not a “proposed governmental action which may significantly adversely affect the quality of the environment.” The initial question we must address is whether appellants’ suit contesting that decision is barred by OCGA 12-16-5 (c), which states:

The decision of the responsible official to proceed with the proposed governmental action shall not create a cause of action in any person, corporation, association, county, or municipal corporation; provided, however, the actions of the responsible official in the procedure of giving notice by publication of the environmental effects report and notice by publication of the decision made based upon the report and public comments, if any, may be challenged pursuant to . . . the “Georgia Administrative Procedure Act” if the responsible official acts on behalf of a government agency which is subject to that act or by mandamus otherwise; but any such challenge must be commenced within 30 days after the date notice of the responsible official’s decision . . . is first published in a legal organ of any affected county or counties.

Contained within the subsection is a clear statement that the responsible official’s decision to proceed with the proposed governmental action does not create a cause of action, followed by a limited waiver of sovereign immunity. [3] Under GEPA, the responsible official may make the decision “to proceed with the proposed governmental action” at two points: when the official decides that the proposed governmental action is not one which may significantly adversely affect the quality of the environment; and after receipt of the written comments and/or the public hearing that followed the official’s determination that the proposed governmental action may adversely affect the quality of the environment. Under the statute, the responsible official’s decision to proceed with the governmental action because it is not probable to expect a significant adverse impact on the quality of the environment may not serve as the basis of a judicial action against the responsible official or the government agency on behalf of which the responsible official is acting. Where, as here, a statute “is plain and susceptible of but one natural and reasonable construction, the court has no authority to place a different construction upon it, but must construe it according to its terms.” Hollowell v. Jove, 247 Ga. 678, 681 (279 SE2d 430) (1981). Accordingly, we conclude that OCGA 12-16-5 (c) bars appellants’ lawsuit, and the trial court did not err when it dismissed that portion of appellants’ complaint which sought to challenge the responsible official’s decision to proceed with the project. [4]

Our holding that OCGA 12-16-5 (c) bars appellants’ challenge to the responsible official’s decision that the proposed government action is not one from which it is probable to expect a significant adverse impact on the environment is supported by the additional language in OCGA 12-16-5 (c), which limits the scope of a permissible legal challenge under GEPA and sets out the time period within which such a challenge must be filed. The statute authorizes a legal challenge only to the procedure followed by the responsible official in giving the notices required by OCGA 12-16-4 (c) and 12-16-5 (b) after the official has determined that the proposed governmental action may significantly adversely affect the quality of the environment. The period within which the limited class of permitted suit may be filed commences with the publication of notice of the responsible official’s decision following receipt of the public’s written and verbal comments regarding the proposed government action that has been determined by the responsible official to be one which may significantly adversely affect the quality of the environment. Both the action which can form the basis of a permitted lawsuit and the time period within which such a suit must be filed take place well after the responsible official’s decision that forms the basis of appellants’ complaint, leaving us to conclude that the statute shields the responsible official’s initial decision from judicial review.

In light of our determination that OCGA 12-16-5 (c) bars appellants’ suit, we do not address the remaining questions we posed in granting appellants’ application for discretionary review since they were dependent upon an initial resolution that 12-16-5 (c) did not bar appellants’ suit.

FLETCHER, Presiding Justice, concurring.

In adopting the Act, the General Assembly declared that “[t]he protection and preservation of Georgia’s diverse environment is necessary for the maintenance of the public health and welfare and the continued viability of the economy of the state and is a matter of the highest public priority” [5] and “[s]tate agencies should conduct their affairs with an awareness that they are stewards of the air, land, water, plants, animals, and environmental, historical, and cultural resources.” [6] I agree with these statements and believe that virtually all Georgians do as well. In order to attain the important goals implicit in the Act’s declaration, however, there must be some check and balance, a reasonable and responsible way to challenge the “stewards’ ” determination of no significant adverse environmental effect. Unfortunately, the Act specifically prohibits any challenge and precludes the reasonable check and balance that appellants seek. Therefore, l am compelled to concur.

HUNSTEIN, Justice, dissenting.

The issue in this appeal is whether the determination by a responsible official based on erroneous legal advice that a proposed government action does not significantly adversely affect the environment can be challenged under the Georgia Environmental Policy Act (“GEPA”). OCGA 12-16-1 et seq. Because the majority’s holding, which essentially concludes that such decisions are unreviewable and aggrieved parties are without legal redress, is unsupported by the language of GEPA and is contrary to the stated legislative intent, I respectfully dissent.

The record establishes that the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia decided to sell a tract of approximately 300 acres of property to the Development Authority of Gordon County to be developed into an industrial park. The property, known as the “Rome Crossroads,” contains Native American archaeological artifacts and a pre-Civil War cemetery; it was the site of a Civil War Battle; and a third of the property is part of the Oothcalooga Creek flood plain. The parties agree that Philip Worley, as the responsible official acting on behalf of the Board of Regents, [7] obtained legal advice from an assistant vice president for legal affairs in the University system and, based on this advice, determined that he was not required under GEPA to consider the Development Authority’s intended use for the Rome Crossroads in evaluating the environmental impact of the sale of this property. Rather, Worley looked solely to the impact of the sale itself, i.e., the transfer of the deed and other documents, when making his determination under GEPA that there were no significant adverse effects on the environment as a result of the proposed governmental action. It is uncontroverted that this determination was not the result of a factual evaluation of the transaction but was exclusively the result of a legal interpretation of GEPA by a University system employee. The actual environmental effect of the transaction was acknowledged by Worley in an internal memo, accompanying an evaluation form, in which he noted that “[i]n reality this sale will eventually have a Major Adverse effect on the environment.”

