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2 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

Copyright © 2001 by the Society for Georgia Archaeology. All rights reserved.

Adam King, Editor

David J. Hally, Managing Editor

The Society for Georgia Archaeology

President: Elizabeth Shirk, 1805 Oak Tree Hollow, Alpharetta, GA 30202
Vice President/President Elect: Patrick Garrow, TRC Garrow, 3772 Pleasantdale Road, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30340
Secretary-Treasurer: JoLee Gardner, 419 Angier Court, Atlanta, GA 30312
Ex-Officio: Rita Folse Elliott, PO Box 337, Box Springs, GA 31801
Board of Directors: Lucy Banks, Thomas Gresham, Bob Izlar, Stephen A. Kowalewski, Stanley McAfee, James Page,
Gail Whalen, and Karen G. Wood
Early Georgia Editor: Adam King, Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, South Carolina Institute of
Archaeology and Anthropology, PO Box 400, New Ellenton, SC 29809
Early Georgia Managing Editor: David J. Hally, Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
The Profile Editor: Thomas Gresham, Southeastern Archeological Services, PO Drawer 8086, Athens, GA 30603

Information for Subscribers

Early Georgia is published semi-annually in the Spring and Fall by the Society for Georgia Archaeology. Postage is paid
at Athens, Georgia. Subscription is by membership in the Society for Georgia Archaeology. Annual dues for individual
members are $20.00, $25.00 for family, $15.00 for students, $200.00 for life membership, $500.00 for benefactors, and
$35.00 for institutions. One membership includes two issues of Early Georgia and the quarterly newsletter, The Profile.
Single copies of Early Georgia may be purchased for $8.00 per issue for Society for Georgia Archaeology members and
$13.00 for non-members. Georgia residents must include applicable sales tax. Address all inquiries concerning
membership and change of address to the Secretary-Treasurer. Address requests for back issues of Early Georgia to
Publications, Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-1619.

Information for Authors

Early Georgia publishes papers on the archaeology of Georgia and closely related subjects. Submissions are welcome from
avocational and professional archaeologists, educators, and students, written on any topic that will further education,
conservation, and research having to do with the archaeology of Georgia. All manuscripts submitted should be
formatted following the style guidelines published in American Antiquity (and on the world wide web), vol. 57, no.
4 (October 1992), except that first-level headings should be typed in lower case with major words capitalized.
Manuscripts should be on 8.5 by 11 inch paper, on one side only, with double spacing between sentences, and at least a
one-inch margin on all sides. Submit both a paper copy and digital copy on a floppy disk. Set text citations in
parentheses, e.g., (Smith 1975). Footnotes are not permitted. Illustrations can be submitted digitally or as original line
drawings and glossy prints. Include a caption with each illustration and number then consecutively. Print tables on
separate pages, number them in sequence, and give them titles. The editor will gladly assist authors in preparing
manuscripts for publication.
While all submissions are subject to editorial review, authors may request to have their papers reviewed through a
formal peer review process. Papers accepted for publication through the peer review process will be designated as Peer
Reviewed Articles. All articles submitted for publication should be sent directly to the Editor. Submissions for the Peer
Reviewed Article should include four copies of the manuscript, including tables and figures.

ISSN 0422-0374 http://www.georgia-archaeology.org/sga

• 3

Table of Contents

Editor’s Introduction
Early Georgia:
A New Look for a New Millennium
Adam King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Georgia’s Hidden Heritage at Risk

An Introduction
Charlotte A. Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Archaeology is Almost Time Travel!—Allen Vegotsky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Food for Thought: Archaeology Today . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Food for Thought: Diversity in Cultures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Stewardship in Archaeology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

What is Archaeology?
How Exploring the Past Enriches the Present
Jennifer Freer Harris and Charlotte A. Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Raiders of the Lost Ark: Dispelling a Not-So-Harmless Myth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
What is Anthropology? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Site Destruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Other Ways of Looking at the Past . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Writing: The Difference between History and Prehistory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Why is Archaeology Important?

Global Perspectives, Local Concerns
Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Archaeology and the Education of Global Citizens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Historic Preservation Successes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Partners for the Past: Archaeological Preservation and Other Conservation Organizations . . . . 30
Evaluating the Fish in Our Waterways: The Zooarchaeology Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Descendant Communities and Georgia’s Archaeological Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

An Introduction to the Prehistory of The Southeast

or, “They were Shootin’em as Fast as They Could Make ’em…”
and Other Popular Misconceptions about the Prehistoric Southeast
Scott Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
A Word about Time Designations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Archaeological Site Reporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
4 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

Archaeological Resource Protection in Georgia

Federal, State, and Local Legislation and Programs
Jennifer Freer Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
What is an Archaeological Site? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Your Tax Dollars Pay For CRM Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
HPD’s Principal Duties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Who Owns Archaeological Resources? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Protecting Sites on Private Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

This Is Not Your Mother’s SGA

Rita Folse Elliott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
An SGA Timeline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
SGA: Full Steam Ahead!—Elizabeth Shirk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Sprawl and the Destruction of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources

Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
What is Sprawl? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Declines in Quality of Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Growth in Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

The Future of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources

Transforming Citizens into Defenders
Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Get Your Hands Dirty and Get Involved! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Stewards of the Past: An Arizona Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
A Case for Cooperation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Food for Thought: Ecology and Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

Jargon Commonly Used by Archaeologists

Glossary of Terms
Jennifer Freer Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
• 5

Editor’s Introduction

Early Georgia: A New Look for a New Millennium

As I begin my tenure as editor of Early Georgia, I will be subjected to a formal review by selected
take on a journal that has a long and distinguished peers from the broader archaeological community.
history and has a wide readership that reaches far Submitting authors may suggest appropriate
beyond the borders of Georgia. While Early reviewers, but the Editor will not be bound by
Georgia is healthy and well supported by the mem- those suggestions. The Editor will take into
bership of the Society for Georgia Archaeology, account the comments of peer reviewers, but will
there is still the need to encourage greater submis- make the final decision regarding manuscripts. The
sion rates and increase subscriptions. The Society’s creation of the Peer Reviewed Article category is
Board of Directors and I have devised a strategy designed to encourage graduate students and pro-
that we hope will take Early Georgia toward those fessionals, who are concerned with building publi-
goals, and it involves some changes to the appear- cation records, to consider Early Georgia as a publi-
ance of the journal, as well as to its content. cation outlet for their manuscripts.
Regular Early Georgia readers will surely notice It is important to note that all articles submitted
that this issue looks different from previous issues. to Early Georgia do not have to go through the peer
True, it is a Special Issue, so its content is slightly review process. That choice is left to the submit-
different from the normal research articles. Most of ting authors. Manuscripts that do not go through
the basic formatting in this issue, however, will the peer review process will be reviewed in a less
remain the same for all future issues. These changes formal way. Choosing to forego a peer review in no
were instituted to update the appearance of the way diminishes the quality of scholarship repre-
journal, as well as make it more graphic friendly sented by an article or the importance of the infor-
and easier to read. mation it contains. The peer review process is sim-
In terms of content, Early Georgia, as a policy, ply a more formal review process that allows pro-
will now accept manuscripts dealing with the fessionals to advance their careers through publish-
archaeology of adjoining states. Such papers have ing in Early Georgia.
not been excluded in the past, but this policy Let me make it clear in no uncertain terms that
change makes it more explicit that Early Georgia the basic philosophy and content of Early Georgia
will accept material from the broader region when will not change. The journal is still dedicated to
it has a bearing on understanding the history and publishing information that is important to
prehistory of Georgia. Acceptance of such papers Georgia’s archaeological community. More than
will be at the discretion of the Editor. ever, the journal is committed to providing a pub-
Another slight change that will affect content is lication outlet for both professional and avocation-
the creation of a new category of paper to be pub- al members of our community. I cannot encourage
lished in Early Georgia. These will be called the avocational members strongly enough to submit
Peer Reviewed Articles, and, as the name suggests, material for publication. What you learn from the
6 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

study of Georgia’s past is every bit as important as the opinions of the Society for Georgia Archaeolo-
the research done by other members of the Society gy. As Editor, I recognize, as I hope all concerned
for Georgia Archaeology. By keeping it from the with the archaeological record of Georgia will as
pages of Early Georgia, you deny others the chance well, that this issue begins a conversation that is
to learn from you. absolutely essential to the future of Georgia
As the first issue of Early Georgia to be published archaeology. The guest editors and I hope this issue
under my editorship, I am pleased to offer this will serve as an important source of information for
Special Issue Resources at Risk: Defending Georgia’s Society of Georgia Archaeology members as well as
Hidden Heritage, which has been guest-edited by concerned citizens, politicians, and planners as we
Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris. As all look to the future.
with all scholarly publications, the opinions —Adam King
expressed in this issue do not necessarily represent
• 7


We are honored that Early Georgia’s new editor, gestation period. We owe considerable thanks to
Adam King, consented to let us assemble Resources many members of SGA, especially Paul
at Risk: Defending Georgia’s Hidden Heritage, the Brockington, Daniel T. Elliott, James B. Langford,
first issue of the Society for Georgia Archaeology’s Stephen A. Kowalewski, John R. (Chip) Morgan,
newly redesigned journal. Early Georgia has a long Thomas Pluckhahn, Keith Stephenson, Christine
and honorable history, and we hope that this issue Van Voorhies, Dean Wood, and Karen G. Wood.
augments it. We very much appreciate Adam’s sage For assistance and information, we thank Mark
advice and erudite assistance, which we found Williams and Byron J. (Bud) Freeman. We appre-
immeasurably helpful as we brought this issue from ciate the assistance we received from personnel at
idea to reality. the Archaeological Services Unit of HPD. We also
Archaeological conservationists can find poten- thank those who helped us and wish to remain
tial partners for their preservation efforts in many anonymous.
places, and sometimes we don’t have to look very For long discussions and excellent suggestions,
hard to find them. We found Allison Smiley, at we extend special thanks to Bill Jurgelski, Maureen
Sprawlwatch in Washington, DC, a particularly Meyers, Carol H. Montgomery, and Gordon R.
helpful collaborator. We thank her for her speedy Smith.
replies as we searched for the resources we needed. We appreciate, especially, this opportunity to
We would like to thank the contributors to this investigate and explicate on a topic we are impas-
volume, Rita Folse Elliott, Scott Jones, Elizabeth sioned about—saving the precious, mind-expand-
Shirk, and Allen Vegotsky. Their involvement ing information that our Southeastern forebearers
strengthened and enhanced this issue tremendous- have left for all of us in the soil. We look forward
ly. to continuing this discussion, and labor of love, for
We have only been able to bring the diverse top- many years.
ics and data presented in this issue together Finally, we thank our spouses, JC Burns and Guy
because of recent and long-ago dialogues with Harris for their love, encouragement, patience, and
many colleagues and friends. This kind of intro- understanding as we labored to produce this issue.
spective discussion is only possible after a lengthy —Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris
• 9

Georgia’s Hidden Heritage at Risk

An Introduction

by Charlotte A. Smith

It was the first day of field school, the summer of my First, I learned that even though the hoe was an
sophomore year in college. I enrolled because I thought isolated artifact, it still provided important informa-
the class would be interesting, but also because I was tion to archaeologists. We found no other artifacts
fascinated by archaeology and wanted to be outdoors. along with that clunky stone tool; given the excel-
The instructor, a graduate student, lined the dozen lent surface visibility, we felt we would have found
or so of the profession’s latest novices up along one edge something else if it had been there. Then, too, it
of an unplanted, plowed field, having instructed us in was possible that over the years others had collect-
the time-honored technique for scanning the ground ed artifacts from that field, leaving the hoe behind.
surface for artifacts. “When you find something,” he We also couldn’t know, even by comparison to
said, “give a yell!” The rich, dark soil of this field had extensive collections in the university’s museum,
no pebbles or stones, and the surface had a nice skin how old the hoe was. We could only assume that it
from being pelted by raindrops and baked in the sun. had been made and used sometime during late pre-
When I spotted a rock, I just knew it had to be an arti- history, when the people who lived in the area
fact. My instincts had not mislead me! maintained fields and cultivated various crops.
The instructor told the circled class that I had found Ironically, the hoe was found in a research plot used
a hoe made of argillite. The rock’s surface was soft and by a major agricultural university; clearly agricultur-
decomposing from its exposure to the elements, but I al production was still important locally!
had found an object that had been shaped and used I now understand how important such finds are.
hundreds of years before. Even though I’d found a single artifact, it helped
It was the first artifact I’d ever found, and my heart illuminate archaeology’s big picture of who did
pounded! what, where, when, and what it all means. That
Since this was a field school, we learned the next les- hoe filled in a little corner of the picture of late
son of formal archaeological procedures: we filled out a prehistory, and helped me see that knowing about
site form for the state’s master file. It included a map one tool wouldn’t be enough for me. After I found
marked where I found the hoe, a description of the arti- that hoe, I wanted to see how it fit into our under-
fact, and noted where it would be stored, so if any standing of agricultural practices, of settled village
future researcher wanted to examine it, she or he would life, and of the long thread of prehistory.
know where to find it. Later, that hoe became a symbol for me of the
———— transition between what I had thought archaeolo-
gy was before I found it, and what I later came to
The hoe I’d spotted in that southern Michigan
understand the field of archaeology encompasses.
field became an important lesson to me, and
This realization, however, only came after consid-
marked a transition toward a greater understanding
erable study and long-term employment in the pro-
of a very complex field of study.
fession. For a while, I thought of that difference as
10 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

a gap—a difference of attitude toward our past.

However, I was wrong. It is not a gap, but merely Archaeology is Almost Time Travel!
an indication that non-archaeologists have an To me, archaeology is the closest thing to time
incomplete understanding of what archaeology is travel. Observations on the surface of the soil and
and what archaeologists do. clues from beneath the soil enable us to imagine we
While many people have misconceptions about are mingling with people of the past, sometimes the
distant past. We learn about these people in a very
archaeology, for the most part they do understand
intimate way, how they lived, how they coped in
the core of what archaeology is (Pokotylo and sometimes difficult environments, and perhaps
Guppy 1999; Ramos and Duganne 2000). What gain something about humanity that has been
professional archaeologists must continually do is missed or not fully appreciated. Sometimes archae-
augment or expand the understanding the public ology contradicts historic accounts, for the materi-
has of our complex and often obscure profession. al artifacts carry no biases, unlike the accounts of
That task is a primary goal of this special issue of humans. Archaeology is eclectic and brings togeth-
Early Georgia. When Jennifer Freer Harris and I er the best efforts of geologists, historians, social
began to guest-edit this issue, we conceived of our scientists of various persuasions, chemists, ecolo-
audience as Society for Georgia Archaeology gists, pathologists, and many others.
—Allen Vegotsky, SGA Member
(SGA) members—of course—and others interest-
ed in the past or fascinated by archaeology.
The fundamental message of this issue is that • The theoretical questions archaeologists ask
Georgia’s hidden heritage is under siege, the pro- about long-term cultural evolution are increasingly
tections it now has are insufficient, and if those of complex, and difficult to explain in the brief
us who are concerned about archaeological preser- “sound bites” preferred by today’s mass media.
vation work together, we can reverse this trend. It Archaeological preservationists face more obsta-
might be helpful to briefly step through some of the cles than those listed above. The list includes some
challenges to archaeological preservation and the pervasive problems, and many of them exist across
successes and strengths we can build on to increase the globe, not only in the US and in Georgia. The
public awareness and form workable policies for the picture is not entirely bleak, however.
preservation of archaeological resources.
Recent Victories and Successes in
Obstacles to Archaeological Preservation Georgia Archaeology
Today, the cause of archaeological preservation Presently, archaeological preservation in
faces myriad obstacles. For example, Georgia is enjoying numerous successes.
• Land use changes involving bulldozing and • Various laws protect archaeological sites on
land-altering activities disturb and destroy archae- federal and state lands, or allow the significance of
ological sites before they can be recorded or even archaeological resources to be discovered and eval-
discovered. uated before they are destroyed by land-disturbing
• Looting and the resultant destruction of activities.
archaeological sites has increased dramatically due • The funding received by the foremost state
to an enlarged global collector’s market, fed in part agency dealing with archaeology, the Archaeology
by the internet. Services Unit of the Historic Preservation Division
• Archaeology is incompletely understood by (HPD) of Department of Natural Resources, has
the public and even by other social scientists. been greater over the last decade than ever before.
• Archaeological resource protection issues are • Georgia’s database of archaeological resources
poorly integrated into policy and planning prior to is more robust and detailed than ever before, and is
development of non-federal projects, meaning better than many in neighboring states.
archaeological conservation is often ignored. • By many measures, archaeology awareness is
• The cost of long-term studies and extensive higher now than over the last half-century, among
excavations are skyrocketing, yet these studies are groups such as teachers, planners, developers, local
rarely done despite the fact that the data they pro- historians, genealogists, environmentalists, etc.,
duce are priceless. due in no small part to the efforts of SGA and HPD.
• Archaeology and Georgia’s Hidden Heritage • Smith • 11

• The transformation of Georgia’s Archaeology to archaeological site conservation and have lobbied
Awareness Week into a month-long celebration strongly and successfully for legislation to preserve
provides a high-visibility place for professionals, and protect material evidence of the past. Although
avocational archaeologists, and the general public legislation has partially controlled site destruction
to come together to learn from each other. resulting from land development and resource
This is not a complete list of recent successes in extraction activities, public support for continued
archaeological preservation in Georgia, but each conservation activities remains essential. A healthy
represents a major victory achieved through the appreciation for archaeological heritage also serves
efforts of committed amateurs and professionals. to deter site vandalism and looting. (1999:400)
Consider, though, that given the current situa- Although Pokotylo and Guppy focus on problems
tion in Georgia—a burgeoning population that is facing archaeological preservation in Canada, the
driving extensive land use changes—are these tri- above observations can apply equally to conserva-
umphs enough as we enter a new millennium? tion of Georgia’s archaeological resources.

