Archaeologists Search for Carr’s Fort
January 7, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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

(706) 341-7796, dantelliott@gmail.com

Archaeologists Search for Carr’s Fort

(January 7, 2013, Savannah, Georgia)

A team of archaeologists and historians from the LAMAR Institute have launched a search for an elusive Revolutionary War battlefield site in the hills of northeastern Georgia. The battle took place on February 10, 1779, when Captain Robert Carr’s Fort was invaded by a group of about 70 loyalist recruits led by Colonel Jonathan Hamilton. Later that day, the fort was surrounded by Georgia and South Carolina militia, led by Colonel Andrew Pickens, who laid siege to the fortified loyalists. The siege of the fort lasted only a few hours before Pickens received word of a much larger party of Loyalist recruits who were advancing from South Carolina and he broke off the siege of Carr’s Fort to pursue a bigger target. Thus began a chain of military events that culminated in the decisive Patriot victory at Kettle Creek, only a few miles from Carr’s Fort. Several weeks later, Captain Carr was killed by a war party of loyalist Creek Indians, who burned down the fort.The institute received grant funds for the project from the National Park Service, American Battlefield Protection Program and the Kettle Creek Battlefield Association. The goal is to locate Captain Carr’s Georgia militia fort and delineate the battle that surrounded it. Today the area is a serene mixture of woodlands, pasture and scattered farms. The battlefield search is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack, as no contemporary maps showing its location, nor any detailed written descriptions of the location of Carr’s Fort are known to exist. It could be anywhere in the Beaverdam Creek watershed of Wilkes County, Georgia, although historian Robert Scott Davis, Jr. has narrowed the potential search area considerably. A team of six archaeologists from the institute will comb more than 5,000 acres in Wilkes County with metal detectors as part of the search. Once potential targets have been located, the team will use other methods, including ground penetrating radar (GPR), traditional excavations and mapping to better define the battlefield site. Fieldwork begins in late January and last for about three weeks. Carr’s Fort was one of more than 30 similar militia forts that dotted the Wilkes County frontier during the American Revolution. The project’s leader, Daniel Elliott, notes that although the team may be unable to find its intended target, they have “several chances to win”, as two other forts and numerous Revolutionary War-era farmsteads lie within the team’s search area. Locating Carr’s Fort will be a major find, as none of the 30 forts in Wilkes County have been discovered archaeologically. A full report on the undertaking will be available to the public in 2014.

–END–

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

UPDATE 8/6/2014

HERE IS THE LINK: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365255141/

This link goes to an online version of the upcoming Time Team America episode on the search and discovery of Camp Lawton Confederate prisoner of war camp near Millen, Georgia. I was a part of the team, I got the hat and the minimum wages from Oregon Public TV. We did our GPR and other remote sensing work over about 10 acres the days before the circus began. Rita Elliott and I drove up to see the circus but carefully avoided getting in front of the camera. We were there the day that the stockade wall was discovered (I got some rare video footage of that on my iphone). Our LAMAR Institute colleague, Daniel E. Battle, was part of the circus. Dan Battle actually discovered the juicy archaeological stuff at Camp Lawton back in December, 2009. That is all documented in our LAMAR Institute report number 161
http://thelamarinstitute.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=58
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.

http://thelamarinstitute.org/images/PDFs/publication_162.pdf

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

 

UPDATE:

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

Preservation Posts, November 2012, Issue 42,

Georgia Department of Natural Resources

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=e6c3a4351838f93c43cd740be&id=c5da2357fd&e=d6fa022296

 

Fort Hawkins Fourth of July Celebration
June 25, 2010

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 http://www.forthawkins.com. Free admission.

Read more: http://www.macon.com/2010/06/25/1173071/main-calendar.html#ixzz0rrtCNYJk

Sketch of Fort Hawkins, ca. 1863.

Volunteering in Archaeology in Savannah
April 1, 2008

The Society for Georgia Archaeology (SGA) has been around for many decades and is a blend of professionals and amateurs. It has several regional chapters and in our area, this is the Coastal Georgia Archaeological Society (CGAS). There is also a chapter in Brunswick called the Golden Isles Archaeological Society. The next bi-annual meeting of the SGA is at Fernbank Museum in Atlanta on April 26, 2008. More information about the SGA and its programs can be found at their website: http://thesega.org/

On the opposite side of the river is the Archaeological Society of South Carolina (ASSC). It has annual meetings in the Columbia area. A very active chapter is located on Hilton Head Island. The ASSC has a very interesting meeting and low country boil date coming up on April 19. More information at their website: http://www.assc.net/

Some of these chapters get involved in excavations. most of the time they get monthly speakers on archaeology topics and have seasonal get-togethers. Some professionals involve these groups in their excavations, although increasingly liability issues and client requirements prohibit this. Our organization, The LAMAR Institute, Inc., will use volunteers on a selective basis. Other potential local opportunities to volunteer include the Coastal Heritage Society. The next event where a volunteer would be useful is their Archaeofest on May 31. It is geared mostly for kids. Their website is http://chsgeorgia.org/

The LAMAR Institute (http://lamarinstitute.org) is currently seeking volunteers for a project at the Kettle Creek Revolutionary War battlefield in Wilkes County, Georgia, June 12-17. More information on it is at the AIA Fieldwork Opportunities website: http://www.archaeological.org/webinfo.php?page=10036&search_region=1

There is also the Topper Site in Allendale County, which is a long-term excavation by my friend and colleague Dr. Al Goodyear. His website is: http://www.allendale-expedition.net/