GEPA was enacted in recognition that “[t]he protection and preservation of Georgia’s diverse environment is necessary for the maintenance of the public health and welfare and the continued viability of the economy of the state.” OCGA 12-16-2 (1). The Legislature stated that the protection and preservation of Georgia’s environment “is a matter of the highest public priority,” id., and decided to promote this goal by requiring State agencies to “conduct their affairs with an awareness that they are stewards of the air, land, water, plants, animals, and environmental, historical, and cultural resources.” Id. at (2). To effectuate this goal, the Legislature determined that “[e]nvironmental evaluations should be a part of the decision-making processes of the state.” Id. at (3). The decision-making process utilized by Worley in this case, however, utterly thwarted the express legislative purpose of GEPA. Rather than fulfilling the stewardship duties set forth in GEPA, Worley utilized a sophistic legal interpretation which conveniently allowed the Board of Regents to avoid implementing the requirements established by the Legislature to protect and preserve this State’s environment.

OCGA 12-16-5 (c) has no application in those instances in which a responsible official avoids initiating the public participation steps set forth in GEPA by concluding initially that the proposed governmental action will not significantly adversely affect the environment. The majority opinion has violated an elementary rule of statutory construction by lifting a segment of GEPA out of context and construing it without consideration of all other parts of the statute. See City of Jesup v. Bennett, 226 Ga. 606, 609 (176 SE2d 81) (1970). That is the situation in this case, where there was no published environmental effects report, no public hearings, and no publication of Worley’s decision solely because those proceedings were preempted by the decision that the sale of the Rome Crossroads would not significantly adversely affect the environment. [9] How could affected parties know when to commence a challenge under the APA if there is never a publication of the responsible official’s decision?

Nothing in the language of OCGA 12-16-5 (c) supports the majority’s conclusion that its provisions bar appellants’ suit under the facts in this case. The decision of the responsible official which “shall not create a cause of action” under GEPA unless that decision is challenged pursuant to the APA within 30 days after the decision’s publication is unmistakably a decision made only after the environmental effects report is published in the legal organ of each county where the proposed government action will occur, after a requested public hearing has been conducted, after the responsible official has considered the comments received, rendered a decision to proceed with the proposed action, and published that decision in the legal organ of the affected counties. OCGA 12-16-4, 12-16-5. Accordingly, I cannot agree with the majority that OCGA 12-16-5 (c) applies to limit a challenge to the decision to proceed with a proposed government action under GEPA in those situations where the responsible official has sidestepped GEPA’s notice requirements by concluding the proposed action has no significant, adverse environmental effects.

by publication of the decision made based upon the report and public comments, if any, may be challenged pursuant to [the APA] if the responsible official acts on behalf of a government agency which is subject to [the APA] or by mandamus otherwise; but any such challenge must be commenced within 30 days after the date notice of the responsible official’s decision made pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section is first published . . . .

Although GEPA does not detail the procedure to be followed to challenge a responsible official’s decision to proceed with a proposed government action which was made under factual circumstances such as those present here, that does not mean aggrieved parties are without a remedy. I would hold that appellants’ suit, in which they sought a declaration of the respective rights of the Board and themselves under GEPA, a mandamus to compel the performance of GEPA requirements by Worley, injunctive relief and, in the alternative, an opportunity to pursue an appeal under the APA, represents the proper avenue for obtaining legal redress under these circumstances.

“Although appellate courts generally do not construe statutory language that is plain and unequivocal, judicial construction is required when words construed literally would defeat the legislature’s purpose.” Echols v. Thomas, 265 Ga. 474, 475 (458 SE2d 100) (1995). The intent of the Legislature is manifest within OCGA 12-16-2. GEPA was enacted to protect and preserve Georgia’s environment, not to authorize environmentally unsound decisions based on sophistic legal advice that the impact of the sale of property goes no farther than the transfer of deeds. GEPA is meaningless if a responsible official can avoid all public oversight and legal challenge to a proposed government action simply by concluding that a proposed government action will have no significant adverse effect on the environment. Under the majority’s interpretation, a State agency can render GEPA meaningless, preempting the application of GEPA requirements by making an initial decision that no significant adverse effect will follow from a proposed government action and thus rendering a decision which will be legally unchallengeable since affected parties will have no means of learning of the decision within the 30 day window of opportunity for commencing a suit under the APA. GEPA is rendered meaningless because under this interpretation, State agencies will have no reason to comply with GEPA’s provisions. Why go through the expense and delay of preparing an environmental effects report, holding public hearings, publishing notices, when all that effort can be avoided merely by opting to “decide” that the proposed government action will have no significant adverse effect on the quality of the environment? The sophistic legal reasoning utilized by Worley can easily be applied to every type of proposed government action subject to GEPA’s requirements so that the Act can be obviated simply by responsible officials concluding that they need look no farther than the signing of the contract or deed or other document when making the determination whether a proposed action would significantly, adversely affect the quality of the environment of this State.

This Court’s interpretation of GEPA must be based on the recognition that the protection and preservation of this State’s diverse environment “is a matter of the highest public priority.” OCGA 12-16-2 (1). The majority’s interpretation of GEPA violates basic rules of statutory construction because it does not implement the express intent of the Legislature, it lifts individual provisions within the statute out of context of the act as a whole, and it fails to avoid a construction which renders GEPA meaningless. Because I cannot agree to a statutory construction of GEPA which defeats the primary purpose of the legislation, I dissent.

Thurbert E. Baker, Attorney General, Ray O. Lerer, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Roland F. Matson, Assistant Attorney General, William R. Thompson, Jr., for appellees.



1. OCGA 12-16-3 defines the applicable terms as follows:

(1) A proposed governmental action which may significantly adversely affect the quality of the environment” means a project proposed to be undertaken by a government agency or agencies, for which it is probable to expect a significant adverse impact on the natural environment . . .

(5) “Government agency” means any department, board, bureau, commission, authority, or other agency of the state . . .

(7) “Proposed governmental action” means any proposed land-disturbing activity by a government agency or funded by a grant from a government agency, any proposed sale or exchange of more than five acres of state owned land . . .

(8) “Responsible official” means the official or body in charge of or authorized to act on behalf of a government agency.

2. An “environmental effects report” is statutorily defined as “a report on a proposed governmental action which may significantly adversely affect the quality of the environment.” OCGA 12-16-3 (4).