The Future of Archaeological Preservation Goals of This Early Georgia

The above lists reflect both the problems and Taking all the above into account, the goals of
successes faced by archaeological preservationists this special issue are:
in Georgia over the last century. As the twenty- • to expand public perception of what archaeol-
first century begins, however, the rate of destruc- ogy is and what archaeologists do;
tion of archaeological resources (both sites and the • to call attention to the urgent need for the
information they contain)—permanent, irre- preservation of archaeological resources, or at least
versible destruction—is growing dramatically. This the recovery of basic information before it is
destruction is the result of Georgia’s growing popu- destroyed; and,
lation, and the development that currently accom- • to spur discussion of new ways that Georgians
panies this growth. can accumulate more archaeological knowledge
Unfortunately, this rate of destruction
can only be expected to increase in the
near future. Thus, this issue of Early
Georgia contains a plea for change in laws
and policies, and in the fabric of everyday
life—a plea to halt, and, if we are very
lucky, perhaps reverse the trend toward
increasing destruction of basic archaeo-
logical information.
Pokotylo and Guppy neatly summarize
the dire situation facing our archaeologi-
cal heritage.
The continuing loss of archaeological
sites throughout the world from land devel- Smith takes a break from mapping wall profiles in a 2 x 2 meter excavation
opment, vandalism, and looting threatens unit, Etowah Mounds State Historic Site near Cartersville, summer 1995.
the very essence of archaeology and our
ability to understand the past. These losses also and save more resources, and disseminate this new
strike at the significant values that archaeological information to the public.
sites have in the heritage and living traditions of To meet these goals, this special issue, Resources
Aboriginal peoples. In a larger societal context, at Risk: Defending Georgia’s Hidden Heritage, pres-
archaeological information is increasingly used in ents a series of articles that are intended to work in
legal and political areas (e.g., assertion of Aborigi- concert as an overview of the besieged state of
nal land claims and rights) as well as cultural archaeological preservation in Georgia in 2001. At
tourism (e.g., historic sites, heritage parks, and the same time, we hope each article stands alone to
interpretive centers). Archaeologists are dedicated address its particular aspect of that main topic.
12 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

this special issue of Early Georgia.Taken together,

Food for Thought: Archaeology Today we hope they paint a picture of who and what came
Traditionally, as a subfield of anthropology, North before us, the history of the efforts to preserve this
American prehistoric archaeology has had weak hidden heritage, and an overview of continued
ties with history. …Archaeology, if it is to meet the threats to its existence.
needs of the people it studies, must provide specif- The first article that follows this introduction
ic information on unique culture histories. This is
discusses what archaeologists think archaeology is.
particularly vital in the modern political climate, as
collaboration for mutual benefit is a prerequisite for
Without a doubt, archaeology is a complex subject,
archaeologists working with First Nations. Poten- in terms of its methods and data, and in the theory
tial contributions archaeologists can make to Abo- behind them both. Yet, if non-archaeologists are to
riginal groups include documenting ancient ties to understand what archaeologists do, archaeologists
the land and demolishing the myth of the must reach beyond sound bites to present a com-
unchanging Native. In addition, the new emphasis prehensive assembly of the concepts beyond a mere
on studying cognitive and symbolic aspects of the dictionary definition of the discipline. You may
past has the potential to enrich our understanding prefer not to read this article in one sitting, or even
of Aboriginal accomplishments. Recognition of the from front to back. Take time to enjoy the side-
“Native voice” through study of oral traditions and
bars—the short sub-articles interspersed in the
collaborating with modern descendant populations
also enhances our understanding.
main text. And, to help non-archaeologists decode
—Alan D. McMillan (1999:5) the jargon of the profession, we include a glossary
at the end of the issue.
The succeeding article takes over to discuss why
As a collection with overlapping perspectives, archaeology is important. What do the insights
these articles will, sometimes repetitively, touch on archaeologists obtain from archaeological data
several important points: mean to researchers, to students, to present-day
• Archaeological knowledge is derived from sur- society as a whole? The article discusses many of
vey and excavation, and archaeologists use many the ways a more complete knowledge of the past
outside specialties (e.g., pollen analysis, radiocar- enhances our present lives. We learn environmen-
bon dating, soil chemistry analysis, linguistics) to tal and ecological lessons from the choices of those
better understand the human past; who lived before us, and there is undeniably an aes-
• The main strength of archaeology as a disci- thetic sense of community that comes from a clear-
pline is that it seeks to understand both short- and er picture of our ancestors. Further, we share a
long-term patterns of continuity and change in responsibility for passing these layers of under-
human societies; standing on to our children and their descen-
• The first step toward major improvements in dants—education through archaeology can form
archaeological preservation is increasing public the foundation for teaching about many aspects of
awareness of archaeology, and thus of the value of how we humans live, think, and work. This con-
the information archaeological studies produce; servation, preservation, and stewardship of our cul-
• It is urgent that Georgians reinforce and ture is, in itself, part of what makes us what we are.
improve programs that conserve archaeological Scott Jones, an archaeologist and primitive tech-
resources, as they are increasingly threatened by nologist, spends much of his time teaching, and in
land use changes; and, the next article he contributes a brief chronology
• Although Georgia has several outstanding of Georgia’s past. Jones discusses societal change
programs that increase public awareness of archae- and continuity mostly through understanding the
ology, it has no program devoted to systematically technologies used by ancient peoples to get
recording and examining archaeological resources. through their daily lives. This summary focuses on
Southeastern prehistory, and briefly discusses
Contents of Resources at Risk
Georgia’s history through 1840.
A diverse collection of articles, sidebars, and Then, we present two articles on the programs
data intended to summarize and synthesize archae- and laws that relate to archaeology in Georgia.
ological preservation in Georgia today comprise While they are not meant to be exhaustive, they
• Archaeology and Georgia’s Hidden Heritage • Smith • 13

do contain considerable detail on the subject. The

first of this pair discusses existing programs and Food for Thought: Diversity in Cultures
organizations in Georgia that work for archaeolog- Despite…diversity within and between North
ical education, preservation, and research. Those American cultures, it is still quite common to read
organizations range from governmental agencies to statements implying a uniform Native American
local museums. Perhaps foremost among them is view of nature, as if all the diverse cultural relations
with particular habitats on the continent can be
the Society for Georgia Archaeology.
swept under one all-encompassing rug. The same
In the article that follows, SGA’s immediate absurdity occurs when “the Eurocentric view of
Past-President, Rita Folse Elliott, describes SGA’s nature” is taken to mean that the Swiss, Swedes,
long history and current goals. Elliott chronicles an Sicilians, Slovaks, Basques, Lapps, and Gypsies all
organization that is now growing, forming impor- view and use wildlands in the same manner. This
tant alliances with outside organizations, and mak- assumption is both erroneous and counterproduc-
ing efforts toward fundraising far beyond the means tive, and it undermines respect for the realities of
of its members. SGA has thus positioned itself to cultural diversity. Nevertheless, it continues to per-
initiate and lead many of the changes and ideas for meate land-use policies, environmental philoso-
the future discussed later in the issue. You’ll find a phies, and even park management plans. It does
not grant any culture—indigenous or otherwise—
timeline of significant events in SGA’s history
the capacity to evolve, to diverge from others, or to
included with this article. learn about their local environments through time.
Next, we discuss sprawl and land use change in —Gary Paul Nabhan (1997:157)
Georgia, and the impacts of both on archaeological
resources. As we go to press, population statistics
from the 2000 census have just been released. The Georgia’s threatened heritage to members of the
Atlanta metropolitan area continues to be among public, but this is an effective first step.
the fastest-growing in the nation, and, with a gen- You’ll find ideas in this article for
eral lack of zoning to concentrate growth, it’s con- • raising awareness of archaeology and archaeo-
suming a phenomenal amount of “undeveloped” logical resource conservation;
land—land that, until the heavy equipment shows • improving the efficiency of archaeological
up, contains important archaeological resources outreach and education in Georgia;
that can be recorded and, in some cases, preserved. • altering both policy and legislation to protect
Then, to counteract a tendency we all have to more archaeological resources, and to obtain more
think of development as centered around cities, we archaeological data before sites are destroyed;
present a case study of a small area along the upper • expanding responsibilities of existing institu-
Chattahoochee River to illustrate that develop- tions;
ment’s impact is also obvious in rural areas. • new programs for archaeological research and
The heart of this issue is the article “The Future conservation;
of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources: Transform- • new public-private partnerships; and
ing Citizens into Defenders,” in which we pull • new affiliations with organizations that have
together ideas that, if implemented, could pro- goals that parallel those of archaeological preserva-
foundly improve and intensify management of tion (e.g., natural resource conservation).
Georgia’s heritage in the twenty-first century. We hope that, taken together, the articles in this
These are by no means all new ideas. Several have issue support an understanding that Georgia’s hid-
been discussed before or are listed in the long-term den heritage is at risk, and point the way toward
plans of HPD and SGA. what those who work to protect Georgia’s endan-
Listing those ideas in that article, along with an gered archaeological resources can do to stop the
overview of the heritage they would protect, is an trajectory of destruction.
important idea in and of itself. It is, in a sense, in
tune with the model for all community or societal
Converting Ideas and Beliefs into Action:
action: first, do what you can do NOW! Those who The Road Ahead
seek to protect archaeological resources may not be We live in an age of many unknowns—what will
able to, overnight, bring a complete awareness of the stock market close at tomorrow?, what film will
14 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

across the US. I also know that the houses, stores,

Stewardship in Archaeology and churches of aging neighborhoods come under
The most fundamental goal of archaeological the wrecking ball, sometimes before historic preser-
ethics, according to the Society for American vationists are aware of developers’ plans.
Archaeology (SAA), the foremost archaeological All around Georgia, archaeological sites are
organization in the New World (membership being destroyed or are under threat of destruction.
exceeds 6600), is the stewardship, or protection and
While it can be argued that “development” is the
preservation, of archaeological knowledge. Al-
though the language may be a bit stilted, SAA’s eth-
natural progress of things, obliterating the past
ical statement summarizes the rationale we exer- before it’s been recorded and understood is not
cised in orchestrating this issue of Early Georgia. “natural,” nor does it have to be an inevitable by-
The archaeological record, that is, in situ archaeo- product of progress.
logical material and sites, archaeological collections, In Georgia we lack sufficient infrastructure to
records and reports, is irreplaceable. It is the respon- implement a large-scale systematic project to
sibility of all archaeologists to work for the long-term record archaeological resources before they disap-
conservation and protection of the archaeological pear forever. That infrastructure cannot be con-
record by practicing and promoting stewardship of structed without public support, and that support
the archaeological record. Stewards are both care-
will not emerge without public understanding.
takers of and advocates for the archaeological record
for the benefit of all people; as they investigate and
And public understanding, in turn, stems from out-
interpret the record, they should use the specialized reach by professionals and those committed to
knowledge they gain to promote public understand- archaeological preservation.
ing and support for its long-term preservation. This issue represents our pursuit of that goal, our
attempt to add to public awareness of our Resources
at Risk. It’s hoped that some of what is here inspires
win Best Picture at the Academy Awards?, and
other professionals, committed amateurs (such as
what’s for dinner tonight?—but there’s one thing
SGA members), and members of the public to
we do know about the future: many archaeological
make a contribution, to educate others, and ulti-
sites will be destroyed tomorrow, next month, and
mately to take action.
next year. We can’t stem that tide, but we can act
differently in the face of it. Becoming a member of
References Cited
SGA is one measure each of us can take, and being
McMillan, Alan D.
an active member of SGA is even more meaningful.
1999 Since the Time of the Transformers: The Ancient
We hope this special issue of Early Georgia can Heritage of the Nuu-cha-nulth, Ditidaht, and Makah.
serve as a useful handbook for SGA members and UBC Press, Vancouver, British Columbia.
others seeking to know more about Georgia’s frag- Nabhan, Gary Paul
ile and threatened archaeological record—in short, 1997 Cultures of Habitat: On Nature, Culture, and
all those who want to know what they can do to Story. Counterpoint, Washington, DC.
preserve that heritage. Pokotylo, David, and Neil Guppy
1999 Public Opinion and Archaeological Heritage:
To talk about the practice of archaeology today Views from Outside the Profession. American
means to consider the rapid destruction of archae- Antiquity 64:400–416.
ological sites. As I write this, the Taliban in Ramos, Maria, and David Duganne
Afghanistan have recently dynamited a Buddhist 2000 Exploring Public Perceptions and Attitudes about
worship site sculpted over a millennium ago. I Archaeology. Society for American Archaeology,
know that bulldozers regularly carve away small Washington, DC.
and large prehistoric sites as more housing is added
• 15

What is Archaeology?
How Exploring the Past Enriches the Present

by Jennifer Freer Harris and Charlotte A. Smith

Archaeology is the single most powerful tool to Etowah or Ocmulgee. Still others think “archaeol-
know, understand, and explain the entire human ogy” when they gaze at “treasures” in museum dis-
saga—from our earliest ancestors to modern socie- plays. Actually, none of these truly represents the
ty. Thus, archaeology can and does make substan- archaeologist’s archaeology.
tial contributions to modern life. Archaeology has While archaeologists are excited by, interested
evolved from the glorified treasure hunting of its in, and curious about artifacts and ancient con-
early days to be a sophisticated social science, with structions, archaeologists seek to understand the
far-reaching explanations of human behavior. Con- interplay of life, of society, of daily chores, of spe-
sequently, when professional archaeologists, like cial rituals, of social and political power, and of
ourselves, discuss the profession with the general why a community or region was abandoned or set-
public, as we attempt in this article, there is some tled. In this article, we ask you to stop and reflect
value to covering the entire discipline, with its on the accuracy of the images and ideas you hold
inherent complexities. about what archaeology is. Does an archaeologist
Substantial amounts of archaeological research view the discipline differently?
are conducted with public support and funding,
although, in general, members of the public remain Archaeology is the Study of…
unfamiliar with the process and goals of archaeolo- Many archaeologists begin a discussion like this
gy. Yet, to effectively manage and preserve with a definition: archaeology is the study of the mate-
America’s archaeological resources, public involve- rial remains of our human past. While that defines
ment is critical. To address misconceptions and to the term, it does not fully capture the magnitude of
underscore the complexities of archaeology, this archaeological inquiry. Today’s archaeologists can
article seeks to provide a definition what archaeol- be very sophisticated in both the questions they ask
ogy is that is accessible to non-archaeologists. of material remains and the answers they generate
when they interpret that evidence. In this essay, we
What Do You Think Archaeology Is? dismantle that textbook definition and discuss it
When you hear the word archaeology certain one part at a time. We hope this clarifies the defi-
images probably come to mind. Some people think nition of “archaeology,” and gives insights into the
artifacts are archaeology, and that the homes and underlying concepts of archaeology, including its
offices of archaeologists must be strewn with arrow- methods and theories.
head collections and the like. Others think “this is As an academic discipline, archaeology has an
archaeology” when they stand atop a mound at interesting history. To some scholars, it developed

Harris and Smith co-direct Archæofacts (http://www.archaeofacts.com), a small, Atlanta-based research group
specializing in archaeological research and education. They have worked in Georgia archaeology since the 1980s.
16 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

Raiders of the Lost Ark: Dispelling a Hollywood Myth

Envision a scenario that many archaeologists encounter questions they ask about humankind and the unex-
at least once in their careers: you are introduced as such in pected answers they discover. They’re excited when
a social setting, facing the inevitable reaction of at least they discover, not an artifact, but a new way of look-
one person: “Ah, you’re a real-life Indiana Jones! How ing at human behavior. That intensity can happen
exciting!” whether they are investigating prehistoric political
Your new acquaintances mean well and are enthusiastic boundaries in the prehistoric Southeast or working on
about furthering the conversation, trying to learn more a remote excavation in the Middle East. An archae-
about this unusual discipline, the people who work in it, ologist’s questions are about people past, present and
and, most importantly, the artifacts you “dig up.” You try future, our similarities and our differences.
hard not to bristle at the movie reference and they try not Why is the myth of the heroic treasure-seeker so
to look disappointed when you tell them that your interest harmful? If non-archaeologists conceive of archaeolo-
is in human settlement patterns and the information they gy as focused on artifacts, they remain unaware of the
provide. They are openly dismayed to learn that you do anthropological investigations that frame the ques-
not collect artifacts from the field at all. They are disillu- tions archaeologists ask. Often, this can translate into
sioned that you do not dig anything, instead you walk over a lack of concern for funding for archaeological
large tracts of land looking for signs of previous human preservation, educational outreach, and research.
activity. They are confused to learn that you leave the If the public does not grasp the serious issues
material remains you do encounter right where they are, archaeologists explore, then why should they take
after noting their characteristics. responsibility for learning more about their
They regain some sparkle in their eyes when they local, national and international heritage?
inquire about where you do your fieldwork—some- Why should they advocate for strength-
where exotic, surely, like Egypt or Mesopotamia. ened public policy in regard to planning
Well, no, you work in the United States. Georgia, and development and its devastating
actually. In fact, your latest project was in Oglethorpe effect on the network of prehistoric sites?
County. Why should they teach their children to respect the
All the while, the sparkle is fading from their eyes. Right past, the people who lived it, and the materials that
here? In their own backyard? There’s nothing exciting remain from their existence?
about that! It is only when the public sees archaeology for what
Or is there? it is, a human science; archaeologists for what they
Many people maintain a romantic vision of what are, knowledgeable researchers; and artifacts for what
archaeologists do, where they conduct fieldwork, and they are, simple tools to understanding the people
what group of people they try to understand. who made, used, and discarded them, that we all can
Archaeologists do, in fact, take part in an exciting ensure the preservation of our irreplaceable archaeo-
field, but they experience that exhilaration from the logical resources.

from geology, while to others archaeology is an out- part of anthropology. Indeed, at the annual meet-
growth of other disciplines, including anthropolo- ing of the Society for American Archaeology in
gy, history, or geography. Still others have argued April 2001, over 100 archaeologists gathered for an
that archaeology stands alone as its own academic afternoon to debate this issue in an open forum.
discipline. Humans and their society, whether it is the pres-
Each archaeologist views the profession with his ent-day relationship between Kurds and the Iraqi
or her own theoretical assumptions, often implicit. government or between the Incas and their envi-
Here is one of ours: archaeology and archaeological ronment 2000 years ago, are within the realm of
theory are part of anthropology. While specific ques- anthropological study. Anthropologists examine
tions about cultural chronology and detailed human behavior in all its contexts: geographic and
reconstructions of the past are within the realm of environmental, societal, political, economic, and
archaeological method, the archaeologist’s overar- cognitive or cultural. Archaeologists track and
ching objective is to define and understand wider explain change in all of these spheres, at multiple
cultural processes. Generating those explanatory levels or scales, and over sometimes lengthy peri-
models of human behavior is part of anthropology. ods of time. Thus, archaeology is a tool for con-
Not all archaeologists agree that archaeology is a ducting anthropological research into past soci-
• What is Archaeology? • Harris and Smith • 17

eties. It is a complex and sophisticated tool to be

sure, with its own set of theoretical structures, but What is Anthropology?
a tool nonetheless. Anthropology, broadly speaking, is the study of
Because anthropology (and thus archaeology) is human beings. In North America, anthropology is
a holistic discipline, archaeologists are likely to divided into four sub-fields: archaeology, cultural
adopt ideas and techniques from any discipline anthropology (the study of present-day peoples and
societies), linguistics (language), and physical
that touches on human life. Indeed, sometimes it
anthropology (human and primate behavior and
can seem a veritable university is bearing down on evolution). Archaeologists looking at ancient
an archaeological site! The methods archaeologists remains use theories and models of human behav-
use to understand the past and all of its complexity ior developed by cultural anthropologists, for
are too numerous to list here. However, it is one of instance, and there is informational give-and-take
the strengths of archaeology that it has so success- among all four sub-fields.
fully absorbed so many ideas from other kinds of Anthropology is considered a holistic discipline
research in both the hard and social sciences. because it investigates humans from so many differ-
Moreover, archaeologists work in many arenas ent perspectives. Research techniques borrowed
including academic departments, government from biology, ecology, psychology, history, econom-
ics, and politics are all used to examine humans and
offices, national and state parks, cultural resource
their connections to the world around them. While
management firms, museums, and other public and it shares certain aspects with all of these fields,
private institutions. (For a readable, informative anthropology goes a step further by combining
summary of the above see Dark 1995.) them in order to shed light on the totality of
Archaeology may incorporate aspects of many human culture and existence. The fields of sociolo-
other fields of study, but it is not limited by any of gy and psychology, for example, pertain to mostly
them. It is not simply art history, nor is it purely sci- urban, industrialized society, or the general mental
entific human ecology, for example. Similarly, structures of modern humans. Anthropology
archaeology is more than a subjective analysis that encompasses all peoples, urban and rural, modern
shifts with the changing attitudes and academic and traditional, Western and Non-Western, past
and present.
trends of the modern world. Archaeologists exam-
Archaeology is not always considered a sub-field
ine myriad variables to generate a detailed under- of anthropology. In England archaeology is viewed
standing of the complex creatures we humans are. as related to geology, because in both fields excava-
tion is used to discover the sequence, or stratigra-
What Are Archaeological Data? phy, of layers of remains (determining which layer
While the popular conception may be that or deposit is older—or below—which others).
archaeologist are only interested in artifacts, the Other Europeans see archaeology aligned with nei-
reality is that archaeologists examine several differ- ther history nor anthropology (Courbin 1988), and
often disagree with the American focus on scientif-
ent kinds of information in their quest to under-
ic method. No matter the discipline they ally them-
stand the past. Ultimately, it is not just the things
selves with, the archaeologist’s aim is always to bet-
that are important, but where they were found and ter understand our past.
what else was with them. Careful, systematic field-
work allows archaeologists to recover sometimes
subtle and ephemeral information from around ter-bugging, meddlesome and occasionally artistic
artifacts, providing considerable detail about what animal have one aspect in common: they are things,
they call context. Thus, archaeological data include they are not deeds, ideas or words.
objects, like artifacts and bones, but also the setting —Glynn Isaac (1971:123)
for those objects, or their context. Together, objects As we stated at the beginning of the article,
and their context form the basis of archaeological archaeologists study the material remains of the
interpretation. human past. Those material remains are composed
of every conceivable substance on earth. If humans
Material Remains used, touched, cooked, ate, built with, modified, or
Most of the marks that man has left on the face of created it, then it falls within the bounds of archae-
the earth during his two-million year career as a lit- ological inquiry. Material remains are those stereo-
18 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