As far as recording archaeological sites in the files, this is something that individuals can do, and are encouraged to do. The State of Georgia keeps its archaeological site inventory at the University of Georgia. More info on that is at: http://shapiro.anthro.uga.edu/GASF/

To learn about archaeology ethics, information can be found at the Register of Professional Archaeologists, http://rpanet.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=2

There is also information about Archaeology and Volunteers at the Society for Historical Archaeology at: http://sha.org/EHA/secondary/volunteer.cfm


Kettle Creek Revolutionary War Battlefield Project
March 31, 2008

Virginia Gazette April 2, 1779

SEEKING PRIMARY DOCUMENTS ABOUT THE BATTLE

We are currently searching for primary documents relating to the February 14, 1779 battle at Kettle Creek in Wilkes County, Georgia. If you have any letters, maps, military documents, or other primary records from the time of the battle, or other (reliable) secondary documents that are obscure, we would love to see them and take a digital photo for use in our current research project. If you would like to help, contact: dantelliott@windstream.net

Kettle Creek Battlefield

Description
Archaeological survey of the Kettle Creek battlefield in rural Wilkes County, Georgia began in February 2008. A second phase of the field survey will continue to build on the discoveries made during the initial work. The battle of Kettle Creek on February 14, 1779 was a fight between North Carolina and South Carolina Loyalist militia and Georgia and South Carolina Patriot militia. The Patriots emerged the victors in this three hour firefight. Although casualties were relatively slight, this Patriot victory sent a powerful signal to the British invaders that Loyalist support in the Southern colonies was far less than expected. The survey will make detailed topographic maps of the battlefield and carefully locate and recover battle related artifacts. This project is funded by the US Dept Interior, National Park Service, Preserve America grant program and the City of Washington, Georgia.

Contact information

Daniel T. Elliott
P.O. Box 2992
Savannah, Georgia 31402
United States of America
7063417796
dantelliott@windstream.net

Bibliography
Robert Scott Davis, Jr., Georgians in the Revolution: at Kettle Creek (Wilkes Co.) and Burke County. Southern Historical Press, . Easley, 1986.Janet H. Standard, The Battle of Kettle Creek: A Turning Point of the American Revolution in the South. Wilkes Publishing Company. Washington, GA, 1973.

Archaeology of Savannah’s Revolutionary Past
March 30, 2008

PRESS RELEASE

COASTAL HERITAGE SOCIETY

For release Friday, March 21, 2008

Archaeologists Discover Artifacts from 1779 Battle of Savannah in Madison Square

Today Coastal Heritage Society archaeologists unearthed several artifacts from the October 1779 Battle of Savannah in Madison Square in downtown Savannah. Lead archaeologist Rita Elliott and her team discovered two musket balls—one French, the other British—as well as a shoe buckle, a brass ring, and lots of loose brick fragments, in the northeast corner of Madison Square (the corner sandwiched between the DeSoto Hilton Hotel and E. Shaver, Bookseller). The discoveries come on the fifth and final day of a series of digs that began in Emmett Park on East Bay Street.

Elliott believes the site occupies the location of a French and American false attack on British lines, designed to distract attention away from the main attack on the Spring Hill Redoubt—now the site of Battlefield Memorial Park on MLK and Louisville Road. The brick fragments may be remnants of a former military barracks which were torn down prior to the battle to provide cover for British troops defending the city. Ironically, today’s discoveries took place in the shadow of a monument to Sgt. William Jasper, who died in the 1779 battle.

Quick facts:

  • The work is funded by a $37,857 American Battlefield Protection Program grant from the National Park Service.
  • The team used computer software to match modern maps with more than a dozen historical maps, and pinpoint the most likely place to find artifacts.
  • The team is headed by CHS Archaeologist Rita Elliott, who also headed the CHS team that found artifacts and fortifications on Battlefield Memorial Park in 2005. archaeologists Dan Elliott and Laura Seifert round out the team, along with veteran volunteer archaeologist Carl Arndt.
  • This is a year-long project with multiple phases of research, field work, lab work, and report writing.
  • Between 8,000 and 12,000 troops took part in the October 1779 battle. The British forces defeated a combined French and American army, and roughly 800 soldiers were killed or wounded.

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

UPDATE: 04/20/2008.

Since this past Monday our crew dug up six feet of Revolutionary 
War dirt, actually only 5 feet as the top 1 foot covered the period from 1783-
2008.  In the top 3 feet of it was the backfill dirt that was put there in late 
1782 by Major General Anthony Wayne (fellow PA guy) and his men. Beneath that 
is 2 more feet covering the period from September 1779-mid 1782. The very 
bottom 6 inches or so is the Siege of Savannah layer, September and October 
1779. It had small lead musket balls, possibly from Pulaski's Legion. We were 
in a British ditch outside of an earthen fort. We discovered it about a month 
ago and returned this week for a bigger sample. We found it through several 
means including historical map research, GPR survey, and dumb luck. Our 2 meter 
by 2 meter test unit came down on the edge of it perfectly so that we also have 
a good idea of its orientation. This part of the Savannah battlefield was lost 
since soon after General Wayne's men filled it in. Oh, and in the level just 
above the battle, which had lots of post-battle debris, we found a single lead 
musket ball that was made into a die. Lucky seven, lucky seven. 
It was in great condition. 
The British troops that garrisoned this part 
of the defenses were "Armed negroes and pickets", or the enslaved people 
belonging to Loyalist jerks and some watchful sharpshooters. The crack British 
troops were kept safe from harm, about a half mile to the northeast.