3. Under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, the State cannot be sued without its consent. The doctrine of sovereign immunity enjoys constitutional status and therefore cannot be abrogated by this Court. State Bd. of Ed. v. Drury, 263 Ga. 429 (1) (437 SE2d 290) (1993). Since the decision to waive sovereign immunity is a voluntary act on the part of the State, the State may prescribe the terms and conditions on which it will consent to be sued, and the manner in which the suit will be conducted. Id. 4. Assuming without deciding that the declaratory judgment portion of appellants’ complaint is not barred by sovereign immunity, we conclude that the trial court did not err when it declined to issue a declaratory judgment since, the sale of the land having been completed, there was neither an actual nor a justiciable controversy which would authorize entry of a declaratory judgment. OCGA 9-4-2; Baker v. City of Marietta, 271 Ga. 210 (1) (518 SE2d 879) (1999).

5. OCGA 12-16-2 (1).

6. OCGA 12-16-2 (2).

7. The Attorney General has held that the Board of Regents is an entity covered under GEPA. 1993 Op. Att’y Gen. No. U93-9.

8. OCGA 12-16-5 (c) provides, in pertinent part:

The decision of the responsible official to proceed with the proposed governmental action shall not create a cause of action in any person, corporation, association, county or [city]; provided, however, the actions of the responsible official in the procedure of giving notice by publication of the environmental effects report and notice

9. Counsel for the Board of Regents stated at the hearing on the motion to dismiss that in regard to the statutory requirements of notice by publication of the existence of an environmental effects report and an opportunity for the public to be heard, [n]one of that was done in this case because of the initial finding by Mr. Worley that the sale would not have an adverse effect,” although counsel candidly admitted that “Mr. Worley has acknowledged that the construction of the development of the industrial park would have an adverse effect” on the Rome Crossroads property.

St. Bernard Parish holds Grand Opening at Islenos Complex

April 16, 2010 - Leave a Response

Below is an article describing the recent grand opening of the Los Islenos Museum Complex in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. This was where I spent several months working last year:

St. Bernard Parish holds Grand Opening at Islenos Complex

Sunday, 04 April 2010 08:42

First in a series of five recovery celebrations in March, marking $6.5 million in federal, state and local construction dollars spent

St. Bernard Parish President Craig P. Taffaro, Jr., joined by parish, federal and state officials marked the grand opening and completion of more than $2.5 million in renovations and construction of nine historical structures at the 30-acre Los Islenos Museum Complex at 1345-1357 Bayou Road in St. Bernard.

“It certainly is a glorious day for the culture and heritage of our parish,” President Taffaro said at a brief ceremony the morning of the Islenos Fiesta that was attended by descendants of the two families who donated the original two structures for the complex, meant to preserve the Canary Islands history and culture. St. Bernard was founded by colonists from the Canary Islands between 1778 and 1783. Islenos is the Spanish word for Islanders.

In addition to the Grand Opening of the Islenos Museum Complex, President Taffaro marked a total of five other recovery celebrations in March: the Grand Opening of Violet Park No. 2, the Construction Ground Breaking of the Aycock Barn/Open Air Market, and the grand openings of both the Parish Maintenance Garage and Maintenance Shed, a total of more than $6.5 million in federal, state and local recovery dollars meant to move the parish forward and restore it to its pre-Katrina glory.

The work at Los Islenos Museum Complex has been funded mostly by FEMA with the support of the Los Islenos Society to repair damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina’s flooding and winds. The complex has two main museums in the front, the Islenos Museum and the Ducros Museum. In addition to the two museums, seven other structures were moved to the site or built with funds raised by Los Islenos Society working concurrently with St. Bernard Parish Government.

“The work of the Islenos Society to support parish government has been an object lesson in the success of public-private partnerships and how those partnerships shape a community,” said William Hyland, Los Islenos Museum Complex Director and Parish Historian.

Officials at the pre-fiesta ceremony were joined on stage by the Dot Benge, president of Los Islenos Heritage and Cultural Society. She is the daughter and niece of the Louise Molero O’Toole and Mabel Molero Quatroy who in 1980 donated their family home in memory of their parents Manuel Molero and Camilla Sylvera Molero. The family subsequently donated an additional 20 acres that have been used to transform the tranquil, pastoral area over the better part of the last three decades into a magnificent historic village that brings visitors from all over, especially on the weekend of the spring Islenos Fiesta, sponsored by the Los Islenos and Heritage Society. Additionally, Alexandre Ducros, the great grandson of Dr. Louis Alfred Ducros, also spoke about the donation of the Ducros Museum and Library by his great aunt, the late Rosa Mathilde Ducros Tennant who donated the family home in 1971.

A historical replica of the Islenos Museum, originally constructed in 1840, had to be built because the building was destroyed by a fallen oak during Katrina, and the Ducros home, built in 1800, was restored to its pre-Katrina state.

The renovations also included restoration work on the Coconut Island Bar Building, a popular community gathering place for years that had been moved to the site by the Society. The storm surge racked the building on its foundation, and it was made plum again. The windows that washed out have been replaced, and some of the all-cypress floor boards have been replaced. The roof damage has been repaired and the steps rebuilt. Electrical service has been reestablished. The physical Coconut Bar, built around 1920 and made of cypress and mahogany, has been restored, which allowed the St. Bernard Tourism Commission to serve Sangria, Spanish wine and appetizers during the Islenos Fiesta. It was built by Martina Nunez and his son Edward “Dween” Nunez, who recently passed away at the age of 102 and was the oldest living Islenos in St. Bernard at the time.

The Cresap-Caserta House has been repaired. Its roof had a huge pecan tree fall on it, exacting tremendous damage to rafters, and its windows were broken through by the storm surge. Repairs also were done to the box columns on the front, the back gallery floor as well as interior cypress flooring.

The support facilities that also were built during this renovation include sewage treatment, water, underground electrical service for all the buildings and two food pavilions with electrical service for festivals and outdoor activities.