and camps along the transportation routes of an

Site Destruction early empire. Archaeological remains can extend
Sites and other archaeological resources are dis- across an entire region or consist of a microscopic
appearing continuously through looting, vandal- fragment of DNA.
ism, environmental alteration, and modern devel-
opment. Even if legislators immediately imple- Context of Material Remains
mented the most extreme measures to protect So, in a sense, archaeologists are interested in
archaeological sites, we would still lose hundreds, artifacts, but that is only a small part of the story.
perhaps thousands, of sites each day across the More important than the artifact itself is where it
globe. is found and what it is found with—its context.
Looters and vandals, although high-profile and There is much more to be learned from an arrow-
newsworthy, only threaten specific kinds of sites.
head or potsherd when archaeologists know its
Those sites are generally large, well-known locales
that hold rare artifacts and attract individuals seek-
context. They can learn who used these things,
ing profit in the underground (and illegal) market how and when they were used, and for what pur-
for stolen cultural property. Looting must be cur- poses. Similarly, an archaeological site is more
tailed and there are specific, targeted laws and pro- informative placed within its context. It is then
cedures in place to limit those activities. that archaeologists can see how it fits within a net-
Today archaeological sites face another threat work of sites from the same period. Then, archae-
that is more menacing and dangerous—unre- ologists can compare that network to those that
strained sprawl. Sprawl—dispersed development came before and after. In addition to context
outside of compact urban and village centers, along defined by physical space, archaeologists are also
highways, and in the rural countryside—is respon-
interested in context as created by culturally
sible for the majority of archaeological sites lost
today. There are no criminals to target in this situ-
defined spaces.
ation. The offenders are lack of planning, an unin- Context provides the details archaeologists need
formed public, and meager information concerning to reconstruct the past. As you might expect, con-
the archaeological resources being impacted. text is directly affected by how material remains
Any discussion of the future of archaeology must entered the archaeological record, and what hap-
involve a large measure of conservation awareness. pened to them with the passage of time. Clearly,
Most sites, because they are unknown and depositional factors (or what happened to remains
unrecorded, are vulnerable to even the most well- after they were abandoned) and variability in
intentioned individuals. The archaeological com- preservation affect the amount and kinds of infor-
munity has made great strides in the last thirty
mation archaeologists can recover from material
years creating a process to reverse that trend.
Archaeologists often favor survey and inventory
remains. Despite these problems, archaeologists rely
whenever and wherever possible, and preservation on the context of artifacts and material remains to
over excavation. New laws have strengthened legal interpret the past.
protections for archaeological resources on govern- The archaeologist’s ability to garner information
ment-owned lands, and archaeologists are urging from material remains also depends on how they
the public to consider stewardship of those materi- are recovered. Context remains a key. Context is
als on private land a fundamental obligation. Safe- not only the artifacts’ placement over the land-
guarding our cultural heritage will only succeed scape, but the linkages among artifacts, sites, set-
when everyone works together. tlements, and political regions (Figure 1). While
painstaking, thorough excavations are important
typical artifacts commonly associated with archae- for understanding the where and when of material
ology: stone tools, potsherds, exquisite burial remains, the study of the distribution of sites and
goods, and so on. They include the minuscule artifacts across broad areas provides important
pollen traces buried in the trash pit of an Early breadth to explanations of large-scale human
Archaic camp, an animal bone with barely visible activities. That ability to “zoom out” allows archae-
butcher marks from southern France, the temple ologists to tackle the difficult task of explaining
mounds of Mexico, the foundations of a medieval culture in its entirety, over long periods of time
house, the vast terraces of some agricultural lands, (Figure 2). This “wide-angle lens” ensures that
• What is Archaeology? • Harris and Smith • 19

researchers are able to detect relationships or inter-

relatedness among settlements, even if remote. Other Ways of Looking at the Past
But what underlies the ability to make those cul- Archaeologists divide the past into periods, gen-
tural interpretations? Archaeologists assume that erally identified by different types of artifacts and
the placement of artifacts, features and settlements settlement patterns, and by different styles of arti-
over the landscape is not random, but the result of fact decorations. At the same time, archaeologists
realize that these are modern, artificial ideas
human decision-making. In short, there are mean-
imposed on the continuum of the past. The people
ingful, observable reasons why objects are found who lived on those sites and made and used those
where they are. Archaeologists take the fragments artifacts did not see such breaks in time. It is not
that remain from the original social system, piece surprising, then, that their descendants conceptual-
them together in a way that represents the past ize the past differently from archaeologists. Notes
reality, and then attempt to explain that recon- Roger C. Echo-Hawk,
struction. That process is not as easy as it sounds Archaeologists frequently say that the sites they
and there can be pitfalls, as culture is far more than excavate and artifacts that they recover can “speak”
an oversized jigsaw puzzle. to us across the centuries, and physical anthropolo-
To avoid misinterpretation, archaeologists try to gists often think of collections of human skeletal
remains as “libraries.” In oral traditions, we can
be explicit about the process of abstracting from
hear echoes of the actual voices of the people who
Potsherds A, B, and C to Explanation Z. The process made those artifacts and who were the original own-
is complicated and archaeologists continually seek ers of those skeletons.…
to match their understanding of the past with the As a concept, “prehistory” interferes with recog-
artifacts and building remains that they find. In nition of the validity of the study of oral traditions
other words, the archaeologist’s work does not end because it presumes an absence of applicable
at excavation; a significant part of archaeological records.… It may be technically correct to apply the
research seeks to reveal the relationship between term to periods in time for which no writings exist,
the material evidence that remains and the culture but its usage as a taxonomic device emphasizes writ-
that left it behind. This process means that archae- ten words, while presuming that spoken words have
comparatively little value. (2000:285)
ologists allocate considerable time after an excava-
Today’s Native Americans think of the past not
tion to analyzing artifacts, drawing maps, writing in the periods of the archaeologist (e.g., Mississip-
reports, and other post-fieldwork activities. pian, Woodland, Archaic), but in terms that have
Documents continuity with their own cosmology. Indeed,
…Mississippianism should…be viewed as constitut-
In addition to material remains and their con-
ing the context for the entire range of characteristics
text, another important source of information for that provided, and continues to provide, coherence
archaeologists is the documentation generated dur- to the culture base of the Seminole and Miccosukee
ing the research process. During the course of a and Creek descendants of the Maskókî peoples
project, archaeologists produce a mountain of doc- today. (Wickman 1999:35)
umentation, often including field notes, maps, Knowing these two lines of evidence—both the
photographs, artifact analysis sheets, electronic oral tradition and the archaeological interpretation
databases, and project reports. After over a century of the past—deepens our understanding of the past.
of archaeological investigations in the US, the Oral traditions and the archaeological record both
reveal the workings of these [traceable social] process-
body of information represented by these docu-
es, and both provide important knowledge about the
ments is considerable, and their importance to new
ancient past. Archaeology is inherently multidiscipli-
and on-going research projects has grown. Indeed, nary, so the study of oral literature should exist as one
Early Georgia has often published restudies of old more realm of legitimate inquiry. (Echo-Hawk
data sets accessed through existing documentation 2000:288)
(e.g., Chamblee, Neumann, and Pavao 1998).

How Do Archaeologists Collect Data? they were made, used, and discarded, to try to
understand how people lived, loved, and died in
Archaeologists examine a huge range of materi- the past. Archaeologists obtain these material
al remains, coupled with interpretations of how remains basically using two methods: excavation
20 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

material remains method
specific object

trash pit,

in profile


set of
locales village
spatial scale

regional survey
group of
area communities

village hamlet
village hamlet
hamlet village village
hamlet hamlet
political village village village hamlet
region village hamlet
hamlet village village town hamlet
town CITY village village large–scale comparative analysis
village hamlet hamlet
hamlet hamlet



Figure 1. Space and scale in archaeology. Human activities occur different-sized spaces and at different scales.
Archaeologists use methods carefully tailored to understanding human behavior at various scales. Shown here are
scales that range from the individual artifact to the global. This is but one example of the ways in which archaeo-
logical method and theory intersect with the physical remains of a culture. Please note: the schema above is not
meant to outline a universal trajectory for all cultures, or that all societies develop along the same evolutionary path.
• What is Archaeology? • Harris and Smith • 21

e ologic time

ric im


A moment
in time

Figure 2. Time and scale in archaeology. Although archaeologists understand linear time, they also seek to under-
stand cyclic patterns in human and natural phenomena. At any moment in time, many types of cyclic patterns may
be in play. Most of these are not evident to the people whose lives are enmeshed in those patterns. However, from
a viewpoint distant in time and space, archaeologists seek to identify those kinds of patterns. This figure shows three
units of time, differing in scale and rate of change. These are just three of perhaps infinite scales that might be used
in archaeological or historical analysis. For more on cyclic patterns when analyzing the past, read Braudel’s On
History (1980). The three cyclic patterns in this figure do not correspond exactly to Braudel’s three cycles of change.
Geologic time. This is a long-term cycle reflecting environmental and climatic shifts, and changes in human adap-
tation that span millennia. Although we live enmeshed in geological time, we tend to be unaware of these slow
changes in our daily lives. Only when they hear of studies of greenhouse warming, for example, do most people real-
ize how change on the geologic scale affects their own lives.
Historic time. These patterns reflect changes in social, economic, or political systems—the rise of capitalism or
the Renaissance, for example. Individuals are peripherally cognizant of these changes and their impact on our lives.
We know that “society was different during the 1800s,” for example.
Human time. This scale denotes the daily, annual, or generational changes that we all experience: birth, death,
social interactions, agricultural seasons, and changes in fads or fashions. We fully experience, and are aware of,
human-scale changes during our own lifetimes.
22 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

and survey. Often the two are used in combination, Sometimes survey archaeologists can examine the
which means quite powerful data are generated. ground surface directly for artifacts, for instance, in
Excavations produce information about how a plowed or fallow field, or along a road cut.
objects were used in a household, for instance, or Mostly, an archaeologist must create instead small
the pattern of special activity areas in a communi- “windows” to see what is buried under leaves or
ty (e.g., where trash pits were in a Mississippian vil- grass. To do this, they dig small holes, called shov-
el tests, sift the soil through a fine-mesh
metal screen to collect all artifacts and
examine the shovel test profile for evi-
dence of features. By identifying these
material remains, potentially including
temporally diagnostic objects (ones they
recognize simply by visual inspection were
used at a certain time), and plotting their
locations, archaeologists hope to deter-
mine how many people lived at a site and
when they lived there. This basic informa-
tion is used extensively in settlement pat-
tern studies, and is crucial to understand-
ing broad-scale issues of human cultural
Whether archaeological research
involves doing a survey or conducting
excavation, archaeologists have an ethical
Researchers examine the freshly scraped surface at the base of the plow zone obligation to save all of the artifacts and
for features at the Raccoon Ridge site east of Atlanta. Left to right: Keith documents produced forever. This is
Stephenson, John Worth, Dea Mozingo Kennedy, and Pat LoRusso. known as curation, which is a process
whereby archaeological data are organized
lage). Excavation is a labor-intensive process that sufficiently to insure future scholars have ready
begins with pre-excavation planning, including access to it, and stored in a facility that will insure
developing a research design that draws on previ- their long-term protection (climate-controlled,
ous research to determine what might be found and secure, fire resistant). While curation is not part of
how best to collect that information. After excava- collecting archaeological data, it is an important
tion, there’s also the cleaning and cataloguing of part of preserving those data for future generations.
artifacts, tabulation, sometimes analysis by special- Thus, archaeologists are concerned with detailed
ists (e.g., zooarchaeologists, palynologists, chemi- information about specific locales collected
cal analysis of ceramic composition), as well as the through excavation. But, they are also interested in
big job of producing a report that documents the survey data that shows how people arranged them-
field and laboratory work. Many archaeologists selves across the landscape at any given time (anal-
estimate they must budget at least as many staff- ogous to a census), and how those patterns shifted
hours for laboratory analysis and report writing as through time. Archaeologists are unable to obtain
they do for fieldwork—that’s a lot of time! this information, and it is lost forever, when mod-
Excavation is also expensive because archaeologists ern land use destroys archaeological sites and the
have an ethical obligation to save all of the arti- information they contain before surveys can be
facts recovered and the documentation produced conducted.
(e.g., field notes, maps, analysis forms, databases,
photographs) forever. The Who, What, Where, When and
Survey, or walking across the land systematically Why of Archaeology
looking for evidence of previous human activity, In a recent survey commissioned by the Society
provides a different kind of archaeological data. for American Archaeology (Ramos and Duganne
• What is Archaeology? • Harris and Smith • 23

Applying the who, what, when, where, and why questions of archaeology to the Swift
Creek example (for more on Swift Creek, see Bense 1994, and Williams and Elliott 1998).
Archaeologists often use the name of an artifact complex to indicate a cultural group—
the Swift Creek people, for instance. This is a bit of a misnomer, as such a modern name
could never have been used in the past. Also, the people using the style archaeologists
identify as Swift Creek may not have seen themselves as a single, integrated group, as the
term “Swift Creek people” implies. Swift Creek sherd

Archaeological Questions
Methods and Techniques Middle Woodland Swift Creek (0–500 AD) Example

When (chronology, timeline)

Dating methods are both relative and The characteristic marker (or diagnostic artifact) for Swift Creek cul-
absolute. Cultural periods may be ture is its complicated-stamped pottery—with distinctive curvilinear
marked by specific artifact styles, but designs such as scrolls, spirals and concentric circles. Archaeologists
can also include entire cultural com- believe that people making pottery with Swift Creek designs lived for
plexes (ceremonial goods, burial prac- about 500 years, or perhaps 20 generations or more.
tices, presence of agriculture, etc.).

Who, What, Where

Archaeologists plot the locations of From the plotted occurrences of diagnostic Swift Creek pottery, the
sites with diagnostic artifacts to see the Swift Creek culture has now been identified across south Georgia and
geographical extent of interacting northwest Florida. People who used Swift Creek pottery occupied large
groups. Some studies examine minute camps along floodplains, smaller, temporary camps in upland areas, and
details to assess what people ate, their there is some evidence for large shell middens (or trash heaps) in
burial practices, and other aspects of coastal areas.
daily life.

Why, How
Anthropological and archaeological During the Woodland period, which includes Middle Woodland Swift
theories attempt to explain broad pat- Creek peoples, archaeologists find a slow shift from hunting, gathering,
terns of cultural change and continuity. and fishing, to the first attempts at agriculture. During the Woodland
Often these models are derived from period, archaeologists find evidence for an increase in special ceremo-
studies of living peoples from distant nial activities that suggest new political stratagems for leadership.
parts of the globe. These kinds of changes are interpreted using anthropological theories
of sociocultural change (and are beyond the scope of this article).

2000), members of the public were asked what tive, and there is only one opportunity for excava-
came to mind when they heard the word archaeol- tion.
ogy. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents To better understand what archaeologists really
answered “digging” in some form (digging artifacts, do, it may be helpful to outline the discipline’s fun-
digging bones, etc.). If there is any message archae- damental goals. Archaeologists perform a three-
ologists would like to convey to non-archaeolo- tiered investigation of the human past by: 1) estab-
gists, it is that archaeology is more than digging. lishing a timeline or chronology of events; 2)
Excavation, trowels, and artifact recovery are tools reconstructing past lifeways; and, 3) providing
that archaeologists use to systematically compile explanations for patterns of human development
information about past peoples, but they are not (Thomas 1991). These elements build upon each
the final objective. Most archaeologists only exca- other, allowing archaeologists to address a variety
vate if a site is threatened by destruction, and of complex questions about human societies.
before excavation they write a well-developed
Asking When
research design that guides them in obtaining the
maximum information from that excavation. This One key to discussing the past is an understand-
is because by its very nature archaeology is destruc- ing of the sequence of events, in both absolute and
24 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

ing degrees of accuracy, to establish when people

Writing: The Difference between History used a site (the site’s occupation), or when a hoe or
and Prehistory cooking pot was manufactured. Once this is
The development of writing conventionally known, the occupation can be placed in a tempo-
marks the shift from prehistory to history in a par- ral spectrum (or timeline) so that it can be com-
ticular culture. Written documentation is used by pared with those that came before and after. For
archaeologists to either supplement or trigger their each region of the world, archaeologists can then
work. In turn, archaeology may
develop a cultural history. At an even larger scale,
confirm or refute historically-
accepted events, depending on
those regions can be compared, too.
the evidence from the archaeo- When is a fundamental question asked by archae-
logical record. Together histori- ologists. Only by establishing the dates of the use
ans and archaeologists can or occupation of a site can archaeologists deter-
present a clear, well-rounded mine if and how past societies changed. Once the
view of the past.
hieroglyph chronology is understood, the long chain of events
Many people think the term that constitutes the human past is more complete
“prehistoric” indicates the same time across the and the why questions—for instance, why did these
globe. Instead, writing systems developed at differ- changes occur? why did the people move away (or
ent periods throughout the world, so
why did they stay)?—can be addressed.
that one geographic area may be
“prehistoric” at 1000 BC, while Reconstructing Past Lifeways
another has fully developed historic As has been stated many times, archaeologists
cuneiform are interested in understanding how past people
Some of the earliest writing dates
symbol lived their lives, and this is done by piecing togeth-
from 3000 BC in Mesopotamia. The
for ox er the information provided by artifacts and sites,
Sumerians developed what is called
cuneiform script although it was not a full writing and their contexts, gathered through excavation
system in the modern sense. It was used for docu- and survey. Once assembled and interpreted, these
menting property ownership, accounting records, data can reveal how people obtained their food and
and other business transac- what they ate ,where they lived and in what type of
tions. The Egyptians devel- buildings, how they practiced their religion, what
oped hieroglyphics about type of social system they were a part of, and per-
100 years later, perhaps as a haps even who they married.
result of a Sumerian stimu-
Most archaeologists agree that an important part
lus. Soon, writing systems
of understanding how people lived in the past is a
were created on Crete, and
in Turkey, Pakistan, and knowledge of the physical environment they
China. The Greeks devel- inhabited. After all, the nature of the environment
oped the first full alphabetic largely determines what kinds of food and other
writing about 800 BC. In materials are available for people to use. Some
the New World, the Mayas archaeologists feel that the limitations of the envi-
are credited with the first ronment basically make the society the way it is;
systematic writing at about Chinese others think social and economic relationships
AD 300. characters among individuals and groups are far more impor-
tant than the environment in determining how a
relative terms (see table above). Archaeologists use society develops.
many dating techniques to help them with this Asking Why and How
task, including radiocarbon, obsidian hydration,
In the process of explanation, archaeologists
potassium argon dating, and dendrochronology to
develop more questions than there are archaeolo-
name a few (see glossary for definitions of these and
gists to answer them. How and why did agriculture
other terms). For relative dating, archaeologists use
take root in different areas of the world? How and
seriation and artifact typologies for comparison.
why do cities, states, and nations develop? What
These techniques allow archaeologists, with vary-
happened to cultures around the globe during the
• What is Archaeology? • Harris and Smith • 25

rise of European capitalism? How do political years of human adaptation, entire social systems,
alliances affect warfare, trade, and power in the and the cultural dynamics of one civilization after
prehistoric Southeast? And how are these large- another. The archaeologist’s power to decipher
scale processes linked to the individual who herd- human behavior stems from the ability to adjust
ed cattle, helped settle tribal disputes, and raised the scale of study to the types of questions asked.
three children in India a thousand years ago?
Coupled with data from excavations, regional Studying the Human Past
survey is best suited to help answer broad questions Archaeologists use time, space and information
about human adaptation because it allows us to gleaned from artifacts, sites, and their contexts to
investigate entire political and social systems over explore the human past. Of course, archaeology is
the span of many hundreds, or even thousands, of not unique in shedding light on past human
years. To better understand these systems, archae- events; history gives us volumes of detailed records
ologists specialize in many different theoretical and spanning centuries. Instead, the essence, the neces-
technical aspects of cultural studies: rise of chief- sity, of archaeology lies in its ability to reveal the
doms and states, regional analysis and settlement entire human record. Accordingly, archaeologists
systems, subsistence studies and ecology, political include both the recent and distant past in their
economy and commerce, along with many others. investigations as, contrary to public perception,
Each of those tackles a dif- archaeological research is
ferent aspect of behavior, not limited to the study of
and yet all of them touch If history never repeats itself, and the unex-
pre-literate societies, or
pected always happens, how incapable must
on the central themes of prehistory.
Man be of learning from experience!.
our shared human trajecto- —attributed to George Bernard Shaw Many, though not all,
ry. North American archaeol-
ogists interpret the past
A Personal Viewpoint from the Authors from an understanding of human behavior derived
We became archaeologists for the same reasons in large part from anthropological studies and the-
as many of our colleagues—to add to the body of ories. Thus, they seek to understand how people
knowledge about human activities. Although we have lived not only at the small scale of the indi-
do not deny the fascinations of the discipline, vidual household, but also at the broad scale of
archaeologists are not archaeologists for the thrill multiple communities and regions. Archaeologists
of discovery, the romance of excavation, or the also look at the past not as a single point in time,
beauty of the artifacts. We investigate how humans but they seek to understand change and variation,
interact with each other and with the world around or even continuity, over time.
them. That world includes the influences of poli- Archaeology can be narrowly defined to be
tics, society, environment, and religion that impact about specific individuals in particular locations at
every person, no matter when he or she lived and a certain time in history, but this is not the profes-
died. That world also includes other peoples and sion’s ultimate objective. Archaeologists are, in the
other cultures. We seek to understand not only our end, examining general patterns of human behav-
differences, but also our commonalties. ior. Archaeologists use painstaking methods and
We have focused much of this article on the sub- techniques to uncover the building blocks of the
jects of spatial and temporal scale in human life particular—for instance, an individual’s daily
and culture. We think that it is important to rein- activities, and the household and community in
force that point to clarify a misunderstanding which these activities took place. But those pieces
about what it is we do. From our conversations alone cannot explain the whole—a culture, a soci-
with non-archaeologists, we know that many peo- ety, how humans behave.
ple envision our work as at a particular site (the We can use film as an analogy. One frame of film
Great Pyramids), or conclude that we focus on a shows a moment in time, out of context and short
particular people (the Hopi), or time (ancient on narrative—a snapshot. Run a series of frames
Greece). One strength of archaeology lies in its together and it shows a sequence of events and
ability to pool and compare data from thousands of presents a more meaningful experience—a movie.
26 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