Also, the parish rebuilt the replica of early 20th century trappers’ cabin originally designed and built by Calvin Melerine.

In a later phase, the parish is currently rebuilding the Islenos Multi-purpose building and replacements of the Estopinal House and Kitchen, which were destroyed. The replicas will incorporate a great deal of historic fabric from the original Estopinal house and kitchen.

The Los Islenos Heritage and Cultural Society is renovating the Esteves House with club funds at a cost of about $72,000 and donated $84,000 to the construction of the food pavilions.

President Taffaro said several departments worked together on this project including Recovery Director Michael Dorris Jr. and his staff, Recreation Director John Rahaim and his staff, including William deMarigny Hyland, Museum Complex Director, and staff members of the St. Bernard Public Works Department under Parish Acting Director of Public Works Logan Martin and Assistant Public Works Director Louis Pomes.

Kevin Smith Construction, which has been charged with other historic reconstruction and restoration projects such as Gallier Hall and Hermann Grima House in New Orleans, was the contractor on the first phase. Trapolin Architects is the firm responsible for the design of the entire complex, and Chalmette native Chris Chimento is Trapolin’s project manager. Clyde Burnett is the project manager for CDM, which provides oversight for all FEMA-funded projects, and Keith LaGrange of the St. Bernard Parish Public Works Department is the resident inspector.

Rev. E. Bergmann on Ebenezer Mortality in 1800

March 3, 2010 - Leave a Response

Transcription from the Georgia Gazette, February 6, 1800, page 2, courtesy of

The following is a statement by the rev. mr. Bergmann of Ebenezer, of the deaths in his congregation, (supposed to contain about 700 inhabitants) from the 11th of November, 1787, to 14th December, 1799, a period of about 12 years, in a place usually accounted the most unhealthy of any in Georgia:
10 deaths from 60 to 70 years of age.
13 ditto from 70 to 80.
3 ditto from 80 to 85.

[my commentary: From Bergmann’s tally, only 26 people died in the Ebenezer congregation in the 12 years from late 1787 to late 1799. He makes no indication of any infant or child mortality, which was rampant. The lack of any young adult or middle aged adults is also curious, and a bit unbelievable. I have not cross checked Bergmann’s data against other historical data. Also, it is not clear from this article whether the Ebenezer congregation includes any of the satellite congregations at Zion, Bethany, or Goshen, where he also preached to the German-speaking Lutherans. Nevertheless, this short Savannah newspaper article is an important piece of the puzzle of Ebenezer]

Rats in Trees at Ebenezer

February 28, 2010 - Leave a Response

From The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, by John James Audubon and John Bachman, 1846, regarding the Florida Rat:

“About fifteen years ago [ca. 1831], on a visit to the grave-yard of the Church at Ebenezer, Georgia, we were struck with the appearance of several very large nests near the tops of some tall evergreen oaks, (Quercus aqualicus;) on disturbing the nests, we discovered them to be inhabited by a number of Florida rats, of all sizes, some of which descended rapidly to the ground, whilst others escaped to the highest branches, where they were concealed among the leaves. These nests, in certain situations are of enormous size. We have observed some of them on trees, at a height of from ten to twenty feet from the ground, where wild vines had made a tangled mass over head, which appeared to be larger than a cart wheel, and contained a mass of leaves and sticks, that would have more than filled a barrel.”

Dawn of American Industry: Ebenezer Silk

February 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

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

Save Mrs. P’s Job!

February 17, 2010 - One Response

The Glynn County School Board is planning to axe the Archaeology cooperative program at Fort Frederica/Oglethorpe Point Middle School. This would be a great loss, as this program is THE best in the U.S. for teaching archaeology to elementary school students and teachers.—If you benefited from this program, PLEASE let the school board know this very soon.

This article on the situation appeared in today’s edition of The Brunswick News:

Schools’ archaeology education may be axed

The Brunswick News

In her 16 years with the Glynn County archaeology education program, Ellen Provenzano has seen her share of success stories.

One that really sticks out in her mind is about a fourth-grade boy who was in danger of being held back a grade in school. After his archaeological experience through the program, however, Provenzano said he wrote an impressive 14-page report about everything he learned.

Not only did it help him get excited about learning and reading, but it also helped him fit into the classroom.

“He did it on his own and he was so excited about archaeology,” Provenzano said. “It was just quite amazing, one of those real rewarding experiences.”

Despite this and other successes, the archaeology education program is not immune to a weak economy and a strapped school budget.

In February, school administrators compiled a list of potential budget cuts for fiscal 2011, which begins July 1. The archaeology program is among programs on the chopping block.

Cutting the program that is a partnership between the Glynn County School System and the National Park Service at Fort Frederica, on St. Simons Island, would save the school system an estimated $86,000.

Eliminating the program, said Jon Burpee, chief of interpretation at Fort Frederica, would take the wind out of the sails of the education program offered at the site.

“For us, our biggest concern is that it would disconnect the school children in Glynn County from the national park that is in their backyard,” Burpee said.

Provenzano, the Glynn County schools archaeology education coordinator, has been working with all fourth-grade pupils since the program was added to the school system’s curriculum in 1994.

The program teaches all aspects of historical archaeology, from theory to excavation, to artifact analysis and conservation, and the interpretation of the past.

Students complete background lessons in the classroom, participate in a simulated archaeological dig at Fort Frederica and then spend a full day in the archaeology laboratory at nearby Oglethorpe Point Elementary School to analyze artifacts they uncovered.

Provenzano said students are able to go through the entire scientific method by using a hands-on and multidisciplinary approach, while also achieving state performance standards.

“The use of the scientific method throughout their field and lab work allows the students the opportunity to be problem solvers and critical thinkers,” she said. “It’s just really rewarding, as a teacher, to be able to see kids so engaged in their learning.”

Because of the uniqueness of the program, Dig Magazine, a national monthly publication for young people about archaeological discoveries, wants to include the Glynn County archaeology education program in its March 2011 issue, Provenzano said.

While the Glynn County Board of Education has not made any decisions on potential cost-cutting steps, Provenzano is hoping that the archaeology program isn’t itself buried before the magazine is published.

Cold Springs 9Ge10–1977 Field Season

January 29, 2010 - Leave a Response

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

Digging Up the Past

Digging Up the Past

Dabbling on the Dark Side

January 29, 2010 - Leave a Response


Perhaps there is a God…

January 25, 2010 - Leave a Response

Ancient Indian site plundered, Midville man sentenced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Stallings Island

January 11, 2010 - Leave a Response

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

Late Archaic pit, Stallings Island Site 9CB1

Stallings Island Revisited: Modern Investigation of Stratigraphy and Chronology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radiocarbon Assays

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

References Cited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Athens Stupor

January 3, 2010 - Leave a Response

The end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 caused me to pause and reflect on fragments of my past. Particularly, the “Athens years” from 1976 to 1984, more or less. That was a very interesting age to be in (or near) Athens, Georgia. I arrived in the late summer of 1976 to start graduate school in Anthropology and quickly adopted the Last Resort as my home. My buddies at the Last Resort included Lynn (the owner), Judy Spears (the barkeep), and regulars Austin Church, Ed (the Sandwich sign guy who walked from New York to Miami to endorse a shoe company), Brian (later of Normaltown Flyers fame), and Davis Causey (later of Randall Bramblett Band fame). I remember playing blues harmonica on stage one night with Davis. It was pretty bad, but tolerated by the crowd. I heard some great bands there, including John Lee Hooker and Townes Van Zant.

Then there was Chameleon/Tyrones, which later burned. I remember a talent night and my friends Steve Kowaleski and Art Murphy goaded me into getting onstage. I played several songs and got a standing ovation but somehow forgot to claim my prize money. P.P. Blues was one of the more popular songs as I recall. I heard some great bands there too, including Downchild Blues Band, Bruce Hampton, and Love Tractor. I broke a girls foot doing the Pogo to Love Tractor.

My final “gig” before forming the Slant VI was at Allens in Normaltown. I sang Six Days on the Road with Vic Malatesta and his band called Scarlett something? Not so great sounding as I remember it. I do not remember hearing any great bands there, unless you include the Normaltown Flyers. I remember greasy hamburgers and pool tables and Terry.

Then, in December, 1981, our band of archaeologists, dubbed the Slant VI, played at the Coffee Club on Prince Avenue. That gig was arranged by Cynthia Leigh Williams our manager. It was a night to remember, what little I remember of it. We played for 5 hours with one brief break to a packed house from around 11PM to 4AM. At that point in our band’s history we were drummerless. That performance was followed by a two year lull, puntuated by glorious performances in 1983 and 1984 at the Uptown Lounge.

Why They Do It, I Think

This not counting my roving concertina and harmonica and guitar serenade/caterwallering around downtown Athens and Watkinsville in various elevated levels of stupor. Fond memories of sorts, what I remember of them.

Battle of Brier Creek

December 19, 2009 - One Response

Work Group Photo, December 12, 2009, Brannen’s Bridge Park, Screven County, Georgia

15 Men (and 2 women) on a deadman’s chest

December 19, 2009 - Leave a Response

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

Battles of Lovejoy Revisited

November 14, 2009 - Leave a Response

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.

Gunflints in Georgia and Adjacent Parts

November 4, 2009 - Leave a Response

Presentation at SEAC Mobile, 2009, by Daniel T. Elliott, The LAMAR Institute.

Gunflints in GeorgiaSEAC2009_FINAL

Gunflints from Sansavilla Bluff

Artillery Cache Discovered at Lovejoy

October 11, 2009 - Leave a Response

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

Photo Courtesy of Mark Pollard.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Pollard.

I gots Procyon lotor in my Belly!

September 6, 2009 - Leave a Response

Yesterday I attended the 74th Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival in Morgan City, Louisiana.

One food booth had the tempting offer of “Cajun Fried Coon”. How could I resist. It came on a stick, as do all main courses in south Louisiana outside of New Orleans. Attached to the stick was a raccoon leg, mostly skinned, and deep fried, complete with fried furry paw and a handsome set of tiny toenails. It was a little overcooked, and did not taste at all like chicken. I seemed to be the only one eating this particular entree.

Way too many raccoons! And much better for the environment than eating Manatees! [hard to get them on a stick anyway!]

Walmart and Archaeological Sites, A Pattern?

July 22, 2009 - One Response

I THINK I SEE A PATTERN HERE. Add to the list the Wilderness Civil War battlefield in Virginia and a Cherokee Village near Canton in Georgia. How many can you find in this picture?

Alabama city plows hill beneath 1,000-year-old Indian site to get fill dirt for a store – 7/21/2009 4:59:25 AM | Newser

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Mexicans Battle Wal-Mart Desecration of Ancient Aztec City of Teotihuacan

October 22, 2004

Ancient City of Teotihuacan a Modern Battleground Between Conservationists,

by Susana Hayward

SAN JUAN TEOTIHUACAN, Mexico – A Wal-Mart store rising near the
2,000-year-old pyramids of the Teotihuacan Empire has ignited the wrath of Mexican conservationists and nationalists, who say the U.S. retailer is destroying their culture at the foot of one of Mexico’s greatest treasures.

Since news broke last May of Wal-Mart’s plan to construct a
71,902-square-foot store near the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, the entranceway of the primordial city has turned into a carnival of demonstrators, most protesting the plans, though some welcoming the 180 jobs the store will bring.

Demonstrators wearing long feathered headdresses, bright indigenous
costumes and loincloths dance around fires spewing incense and implore
“gods” and the government to halt construction. Signs charge “Yankee
Imperialism,” “Foreign Invasion, Get Out!” and “We’ll be here until

An Aztec descendant spews incense into a fire during a protest against the construction of a Wal-Mart subsidiary in Teotihuacan, Mexico. (KRT
Photo/Janet Schwartz)

The store, with 236 parking spots, is to open any day, but protests are
snowballing and its future is uncertain.