Archaeologists will never find the entire film Early Georgia 26(2).
intact, but they can splice together enough frames Clark, Grahame
to follow the unfolding story of humankind. 1957 Archaeology and Society: Reconstructing the Prehis-
toric Past. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
Over a generation ago, Grahame Clark (1957: Courbin, Paul
261), a British archaeologist, wrote that in order to 1988 What is Archaeology? An Essay on the Nature of
stimulate a consciousness of world history Archaeological Research. Translated by Paul Bahn.
…the unit of history has to be expanded from the University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
parochial to the universal, from the history of Dark, K.R.
nation or civilization to that of the world. 1995 Theoretical Archaeology. Cornell University Press,
Archaeology is ideally situated to meet those uni- Echo-Hawk, Roger C.
versal criteria, both in time and space. 2000 Ancient History in the New World: Integrating
To understand history and archaeology is to Oral Traditions and the Archaeological Record in
explore our past, to ponder our future, and to Deep Time. American Antiquity 65:267–290.
enrich our perception of the present. This aware- Isaac, Glynn
ness informs us about ourselves as human beings, 1971 Whither Archaeology? Antiquity 25:123–129.
Ramos, Maria and David Duganne
and opens doors to understanding other cultures,
2000 Exploring Public Perceptions and Attitudes about
other places, and other times. Archaeology. Society for American Archaeology,
Washington, DC.
References Cited Thomas, David Hurst
Bense, Judith A. 1991 Archaeology: Down to Earth. Harcourt Brace
1994 Archaeology of the Southeastern United States: Jovanovich, Fort Worth.
Paleoindian to World War I. Cambridge University Wickman, Patricia Riles
Press, New York. 1999 The Tree That Bends: Discourse, Power, and the
Braudel, Fernand Survival of the Maskókî People. University of Alabama
1980 [1969] On History. Translated by Sarah Press, Tuscaloosa.
Matthews. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Williams, Mark, and Daniel T. Elliott (editors)
Chamblee, John F., Thomas Neumann, and Barnet Pavao 1998 A World Engraved: Archaeology of the Swift Creek
1998 Archival Salvage of the Plant Hammond Site. Culture. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.
• 27

Why is Archaeology Important?

Global Perspectives, Local Concerns

by Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris

Archaeology plays a real and vital role in today’s the sites with a set of specific criteria laid out by
world, although its valuable lessons and benefits law. If they determine a site is significant, it is
can seem removed from everyday life. This article either excavated to recover the information it con-
examines how understanding and conserving tains, or it is avoided and protected. This is called
archaeological resources enhances the present and cultural resource management, or CRM, archaeol-
the future. This discussion of the importance of ogy. CRM projects produce most of the new
archaeology and archaeological resources pairs well archaeological information recorded in Georgia,
with the previous article, which outlines the com- and have for years, but the lands examined by
plexities of archaeological research. We have, how- CRM projects are only a small part of the state
ever, separated the two topics to better highlight (Williams 2000).
both of them. We hope this article imparts an CRM exists because legislators and their con-
awareness of the importance and fragility of stituents—the public and its representatives—
Georgia’s archaeological resources. thought archaeological preservation important
enough to include in US laws, and in governmen-
Understanding Archaeology’s Importance tal budgets. Thus, the public has already realized
The preceding article describes goals of archae- the relevance of archaeology and archaeological
ology. It concludes that archaeologists seek to under- data to people living in today’s world and preparing
stand human behavior from the micro (e.g., mak- for tomorrow’s world. In this paper, we try to make
ing a stone tool) to the macro (e.g., the spice trade a strong case for the unique and important ways
between Europe and Asia). In this paper, we ask archaeological knowledge contributes to and
why and how the study of the past has relevance for enhances our lives, on a scale ranging from the
today’s society. Also, we identify the contributions individual to the community, and to our nation.
archaeology makes to modern life and to other
academic disciplines. The Intellectual Importance of Archaeology
The most extensive programs that unite archae- If archaeologists are asked why their work is
ology and the modern world are so-called public important, they are most likely to respond that it is
archaeology projects. Public funds support archae- for the same reasons history is valued. By knowing
ological investigations in the early stages of proj- our human past, we appreciate who we are and
ects involving federal funds, licensing, permits, or where we came from. Accordingly, by studying the
lands. For instance, when the US Forest Service past, all of us can use this knowledge to inform our
lets a logging contract, archaeologists visit the decisions about the future. Reassuringly, there are
property first to ascertain what sites are there and signs that the public shares that perspective about
how significant they are. Archaeologists evaluate archaeology, too.
28 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

A recent poll commissioned by the Society for tivity to great detail—seeing evidence left in mere
American Archaeology (Ramos and Duganne 2000) centimeters of stratified deposits in soil—com-
asked members of the general public why they bined with a simultaneous ability to zoom far back
thought archaeology was important. Overwhelm- in space and time to discern broad patterns of
ingly, they responded that understanding the mod- human behavior. Archaeology is, in short, a disci-
ern world was the foremost benefit and that we pline that reveals truths by observing and explor-
learn about the past in order to improve the future. ing evidence in ways others overlook. Unlike writ-
They also suggest that the field contributes signifi- ten history, which is often tied to national bound-
cantly to international affairs and in shaping mod- aries or particular groups and may carry inherent
ern values. That is evidence of substantially more biases, archaeology is truly a universal field, span-
insight into the field than archaeologists had ning the experience of all humans.
believed existed.
Archaeologists also see intrinsic aesthetic, cul- Archaeology in Education
tural, and spiritual reasons for humans’ interest in Archaeology’s potential for fostering more intel-
their past. Curiosity, too, plays a role; it is a char- ligent, involved, global citizens is considerable. In
acteristic that is particularly human and responsi- classrooms, learning about archaeology helps stu-
ble for many of our greatest achievements. dents develop various skills across many disci-
Although they often downplay the mystery or plines, including critical thinking. Archaeology
romance of excavation and discovery of the past for can be readily included in a comprehensive cur-
fear that it may send the wrong message about their riculum for social science, history, mathematics,
goals, archaeologists appreciate that the captivat- environmental studies, and art. Archaeology
ing allure of knowing ourselves and our place in the touches on the entire spectrum of human behavior
world is the root of all learning. and so inspires a never-ending series of questions.
Archaeology transcends the limitations of writ- Students learn to appreciate history from different
ten records, and can reveal detailed stories when frames of reference, developing a sensitivity to
no documents exist. The focus of history in other people and diverse cultures. Archaeological
America has traditionally been on great civiliza- findings provide a framework for questions about
tions, great individuals, and events relevant to statistics, economics, politics, cultural geography,
Western civilization. Archaeology not only speaks ecology, agricultural practices, and food procure-
of that elite few who lived dramatic lives and per- ment, to name just a few. What other discipline
haps were interred in rich burials, but also tells the can pull together those far-reaching lessons and
stories of ordinary people and their daily exploits. also teach practical applications for a global posi-
Archaeological examination calls for both a sensi- tioning system, the Cartesian coordinate system,

Archaeology and the Education of Global Citizens

In recent years, global education has become a standard element in many primary and secondary school pro-
grams. Archaeology is a vital piece of that curriculum. Phyllis Messenger and Walter Enloe (1991:161–162) dis-
cuss specific ways archaeologists can bring the world, past and present, into the classroom, using the breadth
and depth that archaeology can provide.
Archaeology permits intensive study of a single culture over time, removing the myth of an unchanging tra-
ditional past. By understanding the goals of archaeological research, students discover that their actions can
influence the future, and impact both environment and society. By removing the exotic quality of another cul-
ture, and by emphasizing our human similarities and explaining our differences, teachers can instill in students
a respect for other cultures and their products.
The breadth and nature of archaeological inquiry helps teachers move from lectures to hands-on learning.
Archaeologists use a wide-set of resources—museums, local sites, universities, and archaeological societies—
that then become available to the student. Making the most of a student’s natural interest and motivation, using
archaeology in the classroom can offer students opportunities for participating in positive action on the world
around them (e.g., adopt-a-site stewardship programs). Finally, by understanding and appreciating the world
they live in through study of the past and present, students become better-informed global citizens.
• Why is Archaeology Important? • Smith and Harris • 29

and ground penetrating radar?

Archaeological information is brought to the Historic Preservation Successes
public through museums, interpretive sites, and cul- When communities take an active interest in
tural reconstruction. These forums provide an their past the results can be both exceptional and
opportunity to reflect on the diversity of the exciting. In Crawfordville, Georgia students from a
human experience in an engaging and informative University of Georgia historic preservation class,
way. They convey a sense of everyday life in the gaining valuable fieldwork and research experi-
ence, conducted an inventory of the historic homes
past, allowing visitors to connect it to themselves
and buildings (Moore and Brooks, 1996). They
and making it accessible to everyone. These forums compiled information on date of construction,
also encourage general participation in interpret- architectural design and building materials for each
ing the past and safeguarding the archaeological structure. The students presented the completed
record. Those various forums allow professionals to inventory to the local leaders and submitted it to
translate the technical results of archaeological the local library for future preservation and plan-
investigation into the popular vernacular. That ning efforts. If other cities and towns across
communication, in turn, is a crucial link in the Georgia take similar stock of their archaeological
process of continuing archaeological research and resources they will better position themselves for
preservation. intelligent planning and control over their her-
One of archaeology’s greatest strengths lies in its
How else has Crawfordville made the most of its
ability to give voice to those who are left out and past? It has been the setting for eight movies and
left behind in many other fields of study. The more than twenty television shows. Today the com-
“excluded past” (Stone and Mackenzie 1990), that munity continues to work on preserving and restor-
of minority or indigenous groups that have a scanty ing downtown storefronts in the hopes of bringing
or absent written history, is one that is poorly more filmmakers to town.
understood by many of us. Only a society that
examines all of its past can truly appreciate the cases they may not have any idea that that such
powerful blend of traditions and lifeways that it resources are part of their real estate holdings. At
carries into the present and future. the same time, many archaeologists find it very
challenging to initiate dialogues with such
Archaeology and Your Community landowners, and to suggest they may control impor-
Archaeology—and its role in modern society— tant resources. This is a complex issue; nevertheless,
is more connected to your daily life than you might some land-holders have found it rewarding to con-
imagine. For example, consider the important sider the role archaeological research and preserva-
issues in the decisions you made to chose where tion of the past can have in enhancing community
you live? Personal safety, distance to work, quality life, and in enhancing their public image.
of schools, nearby green space and natural areas, Indeed, archaeological resource conservation
neighborhood aesthetic quality, and community and economic development are not always at odds
cohesiveness may have been among the decisive with one another. They can become successful
factors. Archaeology can reinforce those factors, or partners with a modest blend of foresight, guid-
can be a tangible component in their local imple- ance, and planning.
mentation. For instance, archaeology dovetails A precedent for this perspective on archaeology
well with neighborhood revitalization projects, and has been set by the many successful historic preser-
contributes substantially to research about historic vation programs implemented in Georgia. Historic
districts. Indeed, how can archaeology strengthen preservation is a crucial component of community
your local economy or support efforts at reducing revitalization projects and the planning and devel-
sprawl in your neighborhood? opment process; it is especially effective in enhanc-
The Economics of Our Past ing the period character of a community.
Archaeology contributes to historic preservation
Any landowner, including individuals, corpora-
projects by amplifying existing records especially
tions, and large land-holding institutions may own
through carefully-planned excavations in the
and control archaeological resources. Yet, in many
30 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

Historic districts, often preserved through myri- ty—economically and culturally. In 1996 alone,
ad efforts including neighborhood interpretive pro- historic preservation projects brought Georgia
grams, historic preservation endeavors, individual (Leithe and Tigue 1999:13)
donors, and the clout of National Register of • 7550 jobs in the construction industry and in
Historic Places status, can mean substantial rev- other sectors of the Georgia economy;
enue for local communities. A recent report from • $201 million in earnings, including wages for
the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office workers and profits for local businesses;
(Leithe and Tigue 1999) outlines several means • $559 million in total economic activity.
through which prehistoric and historic resources Tax incentives for income-producing rehabilita-
bring dollars into a community tion projects, such as apartments and office space,
• preservation creates jobs through restoration contribute to the booming heritage economy as
and interpretive projects; well. From 1992 to 1996 over $85 million were
• preservation enhances property values in his- funneled into Georgia’s economy in tax credits
toric districts; given to approved historic preservation projects.
• preservation revitalizes once stagnant commu- There are other avenues for economic benefits as
nities; well. Considering that people are now spending
• heritage sites are becoming increasingly popu- more on heritage tourism than on general tourism
lar with tourist destinations; and entertainment (movies, dinners, cultural
• heritage tourists spend more money and stay events), the market potential for heritage activities
longer at destinations than the average traveler in is staggering. The opportunities for growth and
the US. investment in heritage, individually and commu-
These figures do not include the largest portion nally, have never been better.
of dollars flowing in from the historic preservation Also, when corporations invest in local archaeo-
movement through rehabilitation of homes, logical resources, or act as responsible stewards for
churches, and community centers, or local revital- those holdings under their authority, they gain a
ization projects. Those projects impact residents at valuable public relations benefit. Several years ago,
home, in their neighborhood, and in their coun- when the Cobb County Country Club sought to

Partners for the Past: Archaeological Preservation and Other Conservation Organizations
Environmental advocates have heightened public awareness of the precious nature of our non-renewable
resources, which include archaeological sites, information, and resources. Accordingly, Americans have increas-
ingly put their dollars toward businesses that act conscientiously, with an eye toward future generations. It is
not cynicism to suggest that those interested in preserving archaeological resources must make the most of that
sentiment, and urge communities and organizations to act quickly to save our heritage. One way to accomplish
that goal is to integrate archaeological site preservation into natural resource conservation programs, many of
which already provide outstanding models for accomplishing these goals, and therefore have gained wide pop-
ular support.
The Georgia Natural Heritage Program is one such example. Created by the Department of Natural Re-
sources and The Nature Conservancy in 1986, it is part of the national Natural Heritage Network. To preserve
Georgia’s natural diversity—plants, animals, biological networks—the program identifies endangered areas,
inventories species and habitats through field survey, and provides an easily accessible catalog of data (maps,
computer data banks, manual files) for planners, researchers, educators, and the general public. The Natural
Heritage Program encourages stewardship of resources on private land by offering concise guidelines and incen-
tives (technical assistance, tax incentives, recognition programs and other habitat conservation aid) for indi-
viduals willing to participate.
Endangered archaeological resources are protected if other conservation programs are aware that when they
manage wild or undeveloped lands, those lands probably also shelter archaeological resources. If groups inter-
ested in protecting archaeological resources could effectively partner with other conservation groups, steward-
ship information would be extended to individuals already seeking to protect our natural resources.
For more information about the Georgia Natural Heritage program, contact the Wildlife Resources Division
of the Georgia DNR (http://www.dnr.state.ga.us/dnr/wild/natural.html).
• Why is Archaeology Important? • Smith and Harris • 31

develop a new golf course and housing develop-

ment, they incorporated many archaeological fea- Evaluating the Fish in Our Waterways:
tures into their design, thereby protecting them. The Zooarchaeology Connection
Those features included Civil War-era trenches Byron J. Freeman, an ecologist at the University
and rifle pits. At the same time, they included of Georgia, consults zooarchaeological reports to
some of the artifacts recovered by archaeologists determine what species inhabited waterways long
into a public museum in the club house. before written records exist. Such information is
crucial in arguing for or against the reintroduction
This discussion, hopefully, is a catalyst for inno-
of species into river systems where they no longer
vative thinking about archaeological resource con- reside.
servation. The misconception of historic properties Zooarchaeologists analyze the sometimes tiny
and prehistoric sites as large item expenditures, skeletal remains of fish, birds, and other animals
instead of revenue generators, can be adjusted. A recovered from archaeological contexts, looking for
preservation program for our past should not just be not only the existence of certain species, but also at
about old buildings—it can be expanded to include how humans used them in the past. Thus, zooar-
how all people lived on the land throughout pre- chaeological reports provide detailed species lists
history and history. from historic and prehistoric periods long gone, and
ecologists like Freeman can use them to track the
Environmental Lessons disappearance of various species of fish, birds, and
It is important to note that financial payoffs are other creatures.
not the only benefits for those investing in the
past. In addition to the economic value, there is a Resources for Other Academic Fields
substantial cultural and environmental advantage
Archaeology is integral to research in other sci-
to effective archaeological stewardship. When
entific fields, and in particular, adds temporal
lands with archaeological sites are set aside from
depth to those investigations. For example, archae-
development, green spaces are created and some
ological survey and excavation produce data that
effects of sprawl are alleviated. Community
aid historians in understanding unrecorded details
improvements like riverwalks, bikepaths, and
of life. What was life really like on a coastal rice
streetscaping often accompany preservation proj-
plantation or for piedmont subsistence farmers in
ects. Deteriorating neighborhoods are given new
the mid-1800s? What did De Soto and his men see
life and their original character may be restored.
as they traversed the Southeast over four years in
Protected communities minimize the negative
the early 1500s?
effects of development by not having to create
Other types of general information that archae-
costly new infrastructures or expand existing ones
ologists provide include:
(e.g., roadways, sewer, and utility systems). Finally,
• the various means of making a living (espe-
pride in ownership and local identity increases sub-
cially subsistence and daily life) that humans have
stantially in historic districts, creating better envi-
practiced throughout the past and the conditions
rons, physically and culturally, for families and
necessary for their success;
businesses. It is encouraging that the consequences
• the range and types of human social and polit-
of modern human environmental interaction need
ical organization that existed around the globe and
not all be negative, destructive, and degrading.
at different periods of time;
The long lesson of our human past provides
• comparisons of modern and ancient adapta-
models for judicious use of local environments and
tions to physical or cultural stimuli;
real-life cautionary tales of over-exploitation of
• insightful theoretical models on such diverse
finite resources. Archaeological studies can sharp-
topics as warfare and conflict resolution, economic
en an understanding of the successes and failures of
development, the rise of agriculture, and the devel-
human decisions throughout our long existence.
opment of modern nation-states.
We would be wise to take advantage of that hard-
Archaeologists also provide specific information
earned knowledge, accumulated over generations,
useful to other specialists. Examples of how archae-
when we consider our own future.
ological data are used by specialists in myriad fields
32 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