On Wednesday, protesters blocked the entrance of Mexico’s National
Institute for Archaeology and History in Mexico City because it gave
Wal-Mart its permit. They remained there Thursday, preventing employees from reporting for work.

On Tuesday, Gerardo Fernandez, a national director of Mexico’s Democratic Revolutionary Party, filed charges with the federal attorney general’s office to block the store. He charged that Wal-Mart damaged archaeological relics during construction, a crime subject to imprisonment, and accused government officials of illegally fast-tracking the project.

Last week, 63 prestigious artists and intellectuals, in a letter published
in Mexican newspapers, asked President Vicente Fox to stop the structure. They see it as a battle pitting Mexico’s heritage against encroaching U.S. influence. Wal-Mart is already Mexico’s largest retailer, with 664 stores in 66 cities, with sales of $12 billion.

“The struggle for Teotihuacan is a war of symbols,” they wrote. “The symbol of ancient Mexico against the symbol of transnational commerce; genetically modified corn against the Feathered Serpent (the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, Kukulcan in Mayan) and Mexico’s traditional foods; the Day of the Dead against Halloween; skeletons against jack-o-lanterns.”

Mysteriously abandoned around 700 A.D., Teotihuacan was called “the place where the gods were created” by the Aztecs, who re-encountered the city in 1300. The ethnicity of the builders is unknown.

“Don’t small towns have the right to have access to the same level of
quality goods that Mexicans have in larger cities?” Wal-Mart said in a
statement late Wednesday. “Today, residents of Teotihuacan have to travel 15 miles to get to the closest department store.”

Opponents see Wal-Mart’s modern capitalism as an assault on native culture.

“Wal-Mart’s aim is to destroy our identity, replace our symbols with the
dollar sign,” said Jaime Lagunez, 44, a molecular biologist. “The
construction at Teotihuacan was made by the people who built their homes and temples with dignity.”

Emanuel D’Herrera, who coordinates the Civic Front coalition, which has
stopped other controversial projects, recently sued numerous government agencies for granting “an illegal” building permit.

Wal-Mart’s subsidiary, Bodegas Aurrera, won its permit to build by arguing that the store’s site lies outside the area that the United Nations’ chief cultural agency, UNESCO, declared in 1987 was a World Heritage Site. The National Institute for Archaeology and History said excavations in 1984 confirmed that there was nothing of archaeological value in the area. Fox and local municipal officials reviewed the permits and endorsed them.

The permits required that inspectors from the archaeology institute be on site during construction. They also set a number of restrictions on
everything from construction materials to the color of exterior paint. The store’s height was limited to avoid obstructing the view of the nearby domes of the 1548 Church of St. John the Baptist.

On Aug. 25, archaeology institute inspectors found a 3-foot-square altar 1 foot under Wal-Mart’s parking lot. The altar was excavated and conserved on-site, but it touched off new claims that the store was destroying archaeological treasures. Nevertheless, UNESCO gave the structure its blessing this week, as did the Paris-based International Council on Monuments and Sites, a group that advises UNESCO.

Noting the endorsements, Wal-Mart said: “We will continue investing,
generating jobs and economic development to strengthen our vision, which is to contribute to improve the quality of life for Mexican families.”

From the top of the 200-foot-tall Pyramid of the Sun, visited by tens of
thousands of people annually, Wal-Mart is barely visible. On the ground, the construction site is humming as workers rush to install lighting, air conditioning, refrigerators – and shrubbery, intended to conceal the 30-foot-tall, ochre-colored building.

“I make good money here at Wal-Mart and live well,” guard Jose Garcia said.

Martin Becerra, 50, who’s worked on the store’s construction and will work full time at the store when it opens, said he had a “great job, with better pay than in other places. We want to buy so many new things we haven’t seen before.”

Teotihuacan and Wal-Mart, centuries and cultures apart, share one thing in common: Both blossomed from trade.

Teotihuacan, which flourished between 250 and 600 A.D., controlled an
intricate network of commercial routes that stretched north, west and south, reaching a thousand miles to the Classic Maya civilization of southeastern Mexico and Guatemala.

Tens of thousands were employed there in crafts. Some estimates say there were 100,000 traders. Among goods exchanged were valuable gray and green obsidian used in knives, instruments, mirrors and jewelry, and bartered for faraway sea salt, shells, Quetzal feathers, jade and chocolate.

No one knows why the civilization eventually failed, though no one doubts its sophistication; Teotihuacan’s streets were aligned with the planets and stars.

In contrast, the modern town around it has a haphazard feel, and grazing sheep still stroll through it.

Mario Hernandez, 53, the owner of a small shop that sells sodas and chips, said most people welcomed Wal-Mart. He said he wasn’t concerned about the retailer’s reputation for putting smaller stores out of business or the alleged threat to archaeological treasures.

“We are far enough from the archaeological site,” he said. “We respect our roots, but we don’t want to stop progress.”

Knight Ridder Newspapers correspondent Janet Schwartz contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2004 Knight-Ridder

Desecration of Hawaiian Gravesite

A state historic preservation agency recommends that $210,000 in fines be
levied against an archaeological firm and others for tampering with human
remains at the construction site of the Ke’eaumoku Street Wal-Mart complex.

Among the infractions cited in an agency report were “writing on a child’s skull with indelible red ink, taping a child’s teeth to an index card, using duct tape and modeling clay to hold remains together, and writing the words ‘Handbag Louis Vuitton’ on a paper sack that contained a human hand.”

The recommendation is part of a report filed by the State Historic Preservation Division to the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and comes on the heels of an investigation by state attorneys. The board will consider the recommendation at its Nov. 18 meeting.

Besides unauthorized examination and tampering of the iwi, or bones, the report also accuses Aki Sinoto Consulting, the archaeological firm, and others of failing to notify the proper authorities about the inadvertent find of human remains in a timely fashion, moving human remains without permission and failing to examine human skeletal remains in a respectful manner.

Messages left at Sinoto’s home and cell phones were not returned.