• Site interpreters extensively use archaeological

Descendant Communities and data to report accurately the details of the past.
Georgia’s Archaeological Resources • Exhibit designers and museum curators use
None of us can forget that what archaeologists archaeological research for educational programs
call archaeological sites were created by people and interpretive displays.
whose descendants live on today. Thanks to the • Re-enactors closely study archaeological
unjust Removal policy of the US government, reports and historical documents to more accurate-
Georgia’s aboriginal inhabitants were forced from
ly reenact events from the past such as Civil War
their lands during the first quarter of the nine-
teenth century. As a result, large Native American
populations are not found in Georgia today. Native • Forensic studies use archaeological techniques
American interest in Georgia’s past, however, to reconstruct the events surrounding the death
remains substantial. and burial of exhumed individuals. Recently, the
Archaeologists use material remains to recon- Society for Historical Archaeology devoted an
struct ways of living that existed in the past. Often, entire issue to archaeology and forensics (Connor
although not in all cases, archaeologists treat those and Scott 2001).
past cultures as if they have no living descendants. The rich and varied contributions that the
Native Southeastern cultures thrive today, and to archaeological record can yield are limited only by
many of those people, their past lives on in their
the questions asked of it. The unanswered ques-
culture. For example, Wickman notes that for
Southeastern Indians,
tions of experts in other fields can be the catalyst
the symbolic power of the chiefdom…in the forms of for archaeologists to conduct new types of research,
social status, political precedence, and social weight to create new techniques for coaxing information
within oral traditions, persisted into the nineteenth from material remains, and to develop new ways of
century, and in certain ways, to the present. looking at past behavior.
While the interests of archaeologists and Native Archaeology is More than Our Past,
Americans have often been at odds in the past, It’s Our Future
both constituencies share a common goal-to pre-
serve the remains of the past. Indeed, many mem- In this paper we have highlighted linkages, some
bers of both groups now realize that seldom considered, between archaeological knowl-
[w]hen data and archives on human history are lost, edge and the modern world. Clearly we all benefit
there is a loss to science and to the descendants/sci- from archaeological research for purely education-
entists/owners/curators of those archives. (Swed- al and scientific reasons, but the work also pro-
lund and Anderson 1999:574) duces significant insights into the problems that we
all face today. More importantly, it provides for the
• Epidemiologists examine data for evidence of practical applications to solve them, as when
disease patterns, which help them understand the archaeology examines the broad patterns of human
history of epidemics (e.g., the spread of Old World adaptation to massive global climatic change, or
diseases among non-resistant peoples in the New when it spotlights smaller, individual community
World). responses to local environmental shifts. An archae-
• Linguists use remarkable techniques to recon- ological perspective is vitally important to achiev-
struct language and population emigrations. When ing a greater understanding of how human occupa-
linguistic clues are combined with archaeological tion, resource consumption, and other choices
data, researchers can better understand the ways about how we live affects us where we live—in
culture is shaped by language, and vice versa. nature, in our environment.
• Ecologists and geographers look to archaeology We hope you received, and will seriously con-
for evidence of environmental practices not template, two messages from this essay. First, from
recorded by history. For instance, archaeological economic development to understanding many
evidence of sedimentation, when dated securely, cultures to helping children improve their critical
helps show when forests were cut and erosion thinking skills, the study of archaeology con-
increased. tributes substantially to everyday lives. Second, in
order to use archaeology as a tool, to take full
• Why is Archaeology Important? • Smith and Harris • 33

advantage of the information that material remains Messenger, Phyllis, and Walter Enloe
embody—we must ensure that those fragile 1991 The Archaeologist as Global Educator. In
resources are protected and preserved with far more Protecting the Past, edited by George Smith and John
Ehrenhard, pp. 157–166. CRC Press, Boca Raton.
diligence than we do now. Moore, Rusty, and Allan B. Brooks
Before that can happen, people need to compre- 1996 Transforming Your Community: Empowering for
hend the full value of archaeological research. Change. Krieger Publishing, Malabar, Florida.
Knowing why archaeology is important will guar- Ramos, Maria, and David Duganne
antee that more of the archaeological record is 2000 Exploring Public Perceptions and Attitudes about
available when we discover new ways to put our Archaeology. Society for American Archaeology,
Washington, DC.
knowledge of human behavior to use. When Stone, P.G., and R. Mackenzie
archaeologists work with a community to preserve, 1990 The Excluded Past: Archaeology and Education.
research and interpret its past, they create a part- One World Archaeology Series, vol. 17. Routledge,
nership that will ensure a better understanding of London.
not only their past, but of their future. Swedlund, Alan, and Duane Anderson
1999 Gordon Creek Woman Meets Kennewick Man:
References Cited New Interpretations and Protocols Regarding the
Peopling of the Americas. American Antiquity 64:569–
Connor, Melissa, and Douglas D. Scott (editors) 576.
2001 Archaeologists as Forensic Investigators: Defin- Wickman, Patricia Riles
ing the Role. Historical Archaeology 35(1). 1999 The Tree That Bends: Discourse, Power, and the
Leithe, Joni, and Patricia Tigue Survival of the Maskókî People. University of Alabama
1999 Profiting from the Past: The Economic Impact of Press, Tuscaloosa.
Historic Preservation in Georgia. Historic Preservation Williams, Mark
Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 2000 Archaeological Site Distributions in Georgia:
Atlanta. 2000. Early Georgia 28(1):1–55.
• 35

An Introduction to the Prehistory of The Southeast

or, “They were Shootin’em as Fast as They Could Make ’em…”
and Other Popular Misconceptions about the Prehistoric Southeast

by Scott Jones

A Personal Perspective competent technicians and teachers of nature-

As a primitive technologist and replicative spe- based skills often have little background in the
cialist, my profession leads me into working rela- chronology of prehistory and the dynamics of
tionships with other archaeologists, educators, out- material culture change. To demonstrate a skill and
door skills enthusiasts, and the public. Varying pro- declare “the Indians did this” is but one level of
portions of my time are spent doing archaeology, understanding; yet another level involves knowing
replicative and experimental work, teaching class- which Indians did what, where they did it, and sig-
es, and demonstrating prehistoric technologies. nificant to our discussion here, when. Thus the
The hands-on aspect of my occupation affords me nature of my work has been to bring practical wis-
the opportunity to apply long-term experiential dom to bear upon archaeology, and to bring
knowledge to archaeological interpretation, while archaeology into the thinking of both the public
my participation in mainstream archaeology allows and the primitive skills community. This integra-
me to bring sound archaeological information to tive approach is perhaps best characterized by my
those outside the profession. involvement with the Society of Primitive
As one who spends considerable time working Technology, and is evident in many of the articles
with the public, I hear quite a few interesting lay I have written for the Society’s journal, the Bulletin
interpretations of archaeological sites. I hear about of Primitive Technology.
innumerable “Indian mounds” in improbable loca- In recent years I have had requests from other
tions, finds of “buckets full of arrowheads,” “vil- primitive technologists for a brief, readable
lages” with “arrowheads all over the place,” and, as chronology of regional prehistory as an accompani-
a flintknapper, one of my favorites relates the sub- ment for lectures and demonstrations. With this in
title. “We found a site with literally hun’erds (sic) mind, I drafted the basic outline of what you see
of arrowheads on it…they must’ve been shoot- here. This article is an expansion of that text,
in’em as fast as they could make ’em.” Realizing adapted for a wider audience, with the hope that it
that popular culture often fosters long-standing imparts a sense of context and continuity to those
stereotypes and misconceptions, one of my jobs is who are interested in the flow of time and events.
to try and guide some of this popular thinking The following sections outline the four principal
towards an understanding of the past grounded in time periods of Southeastern prehistory, with a
the best state of modern archaeological knowledge. brief commentary on the historic era after 1540.
Likewise, in working with other primitive skills They are compiled from numerous sources and
practitioners, I began to comprehend that many present a broad historic perspective, with some

Jones operates his educational enterprise, Media Prehistoria, from his home in Oglethorpe County. His work
ranges from demonstrations and interpretive programs to experimental archaeology and lithic technology.
36 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

Archaeologists seeking to reconstruct past life-

A Word about Time Designations ways rely for their interpretations on the time-
Time notations, both in scientific and popular worn remains of ancient cultures for guidance; here
reading, can be confusing. Most readers are familiar in our humid climate, we are further disadvantaged
with the Gregorian or Christian calendar nota- since often only the inorganic residues of prehis-
tions, where dates are either AD (Latin anno domi- toric culture remain. The study of stone tools,
ni,"in the year of our Lord") or BC (before Christ).
sherds of pottery, and the scant remnants of organ-
You may also see the corresponding use of CE
(common era) and BCE (before the common era),
ic items and foods have helped to reconstruct
which is seen as more inclusive and less Christian- much of the detail of aboriginal life since the
centric, but refers to the same time scale as AD/BC. arrival of people at the end of the Ice Age. But,
Finally, many archaeologists use BP or Before unlike our counterparts in arid regions who are able
Present (arbitrarily the “present” is 1950, to avoid to examine directly numerous organic artifacts pre-
the mental gymnastics of adding or subtracting the served in dry caves and rock shelters, experimental
two millennia since the birth of Christ). In addi- archaeologists working in the Southeast are not
tion, an archaeological report using the lower case rigidly bound to a list of facts about the material
ad/bc is discussing uncorrected radiocarbon dates. culture of the native peoples; we seek, at best, to
One final note: AD and ad are used before a date
present a range of available technological possibil-
(as in AD 1200, or ad 500), but all other designa-
tions follow the digits.
ities. These possibilities extend beyond the recon-
You will notice that I employ two different time struction of material archaeological remains; by
designations in this article. I used the BP notation combining aspects of archaeology, ethnography,
in the Paleoindian, Archaic, and Woodland sec- and natural history, a world of organic materials
tions, and switch to the Christian calendar in the normally hidden from the archaeologist’s trowel
Mississippian and Historic period discussions. I did emerges. Rarely are we fortunate enough to glimpse
this because the dates in recent centuries are more the artistry of fibercraft, basketry, and woodwork-
familiar to us in the form of “years AD”, and thus ing that doubtless flourished in the prehistoric
easier to comprehend. I hope that this makes it eas- Southeast. Several flooded sites in Florida have
ier, not more difficult, to follow the timeline at
yielded substantial organic remains; we believe
that similar objects were probably commonly in use
in what is now Georgia.
specific observations on material culture based Such interpretive freedom is a mixed blessing
upon my own experiences in primitive technology. since, on the one hand, one may experiment with
ideas and adjust perceptions of prehistory; on the
Reconstructing the Past: Archaeology and other, one must be attentive to the realities of
Experimentation Stone Age life provided by archaeology, and thus
Starting with the oldest identifiable culture, the rein in unrealistic ideas before they wander too far
following text covers the next 12,000 years, from afield. To the informed student of primitive tech-
the long periods of hunting and gathering known nology falls the task of responsibly filling in gaps in
as the Paleoindian and Archaic periods, to the early our knowledge by recognizing, using, and docu-
horticulturists of the Woodland period, and the menting the wealth of possible material resources
maize-producing agriculturalists of the Mississippi- in our environments.
an period, ending with the arrival of Europeans in
recent times. While some traditional crafts are still Paleoindian: 12,000–10,000 BP
practiced by Indians of the Southeast, much of the While a growing body of evidence suggests that
accumulated knowledge of the past 12,000 years people inhabited the New World by about 13,500
was lost through the unfortunate acts of the years ago (often referred to as the Pre-Paleoindian
Europeans who ultimately came to dominate period), the first definable, widespread culture
North America. For further reading, try The appeared around 12,000 years ago at the end of the
Southeastern Indians by Charles Hudson’s (1976) last Ice Age. The dry, windswept landscape was
and Archaeology of the Southeastern United States: strongly shaped by, but just out of reach of, the
Paleoindian to World War I by Judith Bense (1994). massive continental ice sheet that lay a few hun-
• An Introduction to the Prehistory of The Southeast • Jones • 37

Historic circa ad 1540-present ad/ Before

bc Present
ad/ Before The de Soto expedition’s four-year tour of the Southeast, was the 3500 5500
bc Present first visit of Europeans to Georgia’s Interior. The incursion of
3600 5600
2000 0 Europeans profoundly changed the lives of the Native Americans,
introducing new foods, technologies, and diseases. 3700 5700
1900 100 Some aboriginal practices still remain. Some descendants of 3800 5800
1800 200 Mississippian peoples tell stories passed down from their 3900 5900
1700 300 forbearers, and craft traditional items as their ancestors did. 4000 6000
1600 400 4100 6100
1500 500 Middle Archaic 4200 6200
1400 600 ca. 8000-5000 bp 4300 6300
1300 700
circa ad 4400 6400
1200 800 During the Middle
900-1540 Archaic, reliance on plant
4500 6500
1100 900 4600 6600
foods continued to
1000 1000 Mississippian peoples increase. People still lived 4700 6700
900 1100 cultivated large fields in mobile groups in major 4800 6800
800 1200 and lived in some- river valleys. The 4900 6900
700 1300 Woodland times large villages. development of spear- 5000 7000
600 1400 circa 3000-1100 bp Some were surround- thrower weights improved 5100 7100
500 1500 ed by defensive pali- their throwing accuracy 5200 7200
400 1600 Woodland peoples made axes that sades and ditches. Vil- and impact. They used 5300 7300
300 1700 were more efficient than those of lages and peoples locally available stone for
their predecessors, making it easier were members of
5400 7400
200 1800 making tools, suggesting 5500 7500
to clear fields, indicating the loose confederacies, the territories in which
100 1900 increasing importance of agriculture or regional political 5600 7600
AD 0 2000 they moved were smaller 5700 7700
for their subsistence. They ate more groups we call than previously.
BC 100 2100 5800 7800
species of cultivated plants than chiefdoms. Early his-
200 2200 their ancestors and sometimes lived toric accounts descri- 5900 7900
300 2300 in larger villages. They also bed the chiefs living 6000 8000
400 2400 developed the bow and arrow, atop mounds, and the 6100 8100
500 2500 which made both hunting by stealth tribute or goods that 6200 8200
600 2600 of animals and people easier. Some member villages sent EarlyArchaic 6300 8300
700 2700 Woodland villages had mounds, to their chief. The ca. 10,000-8000 bp 6400 8400
800 2800 indicating an elaborate ritual life. central area of large 6500 8500
900 2900 villages may have had With the extinction of 6600 8600
1000 3000 multiple mounds, and
even large buildings
many large game animals, 6700 8700
1100 3100 Early Archaic peoples 6800 8800
in which groups could
1200 3200 focused on whitetail deer, 6900 8900
1300 3300 Late Archaic assemble for meetings
and rituals. Mississip-
small game, nuts, and a 7000 9000
1400 3400 circa 10,000-8000 bp pian peoples made
wider variety of plant 7100 9100
1500 3500 foods. Population
Peoples of the Late Archaic lived many kinds of plain increased and people
7200 9200
1600 3600 far different lives than their and decorated pottery 7300 9300
lived in small groups
1700 3700 ancestors. They began to cultivate a vessels, and ate a mostly in major river 7400 9400
1800 3800 few plant species and make ceramic variety of wild and valleys, staying mobile, 7500 9500
1900 3900 vessels. Together these and other cultivated plant and not occupying settled 7600 9600
2000 4000 changes indicate significant changes foods, including communities. 7700 9700
2100 4100 in diet, daily life, and technology. maize. 7800 9800
2200 4200 7900 9900
2300 4300 8000 10000
2400 4400 8100 10100
2500 4500 Paleoindian circa 12,000-10,000 bp 8200 10200
2600 4600 8300 10300
2700 4700 Immigrants from Asia brought their stone tool types 8400 10400
2800 4800 and technologies with them. Later, new types, 8500 10500
2900 4900 including fluted and unfluted knives, became widely 8600 10600
3000 5000 distributed; some are thought to have been used as
hafted spear points with atlatl throwing sticks.
8700 10700
3100 5100 8800 10800
Subsistence focused on large game, yet a range of
3200 5200 plants and animals must have been used and 8900 10900
3300 5300 consumed. Paleoindian sites are few and dispersed 9000 11000
3400 5400 across the landscape; there must have been only a few 9100 11100
3500 5500 Paleoindians in Georgia at any one time. 9200 11200
9300 11300
9400 11400
9500 11500
A Georgia Chronology: 9600
Change and Continuity 9900
38 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

dred miles to the north. The coastal lowlands The specific hunting weapons used by Paleoindi-
extended far beyond the present coast, because ans are the topic of speculation; while some pro-
massive amounts of the ocean’s water locked up in jectile points are large enough to be used as tips for
polar ice sheets lowered sea levels. In this land- heavy thrusting or stabbing spears, most of those
scape of boreal forest and grassland, these earliest found in the Southeast are small enough for use on
Americans coexisted briefly with numerous Ice lighter projectiles thrown with a spear thrower. No
Age mammals that are now extinct. In the direct evidence for spear throwers has been found,
Southeast were found wooly mammoth, mastodon, and the scarcity of Paleoindian sites does not favor
and ancient bison, as well as living species includ- the recovery of an actual spear thrower, yet the Old
ing caribou, elk, and deer. World flavor of the artifact assemblage favors the
Paleoindian sites are rare and their distinctive presence of this weapon for the pursuit of large,
projectile points are scarce, often found in the dangerous, and now largely extinct prey.
Southeast only as isolated artifacts. Paleoindians
are believed to have migrated across the land Archaic: ca. 10,000–3000 BP
bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska (a conse-
quence of lower sea levels during glacial times). Early Archaic: ca. 10,000–8000 BP
Their lifestyle was one of hunting and gathering, At the close of the Ice Age about 10,000 years
and the few well preserved kill sites discovered in ago, a people who once lived by hunting a variety
the Western US indicate an emphasis on large of large game were forced to alter their way of life
game. This is likewise reflected in their tools: well- in the face of a changing climate. In the Southeast,
made projectile points, sometimes bearing a char- the extinction of mammoth, mastodon, and the
acteristic channel flake removed lengthwise from ancient bison, as well as the disappearance from
the base (fluted points); long narrow flake blades the region of modern species such as elk and cari-
struck from bou, left the whitetail deer as the principal large
prepared game animal. Along with deer, the new climate
cores; and allowed forests with the same species we see today
unifacial to flourish; they were dominated by oak, hickory,
scrapers chestnut (now almost gone due to disease), and
manufac- pine. Focusing on deer, black bear, small game, and
tured by the mast (nuts) from the mature forests, Early Archaic
removal of peoples adopted a generalized hunting and gather-
many small ing lifestyle with a greater reliance upon plant
flakes from foods than their Paleoindian ancestors.
the edge of a Although population increased rapidly in the
larger flake, new, temperate environment, Early Archaic peo-
thus forming ples still ranged far and wide, often using major
Using friction, Jones creates an ember with river valleys as territorial corridors for foraging and
a beveled
which to start a fire, demonstrating one of the travel between the Coastal Plain and the interior.
most fundamental of primitive skills. planing tool.
This tech- Following the example set by their Paleoindian
nology is quite similar to that of the Old World ancestors, they sought high-quality material for
Upper Paleolithic, and attests to the origins of the their stone tools. Well-made, easily maintained
earliest inhabitants of the New World. Because tools were a necessity for highly mobile bands of
winters were severe, access to good stone was lim- hunter-gatherers; yet their mobility allowed them
ited, and the animals these people hunted were to choose the best material from within their terri-
often large and dangerous, the stone tools of the tory. The bow was unknown to these people; the
Paleoindians were made from the highest quality primary weapon remained the spear-thrower (or
materials available and were used for as long as pos- atlatl), and the side- and corner-notched stone
sible. To get the most possible use from them, they points they used are not really arrowheads at all.
were often resharpened many times before being They are, in fact, tips for darts thrown with the
discarded. atlatl. Using spear throwers to hunt swift game,
• An Introduction to the Prehistory of The Southeast • Jones • 39

hunters equipped lightweight darts with detach- ceramic pottery, about 3500 BP. The appearance of
able foreshafts that allowed the stone points to ceramic and stone vessels signaled the beginning of
serve double duty as both knife and projectile the end of the 8500 year-old hunting and gathering
point, and also permitted easy replacement of an way of life that had endured since the earliest
accidentally broken tip. humans arrived in North America. The invention
of pottery indicates a more sedentary lifestyle that
Middle Archaic: ca. 8000–5500 BP
included an early form of horticulture for cultivat-
By about 8000 years ago, a minor climatic shift ing squash (Cucurbita pepo) and gourds (Lagenaria
(called the Altithermal) imposed its effect upon siceraria). For in-depth information about fiber-
the increasing human population of the Southeast. tempered ceramics, soapstone bowls, and other
Warmer and dryer conditions west of the Late Archaic cooking technology, see Kenneth E.
Appalachians influenced people to concentrate Sassaman’s Early Pottery in the Southeast: Tradition
into river valleys, while the wetter climate that and Innovation in Cooking Technology (1993).
prevailed to the east resulted in a general migration The transition from hunting and gathering to
into the uplands. Perhaps in response to their sedentism is further evidenced by intensive gather-
growing population as well as climatic change, ing of shellfish for food along many of the rivers in
Middle Archaic peoples increased their reliance the Southeast. This practice left immense piles of
upon plant foods. Their preference for locally discarded shell, which sometimes extend for hun-
available stone from which to make their decep- dreds of meters along creeks and estuarine margins.
tively simple, contracting-stem projectile points Increased sedentism likewise brought about changes
indicates that they foraged in smaller territories in axe technology. The simple chipped stone axes
than their ancestors. Using simple chipped-stone that well-served the needs of earlier peoples were
axes to fell modest-sized trees needed for shelter refined to suit the rigors of house construction and
and tools, they continued to forage in much the limited land clearing. While hafting of Late Archaic
same way as their Early Archaic predecessors. grooved axes was apparently similar to earlier
During the Middle Archaic, stone spear-thrower flaked stone types (a flexible twig or splint wrapped
weights first appear, an innovation that improved around a groove or constriction), greater durability
the weapon’s performance. Although we suspect and maintainability were accomplished by pecking
spear throwers had been used since the end of the and grinding the surface, and polishing the edge.
Paleoindian times (and probably before), perforat-
ed stone weights provide the best hard evidence for Woodland: ca. 3000–1100 BP
the existence of this weapon in the Southeast.
By about 3000 years ago, the horticulture exper-
Late Archaic: ca. 5500–3000 BP iments begun by Late Archaic peoples became a
Although many of the trends of the Early and way of life for people of the Woodland period.
Middle Archaic continued into the Late Archaic, Despite the name, Woodland peoples were perhaps
it differed from them in some significant ways. In less dependent upon the forest environments of the
addition to relatively large stemmed projectile Southeast than their predecessors. Taking the
points, the Late Archaic was characterized by the refinements of stone axe technology a step further,
first fired clay ceramics in North America. Plant the grooved axes of an earlier time gave way to a
fiber added to the raw clay strengthened (tem- polished tapered form called a celt. Instead of fas-
pered) the unfired vessel. The fiber burned during tening a flexible sapling around a groove to form a
the firing process, yielding a sturdy vessel bearing handle, the blade was fitted into a hole in the end
the impressions of plant fibers. Fiber-tempered pot- of a club-like handle. With friction holding the
tery appears around 4500 BP in the Coastal Plain celt blade securely in its haft, the club-like handle
of Georgia and South Carolina. provided additional weight and momentum. This
More commonly found in the southern allowed Woodland farmers to clear yet larger areas
Appalachians and piedmont of northern Georgia of land for villages and fields.
and adjacent states are fragments of soapstone During the early part of the Woodland period,
bowls. Contrary to popular belief, these carved corn (maize) was virtually unknown, with food
stone bowls actually appear after the invention of production based almost entirely on native culti-
40 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

gens—mainly lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium became a practical alternative to long-distance

berlandieri), marsh elder (Iva annua), sunflowers hunting forays, while serving to protect increasing-
(Helianthus annuus), maygrass (Phalaris caroliniana), ly valuable food crops from animals. The venerable
knotweed (Polygonum sp.), as well as squash and spear thrower—an Ice Age legacy of hunters and
gourds. Although Woodland peoples probably gatherers in nearly every part of the world—
retained some of the hunting and gathering mobil- became obsolete in the face of the need for effi-
ity of their ancestors, large-scale production of ciency, stealth, and increased rate of fire. Although
native seed plants provided a margin of security requiring a greater initial labor investment than
against food shortages during the lean months of the spear thrower, the bow—one of the most rec-
late winter and early spring. Starchier than most ognizable symbols of native ingenuity—became
wild plant foods, cultivated foods require longer the weapon of choice for hunting and warfare. And
cooking times. As dependence on these foods sedentism—the practice of living more or less per-
increased, so too did the demands placed upon pot- manently in one place—allowed adequate storage
tery. Heavy fiber-tempered pottery gradually was and seasoning of bowstaves, a cumbersome com-
modity requiring shelter.
As with many technological innovations, the
core idea of string-and-wood propelled projectiles
did not spring suddenly onto the stage of prehisto-
ry; indeed, the bow was merely a technological
refinement of flexible spear-thrower technology.
During the developmental phase of the technology,
simple, light draw-weight bows could be construct-
ed easily from readily available materials and used
for fishing or hunting small game. While a mobile
hunter/gatherer could easily carry additional two-
foot long wooden blanks from which to produce
atlatls, the same wanderer, in seeking to make a
more substantial weapon, could scarcely afford to
travel about the countryside with a five-foot long
nonfunctional bowstave; nor could he leave it
behind to be potentially exposed to the destructive
elements of the humid Eastern US. In other words,
archaeologists think Woodland peoples had to stay
in one place long enough for the bowstave to sea-
son, before they could finish the bow.
As in other parts of the world, the advent of agri-
culture and sedentism, along with necessity, result-
Jones demonstrates the use of a bow and arrow. Jones made this ed in the development of the bow-and-arrow, the
bow using traditional methods. The arrow is made of rivercane. ultimate Neolithic weapon. During the transition
from spear-thrower to bow, a profusion of projectile
replaced by thinner, more refined sand- and grit- point designs were tested as hunters sought lighter,
tempered wares that made a lighter, sturdier vessel. faster projectiles. Dominated by a variety of small
As they struggled with the new challenges of stemmed types and relatively large triangular
sedentism, food production, and territoriality, points, the triangular style ultimately succeeded all
Woodland peoples experimented with ways of others in the Southeast. By the end of the
adapting their weapons to new circumstances. Woodland period, triangular projectile points had
Surplus food afforded the luxury of remaining become much smaller. Although often called "bird
longer in one place, and as villages grew, competi- points" in the mistaken belief that only small game
tion for arable land and other resources was could be taken with such a small projectile point,
inevitable. Also, ambush hunting in food plots these tips are among the few types that may be con-
• An Introduction to the Prehistory of The Southeast • Jones • 41

Archaeological Site Reporting

So you’ve found an archaeological site…maybe just a of artifacts found, and an area to note cultural periods.
few stone flakes, a projectile point, or some broken If this is beyond your available information, you may
pottery. If you’re not familiar with the procedures for wish to consult with an archaeologist or amateur to
site reporting, then you may find yourself contemplat- learn more. There are many knowledgeable persons in
ing many baffling questions: Is the site large enough to the state, many of whom are active in the Society for
be important? What agency or organization do I con- Georgia Archaeology, and would be happy to assist
tact? What procedure is involved in notifying that you in artifact identification.
agency? Will they—whoever they are—want me to Your site will be assigned an official state site number
give up my artifacts? For answers, read on. consisting of three parts. For example, my home is an
To begin, let’s consider site size as a factor in report- archaeological experimental area, and its site files
ing a site. The small site you located in your yard, gar- number is 9OG445. Each state is designated alpha-
den, or vacant lot is of value to archaeologists. Each betically, so all sites in Georgia begin with 9. (This
piece of information is added to a growing database, system was implemented before Alaska and Hawaii
and cumulatively that helps refine our understanding became states, and they are 49 and 50, respectively.)
of the past. Even if you only find a few pieces of pot- The "OG" indicates that the site is in Oglethorpe
tery, that can tell archaeologists something about the county. The last digits are numerical ranking of sites
type of settlement and the people who lived there. within that particular county. Thus, 9OG445 is the
The data from each and every site are important. official number that lets me know I’m dealing with a
How do I report a site, and whom do I contact? The site in the state of Georgia, in Oglethorpe County,
Georgia Archaeological Site Files maintains Georgia’s and the 445th site recorded in that county.
archaeological site records. Site forms for noting per- As for your collection of artifacts, you needn’t fear
tinent information about sites are available from the that any professional archaeologist covets them. So as
GASF, either on-line (http://quat.dac. uga.edu/gasf/) long as your artifacts were obtained legally (i.e., sur-
or by calling 706-542-8737. Simply, ill out the site face collected), you may keep them. By recording the
form as completely as possible and return it to the site from which they were collected, you have provid-
GASF. For the map on a site form, a simple sketch ed a beneficial service to the field of archaeology. If,
map is sufficient. However, if you have access to US however, you wish to contribute further, you may give
Geological Survey 7.5-minute topographic maps, your collection to the GASF for permanent storage.
using them would greatly assist GASF personnel. The This makes the artifacts available to researchers who
site form also contains a section for recording the type may find them informative for future projects.

fidently called arrowheads. Attached to rivercane present in sufficient quantity to qualify as a signifi-
arrows launched from powerful bows by skilled cant food source across the Southeast. Yet by the
archers, the tiny arrow points proved fatal to the time new varieties of maize as well as new ideas
largest creatures of the Eastern Woodlands, arrived from Mexico around AD 900, the cultural
whether deer, bear, or human. mechanisms for large-scale food production initiat-
The Woodland Period also signals the beginning ed in the Woodland period were firmly in place.
of the construction of earthen mounds. Sedentism With nearly 2000 years of horticulture experience,
brought with it the necessity for greater social maize claimed a central place in Southeastern
organization, and also permitted the accumulation Native American culture, alongside beans, squash,
of material goods. From this came the concept of sunflowers, jerusalem artichokes, gourds, and
status, and by Middle Woodland times some indi- tobacco.
viduals were interred in conical earthen mounds, The Mississippian period, so called because of
often with elaborate funerary items and trade goods the extensively cultivated bottomlands of the
acquired from great distances. Mississippi River, represents the most complex
political organization and extensive social stratifi-
Mississippian: ca. AD 900–1540 cation achieved in North America prior to the
Corn—or more correctly, maize—is known only arrival of Christopher Columbus and his ships.
sporadically in the preceding Woodland period, While political structure in much of North
and certainly not until late Woodland times is it Carolina and the mid-Atlantic states continued
42 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

the Woodland tradition of tribe- or clan-based vil- cane or twigs, and covered with clay, roofed with
lages, the Mississippi River drainage and much of thatch or bark; a council house, which occasional-
the Southeast was dominated by an array of polities ly took the form of a semi-subterranean earthlodge;
(or political units) known as chiefdoms. Though and a central plaza, which served as a gathering
much of our knowledge about the geographical size place and game court. In the plaza, the men played
chunkey, a game wherein spears or sticks
are thrown at a rolling, wheel-like stone
(a chunkey stone), often accompanied
by copious gambling. The plaza was also
used as a ball court for the ball game, the
southern equivalent of lacrosse. A rough
(and occasionally fatal) enterprise, the
ball game was known as "little brother
of war," and was used to settle disputes
between hostile groups as a way of
avoiding outright warfare.
The chiefdom was a formidable polit-
ical and military force, and Mississippian
towns, enclosed in their palisades of
sharpened, upright timbers, often con-
tained populations numbering in the
thousands. Equipped with powerful
bows, their arrows tipped with tiny tri-
See this mound at Etowah Mounds State Historic Site near Cartersville. Three
angular stone points, garfish scales,
large mounds on this site date to the Mississippian period. antler, or often just sharpened cane
alone, warriors defended their towns and
of chiefdoms is lost, it is believed that some (such villages. But they were entirely unprepared for that
as Coosa, in northwestern Georgia) were quite which was to come.
large. Each chiefdom consisted of several villages,
each of which was answerable to a central (para- Historic: ca. AD 1540–1840
mount) chief or leader believed to have god-like With the entrance of Hernando De Soto into
powers, who resided on the flat-topped earthen the interior of the Southeast in 1539, the region’s
mound, often with one or two other influential history was forever changed (Hudson 1997). De
leaders living atop lesser mounds in the village com- Soto’s initial exploration was followed by more
pound. The head man exacted agricultural tribute expeditions, first by other Spaniards (Hudson
from his subjects, and, during lean times he over- 1990), and then by the English and French (Hudson
saw the redistribution of food and other goods to and Tesser 1994). Iron tools and other trade goods,
his subjects. In return, the people were required to diseases to which the natives were not immune,
provide labor to the chief. They constructed his and the inherent disadvantages faced by Indians
house upon the spot where his predecessors had who survived European diseases and depredations
lived; upon his death, his subjects often buried him all contributed to the devastation of Indian culture.
beneath the dirt floor of his mound-summit resi- Some groups, like the Muskogee-speaking Creeks
dence. Then, in accordance with custom, the house further south, maintained considerable cultural
was often burned. In preparation for the new heir, identity, although still dependent upon European
a new mantle of earth was added to the mound, trade goods. The Cherokees of northern Georgia,
and a new house constructed. Thus were the great however, attempted a different strategy. By the late
mounds of the Mississippian Indians constructed. 1700s their material culture differed little from that
In addition to the chiefly mounds, the village of their Euroamerican neighbors. Even with log
compound often included residential houses with houses, farms, orchards, slaves, porcelain, and a
walls constructed of upright posts interwoven with written language, they suffered much the same fate
• An Introduction to the Prehistory of The Southeast • Jones • 43

as their native kinsmen. Throughout the 1830’s is reflected in the large amount of archaeological
they were removed to the Oklahoma Territory by work conducted in compliance with historic
decree of US President Andrew Jackson, and their preservation laws. For once, Indians and archaeol-
homes and land were seized by white settlers. The ogists are working for similar ends, albeit for differ-
rest is literally "history." ent reasons. Native American groups are increas-
ingly aware that their goal of site protection is
Concluding Remarks attainable by cooperative work with archaeologists.
Despite great efforts to extirpate Native As archaeology seeks to preserve sites, the way
Americans from the Southeast, Indian culture is in which sites are investigated and interpreted has
nonetheless alive and well. Just as the foregoing changed accordingly. Instead of digging high-status
chronological descriptions depict this culture as burials for ornate funerary objects, research now
dynamic and ever-changing, Southeastern Indians emphasizes goals that are achievable through
today still retain distinct elements of their respec- broad, often non-invasive techniques such as sur-
tive cultures. Regardless of what many Americans veys of timber clearcuts to study prehistoric settle-
(and archaeologists) think of casinos and the all- ment patterns. Specific sites are sometimes exca-
encompassing pan-Indian movement that identi- vated with painstaking thoroughness. These are
fies all Native Americans with tipis, feather head- often sites that will be impacted by development or
dresses, and New Age spirituality, the threads of construction, portions of which must be dug com-
modern Indian life will ultimately be woven into pletely. By recovering subtle information from fea-
this cultural tale. Strangely, it is this renewed iden- tures, hearths, and the physical distribution of arti-
tity that places archaeologists and Native Ameri- facts within a site, much can be learned. Fragile
cans in an unlikely alliance. remains of pollen, charcoal, botanical and faunal
The relationship between archaeologists and remains reveal much about everyday life in the
Indians has traditionally been adversarial. In the past. From the few sites so scrutinized, better-
past, the principal concern for
archaeologists was to recover
information in the form of arti-
facts. These artifacts were
obtained by digging, and excava-
tions often focused on burials. In
an effort to retain some cultural
privacy, Native Americans were
(and are) opposed to digging buri-
als as a matter of principle. In
recent decades, changes in the
goals of archaeological research
and a greater sensitivity to other
cultures has resulted in a decrease
in the focus on burials. Difficulties
imposed by legislation also worked
to make archaeologists reluctant
to disturb burials. These factors
alone, however, did not provide
sufficient impetus to mend the rift
between the two groups.
Faced with rampant develop-
ment and site destruction on a
massive scale, in recent years
archaeological interest has begun De Soto was the first European to travel through the Interior Southeast. Archaeological
to focus on site preservation. This and historical data have been used together to reconstruct his route.
44 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

informed inferences about other sites (whether for examination by researchers engaged in legiti-
recorded through survey or reported by amateurs) mate pursuits. As for the latter of the two above
are possible. statements, archaeologists and Native Americans
Looting is also a serious problem that faces generally agree: artifacts do not exist solely for aes-
archaeologists and Native Americans. While an thetic appreciation by modern peoples. Apart from
uneasy truce unites these two groups, looting of controlled storage in a federally approved facility,
archaeological sites for art objects continues the only better environment for artifacts is, of
unabated. Two different, though equally specious, course, in the ground.
arguments are sometimes proffered as a feeble In closing, it should be said that the information
defense for looting. The first asks: why should contained in the chronology section is the result of
beautiful artifacts that are excavated by archaeolo- much tedious work by innumerable researchers
gists be stored away where no one can see them? over many years. Our knowledge about dates, tools,
The second states: technology, population, environments, and paleob-
artifacts that are in otany stems from the careful excavation of subtle
the earth are clues to the past. Looting destroys this information
unavailable and in an attempt to recover material art objects. As
therefore cannot be looting and development threaten increasing num-
properly “appreciat- bers of sites, preservation of intact sites remains a
ed.” priority for everyone, professional and amateur. So,
Both of these too, does the reporting and recording of sites. All
views treat artifacts persons who are interested in archaeology can con-
as art objects, with tribute positively to the present state of knowledge
an implied value about the past.
beyond the histori-
cal information References Cited
they provide. Most Bense, Judith A.
sites excavated by 1994 Archaeology of the Southeastern United States:
archaeologists pro- Paleoindian to World War I. Academic Press, San
duce few artifacts to Diego.
Hudson, Charles
which great value 1976 Southeastern Indians. University of Tennessee
could be attached; Press, Knoxville.
the majority of arti- 1990 The Juan Pardo Expeditions: Exploration of the
facts are stone Carolinas and Tennessee, 1566–1568. Smithsonian
flakes, fragmentary Institution Press, Washington, DC.
tools, or small pot- 1997 Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando de
Soto and the South’s Ancient Chiefdoms. University of
tery sherds. While
Jones is working to dehair a whitetail deer these provide the Georgia Press, Athens.
hide stretched taut on a wooden frame. In Hudson, Charles, and Carmen Chaves Tesser (editors)
necessary data for 1994 The Forgotten Centuries: Indians and Europeans in
the 1700s, Indian hunters traded thou-
sound archaeologi- the American South, 1521–1704. University of
sands of deer hides annually to white
cal interpretation, Georgia Press, Athens.
traders living near Georgia’s coast.
they are in no other Sassaman, Kenneth E.
1993 Early Pottery in the Southeast: Tradition and
way valuable. Stored in a climate-controlled,
Innovation in Cooking Technology. University of
secure environment, these artifacts are available Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.
• 45