According to the report, the remains examined in 2003 and 2004 were presumed to be “Native Hawaiians, juvenile remains, including the remains of infants, and remains for which requests for examination had been specifically denied by the state.”

Besides the Sinoto firm and principal archaeologist Aki Sinoto, others cited within the 21 counts were Sinoto employees L.J. Moana Lee and Paul Titchenal, the firm of International Archaeological Research Institute Inc., and two of its employees, J. Stephen Athens and Rona Ikehara-Quebral.

Besides the fines, the report recommends that the Sinoto firm’s permit to conduct archaeological activities in the state be revoked for the remainder of the year.

Ikehara-Quebral, lead osteologist for the International Archaeological Research Institute, which had been hired as a subcontractor by Sinoto, said she would reserve comment on the specifics of the allegations until she could thoroughly review Historic Preservation’s report.

“A quick review reveals it’s full of inaccuracies,” Ikehara-Quebral said. “And the State Historic Preservation Division, DLNR, continues to misrepresent our work to the public.”

She added: “We were instructed by SHPD to inventory every set of human remains from the Wal-Mart site, separate commingled burial remains into individuals and to determine their ethnicity, as required by law, which we did using standards of the profession. We always handled the remains in a respectful manner.”

Melanie Chinen, SHPD administrator, said the recommendation was based in large part on a report given to her by the state attorney general’s office.

Chinen said the $210,000 in fines recommended by her office is the maximum amount allowed under the law.

“There was total disregard for the laws, for the rules, for our warnings that unnecessary handling and examination is considered desecration by many Native Hawaiians,” Chinen said. “We’re talking about human beings.”

Partly in reaction to the Wal-Mart case, Chinen said, state lawmakers last session passed legislation increasing the maximum fine for violating burial laws and rules from $10,000 a day to $25,000 daily.

Regina Keana’aina, whose family was recognized by the O’ahu Island Burial Council as a lineal descendant to iwi in the area, opposes the fines.

“The archaeologists were doing the right thing,” she said. “They did not desecrate any of our iwi kupuna at the Wal-Mart site.”

Keana’aina, who helped Sinoto and the other archaeologists on a voluntary basis, said some of the personnel at Historic Preservation are unqualified to deal with finds. “I think the state needs to be hiring more qualified people to be running Historic Preservation.”

But Paulette Kaleikini, whose family was one of several designated cultural descendants to bones on the site, said she was pleased with Historic Preservation’s recommendation.

“It’s very disturbing what they did, how they desecrated the iwi,” Kaleikini said. “They shouldn’t be let off the hook so easily.”

Kaleikini said both Wal-Mart and contractor Dick Pacific Construction, which hired Sinoto, also should bear some responsibility for what happened to the bones.

A lawsuit filed by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. on behalf of Kaleikini’s family and the nonprofit Hui Malama I Na Kupuna ‘O Hawai’i Nei named Wal-Mart, the city and the state as responsible for the mishandling of the iwi.

Wal-Mart, however, was dismissed by a Circuit Court judge from that suit. The claim against the state was settled while a judgment in favor of the city is expected to be appealed.

Moses Haia, an attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., said proper action by the city planning officials and Historic Preservation also could have prevented the desecration.

“This could have been avoided,” Haia said.

At least 61 sets of remains have been found on the site. After taking possession of the remains, state officials initially were prepared to rebury them on the site in February. That date was postponed indefinitely after state attorneys began their investigation.

The remains continue to be housed in a trailer on the Wal-Mart site that is secured 24 hours a day. Chinen said when they are reburied could depend on what the Land Board chooses to do with her division’s report, and whether one of the sides will appeal that decision.

Honolulu Advertiser

Submitted by Tony Castanha

November 2008

It was 40 years ago today…

July 16, 2009 - Leave a Response

Where was I? I was in a giant field at the Bert Adams Boy Scout Camp in Newton County, Georgia, sitting in the grass with about 400 other scouts. A very long extension cord had been extended into the field and a color television was mounted on a metal scaffold. The sound and visual quality was less than optimal, but we sort of knew we were watching history. It was in the evening and the cicadas drowned out the voices of the astronauts.  Don’t ask me what I was doing the day before or after that. Long live NASA.

Revolutionary progress |

July 15, 2009 - Leave a Response

Archaeologists Excavated at Fort Prevost/Wayne in Emmett Park. Photo by John Harrington, Savannah Morning News.

Archaeologists Excavated at Fort Prevost/Wayne in Emmett Park. Photo by John Harrington, Savannah Morning News.

Revolutionary progress |


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Hurricane Katrina, Los Isleños and Me

July 11, 2009 - Leave a Response

In my spare time I have been working to fix all the problems in New Orleans and surrounding areas, which were caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Of course, I have help. Yesterday I cooked my brains digging on two 50 x 50 centimeter test squares and watching a Bobcat dig a building footing at L0s Isleños, Louisiana.  This modest dig is the first exploration of the early settlement of L0s Islenos, which began after 1780. It was one of several settlements in Spanish Louisiana populated by former residents of the Canary Islands. The area selected for the settlement was known as Terre aux Boeuf. The area today is in Saint Bernard, Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana.

Historical Marker

Historical Marker

The place where our crew was working yesterday is at the Los Isleños cultural center, which was hard hit by the storm and flooded with more than 4 feet of floodwaters.  A large live oak tree toppled and crushed the museum building, which was later demolished (that demolition took place before I got there). now a new building is being constructed on the same building footprint.  At another area of the property a large “food court” is being built, which promises to be the mother of all concession stands. The architects seem intent to insure that this food court is able to withstand a Category 6 Hurricane and floodwaters of Noah-esque proportions.  It is being built on top of a previously unknown building that appears to date to the 1830s-1860s (my rough estimate). We are still researching to determine who lived there. It may be the home of a Canary Island descendant, or possible one of a few enslaved people who served that family.

This a dynamic, unfolding story and if I tell too much more, my boss may beat me on the head. Photos and updates to follow some day.