Archaeological Resource Protection in Georgia

Federal, State, and Local Legislation and Programs

by Jennifer Freer Harris

Georgia’s archaeological resources reveal the al resource preservation issues garnered the atten-
incredible story of more than 12,000 years of tion of the wider archaeological community, and of
human drama. They form a legacy that should be the general public. With the Airlie House confer-
known and appreciated by Georgia’s present and ence in 1974, and subsequent Airlie House Report in
future generations. If we do not strive to protect 1977 (McGimsey and Davis), a comprehensive
those resources, the rapid and accelerating rate of proposal for future directions in conservation
development will destroy them. Once archaeologi- archaeology, the discipline embraced archaeologi-
cal resources are lost, they can never be renewed. cal resource management with renewed vigor.
The loss is permanent. Since then, archaeologists have made great strides
Beginning in the early twentieth century, law- in getting legislative mandates passed, and in pub-
makers enacted legislation to provide some meas- lic outreach and education. Archaeologists, and
ure of protection for archaeological resources on those concerned about archaeological preserva-
federal lands. Also, projects requiring federal tion, must continue to build on that foundation
licensing or permits (e.g., a new power plant or and improve outreach and conservation law.
expansion of the electrical grid) or federal monies Before beginning a discussion of regional
(e.g., matching funds for community development resource protection, I define my use of archaeologi-
projects) must comply with laws protecting archae- cal resources. They are not simply artifacts in the
ological resources. While many archaeological sites ground. Instead, the definition encompasses arti-
are discovered and avoided through enforcement facts, the context in which they are found, the site
of federal laws, those sites are only a small percent- or non-site area (sometimes referred to as land-
age of the sites in this state. scape), as well as the reports and analyses accom-
Georgia’s legislators have passed similar laws, but panying any legitimate investigation. The term
protections are not as extensive. Lands managed by also extends to wide-ranging sociocultural insights
the state’s Department of Natural Resources, for that are the goal of the efforts of archaeologists.
instance, are examined for archaeological sites These interpretations are archaeologists’ most sig-
much as are federal lands. It is encouraging, follow- nificant contributions to the public, to the aca-
ing a recently strengthened Office of the State demic world, and to the general body of knowl-
Archaeologist, to see a trend toward wider aware- edge.
ness and protection of Georgia’s archaeological Today, all Americans benefit from legislation
resources at the state level. and policy that originated with efforts of historic
Cultural resource protection in the United preservationists and lawmakers a generation ago.
States began with the Antiquities Act of 1906. As In this article, I review the legislative foundation
part of the historic preservation and environmen- for preservation programs in Georgia, and briefly
tal movements of the late 1960s and 1970s, cultur- describe key agencies and programs that deal with
46 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

archaeological preservation and public education A Brief History of Federal Legislation

in this state. The development of the notion of cultural
resource management (CRM), or compliance
archaeology, has been a long time in the making.
What is an Archaeological Site?
There has been some awareness of archaeological
Throughout this issue of Early Georgia we’ve used and historic preservation nationally since the early
the phrase “archaeological site.” An archaeological
1800s when the focus was limited to historic docu-
site is a place where human activities occurred in
mentation and collecting items connected with
the past. Traditionally, archaeological sites are the
unit of management, analysis, and record-keeping public figures and historic military events (Carnett
used in cultural resource management; they are one 1991). From this budding awareness grew an
type of archaeological resource. increasingly sophisticated framework for the long-
“Archaeological site” has no specific legal defi- term stewardship of our heritage.
nition, but Georgia’s Office of the State Archaeolo- The first substantial Supreme Court case involv-
gist defines a site as the location of a significant ing cultural resources came in 1896 with US vs.
event, occupation, or activity, or a building or Gettysburg Electric Railway Company. This deci-
structure, whether standing, ruined, or vanished, sion recognized the power of the federal govern-
where the location itself possesses historic, cultural,
ment to condemn private property in order to pre-
or archaeological value.
serve an historic site. It did not address whether
Thus, an archaeological site has a defined bound-
ary and exists in a spatially-delimited area. Within the government could use regulations to facilitate
that boundary many human activities may have historic preservation, or whether the government
occurred, or only a few. Those activities may have could acquire sites with no apparent historic con-
happened over a very long time, or a very short nections; that would come much later. Within a
time. Some archaeological sites are under water! few years, many communities adopted zoning poli-
Most frequently, archaeological sites are discov- cies that would “preserve the character” of their
ered and their limits are defined based on the towns. It is also during this period that the first sub-
extent of artifact scatters. The artifacts may be seen stantive legislation for archaeological resource pro-
on the ground surface (in a plowed field, for
tection was enacted.
instance) or discovered through systematic subsur-
The Antiquities Act of 1906 created a permit
face shovel testing. Archaeological sites may
include structural remains, like a chimney base or system for investigation of archaeological sites on
foundation. They may also include features, or the federal or tribal lands. It gave the President the
remains of specific activities. Features include trash power to establish national monuments for the pur-
pits, wells, privies, burials, cellars, and even post pose of protecting landmarks, structures or other
holes. Features may contain many artifacts, or none objects. It also specified protection of antiquities
at all. Sometimes they are impossible to remove to on all land owned or controlled by the federal gov-
the laboratory, and the best evidence of them that ernment, and gave authority for their management
can be preserved are recorded in photographs, to the Department that has jurisdiction over those
videotapes, sketches, and field notes.
lands. There were no provisions for felony or crim-
Archaeologists sometimes describe archaeologi-
inal misdemeanor charges or penalties. In general,
cal sites as “multicomponent.” This means the site
was used during more than one archaeological peri- this was a move toward control over resources,
od. A Mississippian village that has a nineteenth instead of just acquiring them as “holdings.”
century house atop it is a multicomponent site. The Organic Act of 1916 created the National
Recently, the term “archaeological resource” has Park Service under the jurisdiction of the Depart-
been expanded to include traditional cultural prop- ment of the Interior. Its purpose was to conserve
erties (TCPs). TCPs are legally defined as places natural and historic objects, as well as wildlife, in
that have a pronounced special value to a racial, National Parks and Monuments. This was a step
ethnic, or cultural group that exists today. The forward because it provided the staff and the means
Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places
to act as preservationists.
has determined that Ocmulgee Old Fields TCP,
The Historic Sites Act of 1935 declared a feder-
near Macon, is an eligible resource, making it
Georgia’s only designated resource of this kind. al policy to preserve historic and prehistoric prop-
erties of national significance, and made the
• Archaeological Resource Protection in Georgia • Harris • 47

National Park Service the lead agency for protec-

tion. The Secretary of Interior was given authority Your Tax Dollars Pay For CRM Projects
to conduct surveys and inventories of cultural Federal laws enacted in the 1960s and 70s estab-
resources nationally. The Historic Sites Act estab- lished a new kind of archaeology, called public
lished the National Historic Landmarks Program, archaeology or cultural resource management. Rec-
which set standards for identification and preserva- ognizing the importance of protecting their ancient
past, states followed suit, enacting similar legisla-
tion of landmarks. It had no section on enforcement.
tion that applied at the state level. CRM projects
The National Historic Preservation Act (1966, are those mandated by law. Both public and private
amended 1980 and 1992), or NHPA, established as monies support CRM projects. Large, notable
federal policy protection of historic sites, which CRM projects in Georgia include those that pre-
can include prehistoric resources. NHPA author- ceded construction of all recent reservoir basins,
ized the National Register of Historic Places, creat- and extensive excavations in Brasstown Valley,
ed the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, described in Early Georgia (vol. 28, no. 2).
and developed procedures for approved state and Most of the archaeology conducted today in the
local agencies. NHPA also allowed 50-50 matching US and in Georgia are CRM projects.
grants involving federal monies. NHPA required CRM addresses a variety of archaeological site
types in the widest possible array of settings because
State Historic Preservation Offices to prepare and
of legal mandates and agency requirements for
implement historic preservation plans. Section 106 inventory, assessment, and data recovery or preser-
of the NHPA requires federal agencies to consider vation of significant resources regardless of their
impacts to historic properties (cultural resources types or locations. Paradoxically, while routine,
eligible for listing in the National Register of His- unimaginative field and analytical methods and
toric Places) and ways to minimize those impacts as boiler-plate reports characterize large parts of the
part of overall project planning. The amendment field, the CRM environment also can reward and
in 1980 codified portions of Executive Order encourage innovation…. (Green and Doershuk
11593 (see below) and required federal agencies to 1998:130)
develop programs to inventory and evaluate his- We all benefit from the considerable cross-fertiliza-
tion between CRM archaeologists and those work-
toric resources. It also allowed those agencies to
ing in the academic setting. Thus, in formation gen-
charge reasonable fees to licensees and permittees. erated by your tax dollars is far-reaching; indeed.
Executive Order 11593, signed into law by Pre- The direct products of CRM archaeology, beyond
sident Richard M. Nixon in 1971, required federal documents that assist in agency compliance and plan-
agencies to inventory the cultural resources under ning, range from significant advances in knowledge,
their authority. It called for federal agencies and to useful regional and local information, to detec-
Secretary of the Interior to work together with tion of resource presence or absence, to useless low-
state agencies to develop plans for survey, evalua- quality work. (Green and Doershuk 1998:143)
tion, and preservation of significant sites. CRM
archaeology developed rapidly in the 1970s as plan for research, fieldwork, laboratory analysis, and
EO11593 and the Moss-Bennett Act (Archaeo- report-writing; it specifies the questions the
logical and Historic Preservation Act of 1974) researcher seeks to answer by excavating a site,
brought archaeology into the mainstream of because excavations are by nature destructive, and
NHPA compliance. can never be done a second time. Another purpose
The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of of ARPA was to increase communication and
1979 (ARPA) established the first significant crim- exchange of information among government enti-
inal penalties for vandalism, alteration, or destruc- ties, professional archaeologists, and the public.
tion of sites on federal or tribal lands, or for sale, pur- Over the last century, lawmakers and archaeolo-
chase, or transport of any archaeological resource gists have made tremendous progress toward pro-
(including artifacts). ARPA made it illegal to exca- tecting our nation’s archaeological resources. US
vate without a permit, or written permission, from law moved from passive protection of specific his-
the agency that controlled the land. Also, ARPA toric objects to planned preservation and invento-
required archaeologists to submit a research design ry of complete archaeological sites, including their
prior to beginning fieldwork. A research design is a entire cultural and environmental context. A
48 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

trend toward more effective communication, not

HPD’s Principal Duties only among agencies but also between profession-
Carrying out the mandates of the National His- als and the public, has been an important part of
toric Preservation Act, with some administrative the evolution of national policy toward archaeo-
and financial support from the Department of the logical resource protection. There also has been an
Interior, Georgia’s Historic Preservation Division important shift toward uniform standards for
helps to preserve the historical, architectural, and
inventory, identification, and evaluation of
archaeological resources of Georgia by:
resources, as well as stronger enforcement of and
Identification and Evaluation of Cultural Properties penalties for breaking preservation laws on the
• Identification of properties through field sur-
vey or reports from communities and individuals;
• Evaluation includes nominating eligible prop-
erties to the National Register of Historic Places. State Laws Protecting
Armed with that information, HPD encourages Archaeological Resources
development projects that preserve or rehabilitate The history of cultural resource protection and
significant cultural properties. archaeology in Georgia is an interesting one,
Implementation of Tax Incentive Programs involving many federal and state agencies. In the
• Including the 1980 Tax Treatment Extension 1940s and 1950s, the Smithsonian Institution
and 1986 Tax Reform Act; oversaw the National Park Service’s River Basin
• Provides evaluations, application assistance,
Survey. During this period, archaeologists investi-
and recommendations to individuals or organiza-
gated Clarks Hill, Allatoona, and Lanier reservoir
tions who employ preservation practices;
• Provides some matching funds for survey and basins. Many early surveys and excavations, espe-
planning projects with the Department of the Inte- cially in the 1950s to 1970s, were conducted
rior, and maintains data about other sources of through the Highway Salvage Archaeology pro-
funding for preservation projects. gram. The old State Highway Department, and
HPD is a vital resource for planners and devel- what is now the Federal Highway Administration,
opers who want to take advantage of the financial funded most of that early work.
incentives involved in sound cultural resource Recently, Georgia’s legislators enacted several
management. laws aimed at protection of archaeological
Guidance, Review, and Planning Assistance for
resources, most of which parallel federal regula-
State, Federal, and Community Projects
tions. These include:
• Assists project directors and planners to com-
ply with federal and state requirements; • the protection of certain cemeteries and bur-
• Guides and informs communities about zon- ial grounds;
ing, legislation and preservation procedures; • a review and notification process in cases
• Aids Regional Development Centers through where prehistoric or historic burials are encoun-
funding for Regional Preservation Planners. tered, either by professionals or private individuals;
HPD’s responsibility involves knowledge of, and • the mandate to identify and evaluate natural
assistance in, compliance with federal and state and archaeological resources that may be impacted
preservation laws. by state projects;
Technical Assistance and Information • authorization of state agencies to manage any
• Through professional architects and other historic properties under their ownership;
preservation experts, HPD offers qualified assis- • the Georgia Historic Preservation Act, pro-
tance to preservation programs across Georgia;
moting the protection of the state’s heritage and
• Acts as a clearinghouse for historic preserva-
tion information;
guiding local communities in developing their own
• Partially funds the state’s archaeological site local preservation policies.
database; The above is only a partial list. Bills that affect
• Handles queries from the general public; Georgia’s archaeological resources continue to be
• Offers general information via their web page. introduced into the legislature. Some bills seek to
HPD acts as a central resource for preservation clarify existing laws, and others introduce substan-
planning in Georgia. tive changes or new topics.
• Archaeological Resource Protection in Georgia • Harris • 49

Local Legal Protections Some agencies and organizations involved in archaeo-

logical resource management, public education,
Local communities may augment, or enhance,
research, and archaeological preservation activities in
legal protections established at the state and feder- Georgia, and the geographic extent of their efforts.
al level. Cobb county has long been in the fore-
front of local involvement in CRM. In 1968, the organization geographic locales
county initiated an archaeological survey, in
response to rapid growth and development, that CRM firms across the state
continued until 1993 (Wallsmith 1998). This is
National Park on park lands
perhaps the first locally-sponsored survey in the
region, and the materials and data collected will
remain an invaluable resource for years to come. Georgia Department along generally narrow corri-
In 1984, Cobb county established the first local of Transportation dors across the state
ordinance of its kind in Georgia, creating the Cobb
County Historic Preservation Commission. Mem- US Forest Service on National Forest lands
bers of the preservation commission recommend
specific buildings, districts, sites, structures, or University System of across the state, but general-
works of art to receive historical designation. They Georgia ly near the school
make recommendations to the Board of Commis-
regional museums generally on or near the
sioners for sites to be placed on the Cobb County
Register of Historic Places and to the State Historic
Preservation Officer (SHPO), for nomination to DNR’s Historic across the state
the National Register. Other communities in Preservation Division
Georgia can, and do, work with the SHPO office to
create policies tailored to their own areas, preserv- US Army Corps of along waterways, including
ing a piece of their local heritage. Engineers (entire reservoirs, across the state,
Southeast) and on military bases
Federal Programs and Agencies
Nonprofit organiza- specific locales
All federal agencies operating in Georgia must
observe laws protecting archaeological resources.
Those with large landholdings, such as the Depart-
lic education initiative that focuses on the long-
ment of the Interior (National Park Service), US
term protection, appreciation, and use of the
Department of Agriculture (Fish and Wildlife Ser-
archeological resources in national parks.
vice and US Forest Service), and Department of
Defense have the greatest obligations. The follow- National Register Programs (NRP)
ing sections describe the contributions some of This office of the National Park Service oversees
these agencies make to the management of archae- and reviews aspects of state-level historic preserva-
ological resources in Georgia. tion programs mandated by the NHPA. In addi-
Southeast Archeological Center tion, it provides support, grant reviews, and tech-
nical assistance to State Historic Preservation
Since 1966 the Southeast Archaeological
Offices and other agencies.
Center (SEAC) in Tallahassee, Florida, has helped
national parks meet the requirements of federal The US Forest Service
law, regulation, and policy regarding archaeologi- The Forest Service oversees the archaeological
cal resources. SEAC does this through professional resources on its lands through survey, inventory,
support, technical assistance and partnership proj- and planning. Additionally, it offers education and
ects. Specifically, SEAC conducts archeological outreach programs to heighten awareness of our
research, manages collections, and provides data- archaeological heritage among the general public.
base management for the Southeast Regional With only two archaeologists currently on staff in
Office of the National Park Service. In addition, Georgia, the Forest Service contracts with CRM
SEAC oversees a wide-ranging outreach and pub- firms for large-scale survey and excavation projects.
50 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

The US Army Corps of Engineers logical specialists within HPD. The ASU promotes
With regional offices in Savannah and Mobile, the identification, documentation, and protection
Alabama, the Army Corps of Engineers is responsi- of archaeological sites in Georgia, especially those
ble for survey, inventory, and protection of archae- on state-owned lands. HPD provides crucial
ological sites on lands impacted by Corps projects expertise and guidance in the protection of all
and along lakes and rivers under their manage- archaeological resources, historic and prehistoric,
ment. Generally, landowners requesting a permit in Georgia. The State Archaeologist and his staff
from the Corps are responsible for insuring compli- also evaluate whether each CRM report and the
ance with all provisions of the NHPA, usually by recommendations it contains satisfy federal regula-
obtaining the services of a CRM firm. tions as to the significance of archaeological
Military Bases and Properties
Military bases constitute a significant percentage Georgia Archaeological Site File
of lands in Georgia managed by federal agencies. The Georgia Archaeological Site File (GASF),
Like other federal properties, military lands are established in 1976, is the central database for site
managed in compliance with federal preservation information in Georgia. Located at the University
laws. Some of Georgia’s military bases have archae- of Georgia, this repository contains detailed data
ologists on staff, but most large-scale projects are about known archaeological resources across the
contracted to CRM firms. state, including site forms, reports, manuscripts,
and some artifact collections. Through the GASF,
Georgia’s Archaeological Programs qualified researchers can find information concern-
The vast holdings of state and federal lands in ing a site’s location, when it was occupied, and
Georgia mean many agencies manage cultural what types of artifacts and features have been
resources. In addition, Georgia is rich in museums found there, and what previous research has been
and other organizations involved with archaeolog- conducted on it. The growing GASF database now
ical resources. Together (see table), they cover a has information on over 35,000 prehistoric and
variety of activities (education, research, and historic sites in Georgia (Williams 2000, personal
administration) and carry out legislative mandates communication 2001).
at many levels (local, state, federal). They involve Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT)
professional archaeologists and historic preserva- Georgia’s extensive highway construction pro-
tionists, as well as knowledgeable and informed gram, funded with state and federal dollars, results
volunteers. By far the greatest number of staff hours in a continuous series of archaeology projects.
allocated to archaeology in Georgia are in compli- Within the DOT’s Division of Preconstruction is
ance or CRM archaeology. The following discus- the Office of Environment and Location. This
sion will give you a brief description of each type of office, based in Atlanta, maintains a permanent
archaeological program in Georgia. staff of seven archaeologists who are responsible for
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the investigation and assessment of archaeological
Historic Preservation Division (HPD) resources in advance of DOT construction. The
Within state government, the Historic DOT has, on average, 2000 programmed projects
Preservation Division is the nerve center for pro- located statewide, including maintenance projects,
tection of and information about archaeological intersection improvements, bridge replacements,
and historic resources. By law, each state must have and major highway reconstruction. About 60% of
an State Historic Preservation Officer to oversee all DOT programmed projects are investigated and
implementation of federal mandates regarding his- assessed by staff archaeologists. These investiga-
toric resources. Georgia’s HPD also includes the tions mirror similar work conducted by CRM firms
Office of the State Archaeologist. The State in scope, standards, and compliance in regards to
Archaeologist, and his staff in the Archaeological the evaluation of prehistoric and historic archaeo-
Services Unit (ASU), carry out the mandates of logical resources. The remaining 40% of DOT
the Georgia Antiquities Act and are the archaeo- projects are completed by CRM firms. These con-
tracted projects, usually large in scale or mitigative
• Archaeological Resource Protection in Georgia • Harris • 51