Prior to last month, I knew very little about the Canary Islanders in Spanish colonial Louisiana, and I still am a newbie on the subject. Here is a link to the cultural center’s webpage:

Haunted Houses of Talbot

June 26, 2009 - One Response

DeansHouseMy friend Tracy bought a new home, which is actually an old home. Now the fun begins!

Sewage plant skeptics blast EPD study

May 29, 2009 - Leave a Response

Sewage plant skeptics blast EPD study

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Georgia in the War of 1812: An Archaeological Perspective

May 27, 2009 - Leave a Response

Georgia in the War of 1812: An Archaeological Perspective

Do you know what happens in 3 years? It’s the bicentennial of the War of 1812; America’s other war with England!

On Saturday, May 30 at 2pm Fort Morris State Historic Site will host Daniel T. Elliott, President of the LAMAR Institute, who will discuss events & archaeology pertaining to Georgia in the War of 1812. Places discussed will be Sunbury, Ft Defiance, St Marys, Point Peter, Savannah, Ft Hawkins & various Lower Creek settlements. There will be Q&A time and artifact identification. Reservations are recommended. Please call 912-884-5999 or email or for more information or to reserve your seat now.

Fort Morris is located seven miles east of I-95, exit #76. Follow the brown Liberty Trail signs. Admission is $4.00 for adults, $3.50 for seniors (62 & above), $2.75 for youth (6-18), children 5 and under are free. For those who do not know, Fort Morris is the name of the fort for the American Revolution, but was re-named Fort Defiance for the War of 1812.

Hope to see you Saturday, and please spread the word.

Latest news about Fort Morris, from May 29, The Coastal Courier:

Cuts to hit Fort Morris hard

Historic site to be cut to three days a week

Re-enactors fire a cannon at Fort Morris at one of its many historic re-enactments.

Photo by Joe Parker Jr.
1 of 1 View Larger

Other cuts

Other DNR reorganization tactics include:
• Reducing services and access at five state parks.
• Reducing operational days and/or pursuing community support at 12 state historic sites.
• Eliminating 12 percent of the workforce and implementing furloughs.
• Increasing fees for accommodations, recreational activities, interpretive programs and parking.
• Pursuing alternative operation of lodges and golf courses.
• Limiting swimming pool operations.

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By Lauren Hunsberger
Staff writer
// <![CDATA[// Updated: May 29, 2009 12:04 p.m.
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The Department of Natural Resources has named Fort Morris Historic Site in Sunbury to a list of state sites that will be forced to reduce hours and services because of a recent 39 percent reduction in state funds and a 24 percent projected loss of revenue.
There were 11 other historic sites and five state parks scheduled for reductions. The cutbacks will affect several of the sites’ different branches.
“My position has been eliminated as of June 15,” said John Reed, a ranger at Fort Morris for more than a year and a half. “Starting July 1, our site will only be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”
This is a shortened week for the site, which is currently open to the public Wednesday through Sunday and on Tuesday to private parties. Reed thinks the park will keep the same hours, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., but he said that’s not certain.
According to the DNR’s historic preservation division, Fort Morris was registered as a historical site because of its significance in the Revolutionary War history. It experienced the heaviest action in 1776, 1779 and 1812. The site also has been used for many archaeological and re-enactment purposes.
Although he said he knew about DNR employees possibly being asked to take furloughs, he was surprised by the news.
“We were completely blind-sided to be honest,” Reed said.
Representatives from DNR said it was hard to find places to make cuts.
“These decisions were heart-wrenching but were made using a business case analysis,” said DNR Commissioner Chris Clark. “We are exploring every avenue to manage budget reductions and revenue shortfalls, to properly care for our state parks and historic sites, and to minimize the impact on Georgia citizens and communities.”
Members of the DNR have said they will work with outside local parties interested in volunteering or donating time or money to alleviate some of the cutbacks.
“Outsourcing agreements will be used only if they maintain affordable and high-quality services that are more cost-effective than our own operations,” said State Parks and Historic Sites Director Becky Kelley.  “If outsourcing agreements are not possible, if our efforts do not reduce our dependence on state appropriations, or if state revenues continue to decline, further cuts and potential closures of lodges and golf courses are possible.”
Other state groups recently have begun to offer support to the parks.
Andy Fleming, with Friends of Georgia State Parks, said the group is committing resources and energy to finding local sources to make up for the cutbacks.
“We’re encouraging our friend’s chapters [which are in each Georgia county, including Liberty] to see if they can work with park managers to forestall the changes,” Fleming said. “With this new challenge, we have to figure out a way a to fill in the gaps with volunteers. Everyone is hurting.”
For now, Reed said he is unaware of how long the changes will last or if they are permanent, but said he’s not holding his breath.
“It looks like it’s going to be this way for a very long time,” he said.

Slant Six–an Athens band of Archaeologists

May 22, 2009 - One Response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Key of G

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

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

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


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


The Bible

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

Key of E

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

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

On the third day, he created the Electric guitar,

And on the fourth day, on the fourth day,

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

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


Jesus, with your nose so bright,

Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?

Jesus, with your nose so bright,

Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?


And this Big Fat Red Man,

Was givin’ away free things,

And this Rabbit was layin’ eggs,

This Big Fat Red Man,

Was givin’ away free things,

And this Rabbit was layin’ eggs,

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

Play in any reindeer games,

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

Play in any reindeer games,

They said,

[REPEAT CHORUSES 1 & 2 to infinity]

Burned Beyond Recognition

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

Key of G

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

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

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



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

Ramona changed her mind,

Ramona changed her mind,

We thought she was dead,

But she only changed her head,

You know Ramona changed her mind.

Ramona works all day,

Ramona works all night,

Working so hard she nearly lost it all,

You know Ramona changed her mind.

Ramona changed her mind,

Ramona changed her mind,

We thought she was dead,

But she only changed her head,

You know Ramona changed her mind.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Translations of Two Letters from Ebenezer to the SPCK, 1739

May 22, 2009 - Leave a Response

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.