in nature, are managed by GDOT staff archaeolo- planning, protection, and research though various
gists who provide logistical and information sup- outreach activities. It also supports the identifica-
port, and CRM firm oversight to ensure DOT’s tion and investigation of archaeological sites
compliance with state and federal regulations. throughout Georgia.
One of SGA’s most important recent undertak-
The Council on American Indian Concerns
ing was to spearhead establishment of Georgia
The Council, created in 1992, works to protect Archaeology Awareness Week, which has been
Indian graves and burial objects from both inad- proclaimed by the Governor each year since 1994.
vertent and deliberate desecration. It is authorized In 2001, this was expanded to Georgia
by the Georgia legislature, which also created the Archaeology Month. To promote archaeological
laws on the books that strengthen the protection of awareness, SGA sponsors and organizes various
Native American burial sites. The Council focuses activities around the state and annually produces a
on two goals: protecting Indian burial sites and widely distributed poster and teacher packet with
facilitating the repatriation (return) of Indian prepared lesson plans. To accomplish its goals,
remains and burial objects not subject to federal SGA extends its capabilities by partnering with
law, from museums and other institutions. The federal and state agencies, as well as CRM firms
Council is composed of nine Governor appointees and non-profit organizations. SGA has no perma-
(four are Indians native to Georgia, three are sci- nent staff, and is operated by volunteers. (For
entists with expertise in Native American culture, details on SGA, see Elliott, this issue.)
and two are members of the public at large).
Georgia Council of
Cultural Resource Management Firms
Professional Archaeologists
Several private firms conduct archaeological and
The Georgia Council of Professional Archaeolo-
historic preservation projects across the South-
gists (GCPA) was created in 1988 to further cer-
eastern United States and work extensively in
Georgia. CRM firms employ about two-
thirds of the working archaeologists resid-
ing in the state. Each CRM project must
meet all state and federal criteria for the
evaluation of prehistoric and historic cul-
tural resources, as well as conduct labora-
tory analyses, curation, and reporting con-
sistent with the law and established pro-
fessional practices.
Public agencies and private organiza-
tions may be required to investigate and
assess cultural resources in order to comply
with federal and state laws. The reports
from these compliance projects, conduct-
ed by CRM firms, are reviewed by the
SHPO. Ultimately, approved reports are
filed at the GASF in Athens, and any arti-
facts collected and field notes generated SGA members examine Cooper’s Furnace, located below Allatoona Dam
during the project are curated in an appro- next to the Etowah River, during an annual spring outing.
priate facility. Curation preserves them for
future researchers to interpret to the public.
tain goals of the state’s professional community.
Society for Georgia Archaeology The GCPA’s primary mission is to facilitate com-
munication and exchange of information among
SGA is a member-based organization that works archaeologists working or studying in Georgia. It
to raise public awareness of archaeological resource also serves as an advisory council to other organi-
52 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

zations, in and out of the discipline, and works to

Who Owns Archaeological Resources? heighten professional standards in archaeology.
To answer that philosophical query, we pose the The GCPA also acts as a powerful advocate for
following questions as food for thought and to spur archaeology in promoting and preserving cultural
discussion. Some of the answers may surprise you. resources throughout the state.
As one archaeologist points out, some of the best
stewards of archaeological resources are concerned Academic Programs
property owners. In fact, there are times when a
publicly held site is among the least cared for. This Academic programs in archaeology, like those at
is not meant as a legal discussion, but as an exercise the University of Georgia, Georgia State Univer-
in the ethical questions archaeological preserva- sity, Valdosta State University, Georgia Southern
tionists face every day. For an insightful discussion, University, and the State University of West
see Charles McGimsey’s Public Archaeology (1972). Georgia are vital centers for training professional
You are a private landowner and come across archaeologists. The faculty in these departments
some artifacts on your property. Are they yours to instruct undergraduate and graduate students in
collect and keep? Can you dig for more? Must you
archaeological theory and method, while their
have a college degree to practice archaeology?
departments offer broad anthropological training.
If a private organization funds an archaeological
project, are the results and material remains theirs CRM firms employ many technicians with under-
to use as they wish? Must they hire a professional graduate degrees to work in laboratories and do
archaeologist to conduct the fieldwork? fieldwork, as well as individuals who generally have
You are an archaeologist busy with teaching and graduate degrees to supervise crews, write reports,
research. If you encounter a collector, should you and oversee projects.
cooperate with that individual? Or should you Universities also provide Georgia’s archaeolo-
strongly discourage all collecting, stating the ille- gists with support services such as extensive library
gality, and threaten to turn the person in? Are you collections, laboratories and comparative collec-
meeting your responsibility by noting his or her
tions, curation facilities and technical assistance.
collection and initiating a discussion about the
For instance, holdings of the Georgiana Collection
importance of reporting a site and taking diligent
field notes? of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
Please consider the following as you contemplate housed in the Main Library on the University of
the above questions: Georgia campus, are extensive, and an invaluable
• The overarching goal is to maintain the association resource for historical researchers.
of the artifacts with the context in which they were
found. That relationship is the information that Other Educational Endeavors
makes up archaeological knowledge. It is the Museums, parks, historic sites, and private facil-
responsibility of each individual involved in
ities all raise awareness of archaeological and his-
archaeology to guarantee that data are recorded
and communicated. torical resources in Georgia. Through interpretive
• No one can claim exclusive ownership, profes- exhibits, informal classes, and hands-on activities
sional or amateur, to any cultural material, data or for children and adults, these facilities can trans-
information. The past belongs to all of us, and no late formal research results into the public vernac-
individual has the right to endanger, destroy or ular. While some do employ professional curators
control any form of the public’s heritage, be it and house substantial collections of both prehis-
material remains or the results of research. toric and historic materials, these institutions gen-
• Archaeology is a discipline well-suited for amateur erally conduct archaeological fieldwork only infre-
and volunteer contributions. The general public is an quently, and their staff rarely includes professional
invaluable resource for information about site loca-
tions and artifacts, as well as for insightful, out-of-
our-academic-box interpretations of human behav-
ior. Often, a volunteer who has spent years
Nonprofit Organizations
involved in a particular region does, in fact, con- Although not an exhaustive list, the four non-
tribute more to understanding the prehistory of profit organizations discussed below focus on vari-
that area than a full-time professional in the field. ous aspects of archaeology including research, con-
servation, and public education. The Archaeologi-
• Archaeological Resource Protection in Georgia • Harris • 53

cal Conservancy is a national, nonprofit organiza-

tion, created in 1980, that purchases and preserves Protecting Sites on Private Land
significant archaeological sites across the US. It The National Park Service (2000), recognizing
has acquired more than 200 endangered sites, pre- the power and importance of private individuals in
historic and historic, thereby ensuring that future cultural resource management, has compiled the
generations will enjoy and benefit from our cultur- following tips and strategies for protecting archaeo-
logical sites on private land:
al heritage. Funded by private citizens and corpora-
• Protection in place is the first option to con-
tions, it is on the front line of the conservation battle. sider.
The LAMAR Institute and Coosawattee Foun- • The strongest and surest way to protect an
dation (CFI) both emphasize archaeological archaeological site is through outright ownership.
research and education. LAMAR Institute projects • Establish priorities for site protection.
have been conducted around the state, on both Responsible site protection can be best achieved
prehistoric and historic subjects and sites. CFI proj- through a long-term management plan.
ects focus on the Calhoun area along the Coosa- • Research the funding options. A variety of
wattee River. Both the LAMAR Institute and CFI methods and sources of funding exist for site pro-
conduct extensive archaeological outreach pro- tection.
• Develop and strengthen partnerships and net-
grams for a diverse public.
The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation pro- • Share information about archaeological sites
motes the protection of Georgia’s historic heritage, with partners and decision-makers.
focusing on standing structures throughout the state. • Know the roles and authorities of different
levels of government, including relevant laws and
Artifact Collectors regulations.
Some Georgians collect artifacts. Those who • Know and educate members of your state leg-
only pick up material on the surface and keep track islature and local officials.
• Make archaeology a part of your community’s
of where they find things, preserve important
zoning process.
archaeological information—context. These col-
• Serve as an archaeological site steward. Help
lectors can be very helpful to archaeologists inter- monitor and record sites in your community.
ested in reconstructing the past. Indeed, the data- • Support land trust activities by becoming a
base of known Paleoindian and Early Archaic pro- member. Volunteer to help on projects.
jectile points established by the SGA drew heavily Source: Strategies for Protecting Archaeological Sites
on collections held by private individuals on Private Lands (National Park Service 2001),
(Ledbetter et al. 1996). Unsystematic digging for http://www2.cr.nps.gov/pad/strategies/
artifacts divorces them from their context and
destroys important information. Those who dig up • creation of the Georgia Council of Profes-
Indian burials and sell the artifacts on the black sional Archaeologists;
market not only destroy information and desecrate • transfer of all information from the original
sacred areas, but they also break the law. paper site forms at the Georgia Archaeological Site
File into a readily accessible computer database;
A Look Back: Recent Successes • publication of an introspective pamphlet enti-
Archaeological preservationists are often dis- tled The State of Archaeology in Georgia by GCPA
couraged by the current threats to the our collec- (Crook 1992);
tive buried resources, but there has also been sub- • Office of the State Archaeologist moved to
stantial progress in archaeological resource preser- Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia
vation and public education in Georgia. Some suc- DNR, with increased staff and funding;
cesses since the 1970s include: • increased membership base of the Society for
• appointment of the Georgia Archaeological Georgia Archaeology;
Research Design Task Force; • discussions of a state-wide archaeological
• an outline for a series of 36 Archaeological stewardship program; and,
Research Design Papers, approximately two-thirds of • passage of the Georgia Environmental
which had been published by the end of 2000; Protection Act into law.
54 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

By any measure, these are significant improve- evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of our cur-
ments and offer encouragement for future endeav- rent programs and laws and consider new or addi-
ors. Still, complacency is a hazard and those con- tional objectives that will help us better manage
cerned with the future of our archaeological our archaeological resources. We must join forces
resources must create new ways to work together to instill a sense of communal ownership of, and
for future success. responsibility for, our past. It will necessitate new
relationships between each partner in preservation
Working Together to Preserve Our Past and new alliances among the programs and institu-
The archaeological record is an important tions just discussed. It will mean discovering and
resource for all Georgians. Our precious archaeo- implementing fresh approaches to reaching these
logical resources, once lost, can never be replaced. goals.
Together, archaeologists, legislators, activists, and
people from all walks of life have worked to build References Cited
the legal armor to preserve our heritage. They have Carnett, Carol
made great strides in the past decades; current laws 1991 Legal Background of Archeological Resources Protec-
emphasize long-term survey and inventory so that tion. US Department of the Interior, National Park
Service, Cultural Resources Archeological Assistance,
effective planning can occur before excavation is Washington, DC.
necessary, and we can all build on that mandate. Cleere, Henry F. (editor)
Still, one huge gap remains: private land and 1989 Archaeological Heritage Management in the Modern
preservation. While around the globe approaches World. One World Archaeology Series, vol. 9. Unwin
to managing cultural resources vary greatly (Cleere Hyman, London.
1989), in the US private landowners own the Crook, Morgan R., Jr. (editor)
1992 The State of Archaeology in Georgia: A Report from
archaeological resources on their property. Unless the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists.
they undertake development projects or other Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists,
actions that activate federal, state, or local laws, Carrollton, Georgia.
they can do as they wish with those resources. Green, William, and John F. Doershuk
There are few state laws that address preservation 1998 Cultural Resource Management and American
of significant sites on private land and none exist at archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research 6:121–
the federal level. Moreover, it seems unlikely that
Ledbetter, R. Jerald, David G. Anderson, Lisa D. O’Steen,
the American emphasis on the rights of individu- and Daniel T. Elliott
als, sometimes to the exclusion of the community 1996 Paleoindian and Early Archaic Research in
good, will ever be compromised. Nor am I arguing Georgia. In The Paleoindian and Early Archaic South-
that archaeologists see such a compromise as the east, edited by David G. Anderson and Kenneth E.
only solution to this problem. It is worth pointing Sassaman, pp. 270–287. University of Alabama Press,
out, however, that the idea of private rights to a Tuscaloosa.
McGimsey, Charles R., III
communal heritage does pose a philosophical 1972 Public Archaeology. Seminar Press, New York.
dilemma for some. Perhaps the solution to this McGimsey, Charles R., III, and Hester A. Davis (editors)
conflict between private and communal rights lies 1977 The Management of Archeological Resources: The
in the preservation of archaeological data, through Airlie House Report. Society for American Archaeolo-
the recovery of information, rather than the preser- gy, Washington, DC.
vation of archaeological sites. Clearly, the preser- National Park Service
2001 Strategies for Protecting Archaeological Sites on
vation community must find a solution to the prob-
Private Lands. Electronic document, http://www2
lem of rapidly diminishing resources on private .cr.nps.gov/pad/strategies/, accessed April 30.
land before there is no archaeological record left to Williams, Mark
preserve. 2000 Archaeological Site Distributions in Georgia:
It will take all of us—archaeologists, historic 2000. Early Georgia 28(1):1–55.
preservationists, policy makers, and an interested Wallsmith, Deborah L.
and informed public—to communicate outside the 1998 Where Have All the Artifacts Gone? The Cobb
County Archaeology Survey’s Final Chapter. Early
institutional channels and boundaries within
Georgia 26(1):1–11.
which we have become comfortable. We must
• 55

An SGA Timeline This Is Not Your Mother’s SGA

The Society for Georgia
Archaeology meets for the
first time on October 13,
consisting of influential
citizens (judges, doctors, by Rita Folse Elliott
attorneys, a general, and
prominent businessmen)
who are interested in
Georgia’s prehistoric past
(Smith 1939).
1934-1940 Following a request to write this existence! But it is not enough to
SGA encourages and
supports efforts by the
article, I decided to do a little light escape; we must continue to forge a
Federal Works Progress reading. Thirty years of SGA new destiny now that we are free to
Administration to con- newsletters and a few assorted do so.
duct a substantial program newspaper clippings from the 1930s
of archaeological excava-
tions in Georgia, includ- have their revelations. The cyclical Flashbacks
ing at Ocmulgee mounds. history of SGA is obvious even to 1930s—“Macon Meeting to Mark
Society continues to those not trained in recognizing High Point in Archaeological Research
meet regularly.
patterns of human behavior. When in Georgia: to be attended by Noted
1934 I took office as President of SGA in Scientist”—newspaper announcement
Macon residents, led by
prominent members of
1998, little did I know that I would about Smithsonian archaeologists
SGA, raise $25,000 to be repeating some of the very same speaking at upcoming SGA meeting
purchase 2000 acres that thoughts and phrases that had been (Atlanta Constitution 1934).
would become Ocmulgee repeated so many times before me
National Monument
“When, during the middle Thirties,
(Hally 1994:19). by so many others. In fact, it is the Government entered the field of
probably a good thing that I did not archaeology to provide work in con-
The fall meeting of read all the newsletters at that junction with WPA relief, a group of
SGA is held on the time, or else I may have despaired Macon citizens headed by Dr. C.C.
University of Georgia at ever breaking out of the cycle Harrold succeeded in obtaining a proj-
campus in October, short-
ly after the Department of
that SGA had endured for more ect to excavate the large mound-site
Archaeology and Anthro- than five decades. directly across the Ocmulgee River
pology is established. Traveling back in time to the first described by Bartram. The land
1940s SGA of the 1930s, 1950s, 1970s, was acquired through the efforts of the
Documentation on and 1980s provides a very good way Society for Georgia Archaeology, of
SGA sparse for this peri- to evaluate our SGA of 2001. This
od; World War II adverse-
which Dr. Harrold was president, and
ly affects the organization journey, along with a more inten- is now Ocmulgee National Monu-
and its members. sive study of SGA activities during ment” (Waring 1977 [1945]:295).
1950 the past decade, leads to the “The Georgia Society has brought
Society for the inevitable conclusion that SGA about many fine things and I wonder if
Preservation of Early finally has escaped its prior destiny it should not be given a great slice of
Georgia History (SPEGH)
organized. Publishes vol.
of struggling to maintain its very credit for the establishment here at the
1, nos. 1 and 2 of Early
Georgia journal. Elliott led SGA as president from 1998 to 2000, and was instrumental in “grow-
ing” Archaeology Awareness Week into Archaeology Month.
56 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

University of Georgia of a department would recognize many of the same

of archaeology” (Jones 1939, quoted elements that have been present SPEGH publishes vol.
in Bailey 1986:68). from the 1930s through the dawn 1, no. 3 of Early Georgia.
1954—“After the printing of the of the twenty-first century. The 1956
first two issues of Early Georgia in the society has had numerous name SPEGH publishes vol.
Summer and Fall of 1950, it was changes throughout its history, 1, no. 4; and another
found that expenses were greater than from “The Society for Georgia (indeterminate) issue of
Early Georgia.
income and publication had to be sus- Archaeology” to “The Society for
pended. Now Early Georgia will try the Preservation of Georgia Antiq- 1957
SPEGH publishes vol.
again with a slightly reduced format, uities” (which may have been the 2, nos. 1 and 2 of Early
and in the beginning with subsidies shortest-lived title) to “The Society Georgia.
from a few public spirited citizens” for the Preservation of Early 1968
(Caldwell 1954: inside back cover). Georgia History”, to the “Georgia Membership totals 113
1957-1975—No issues of the jour- Archaeological Society,” and final- people.
nal, Early Georgia, are published. ly back to “The Society for Georgia 1969
1968—”One of the major problems Archaeology” (Wauchope 1966; Vol. 2, nos. 3 and 4 of
Early Georgia published.
discussed at that meeting was the long Kelly 1995a:46, 1995b; SPEGH SPEGH establishes
dormancy of the Society for the 1968). That in itself is cyclical! Augusta chapter.
Preservation of Early Georgia Regardless of the change in nomen- 1974
History.” (SPEGH newsletter clature, the focus has always been The ninth issue of the
1968:1) the same. The 1930s organization SPEGH newsletter is pro-
1974—“The Editor reported…the consisted of Georgians interested in duced.
SPEGH briefly reincar-
Spring meeting of the Society…would learning more about the past and nated as the “Georgia
be held in Rome. The question that preserving it in Georgia. Archaeological Society,”
seems to be valid now is whether or not The first objective of the Society and then as the “Society
for Georgia Archaeology,”
the meeting will be held at all. No for the Preservation of Early a name that had been used
word has been circulated…and it is Georgia History in 1950 (SPEGH for the organization as
beginning to look like the Society has Newsletter 1974:4) was early as the 1930s.
merely gone through its annual twitch. To study, collect data, publish By-law changes are
We need a strong state archaeological information, and in every way
society in Georgia. It would be a practicable to sponsor projects of 1975
SGA membership totals
shame if the society were allowed to investigation and education calcu- 37 people.
die again.” (Garrow 1974:2) lated to inculcate a wider public Publication of Early
1976—“Please pay your dues. We understanding and appreciation of Georgia resumes with vol.
3, no. 1, after a 19-year
need the money. Encourage others to the sites and landmarks perceived hiatus.
do so.” (Johnston 1976:2). to possess unique or outstanding
1982—“As many of you know, significance in the cultural history Newsletter title changes
there has been some concern about the of the State of Georgia. from Early Georgia News-
delay in Early Georgia publica- SGA’s revised Mission Statement letter to Newsletter of the
tion…only rarely have we been able to of 1998 reads Society for Georgia Arch-
aeology to The Profile.
produce more than one issue of Early The purpose of the Society is to SGA membership totals
Georgia per year…. Therefore, to unite all persons interested in the 25 people.
facilitate a catch-up in journal publica- archaeology of Georgia and 1979
tion, only one issue…will be published actively work to preserve, study SGA hosts Fall meeting
a year. Only if possible, once we are and interpret Georgia’s historic in conjunction with The
Conference on the Arch-
caught up, will each volume consist of and prehistoric remains. aeology of Coastal Georg-
two issues.” (Blanton, 1982:1) The Mission Strategy is ia, South Carolina, and
——— The society accomplishes its mis- Eastern Florida at Arm-
While today’s SGA may not be sion by advocating archaeological strong State University,
your Mother’s SGA, certainly she site preservation; encouraging the
• This Is Not Your Mother’s SGA • Elliott • 57

scientific investigation, study and the repeated plaintive cry of socie-

June—first official SGA
interpretation of those remains ty president after president (this
logo chosen. under professional guidance; pub- author included) to implore mem-
lishing and distributing the results ber participation in meetings. Such
SGA sponsors experi- of these investigations; and edu- antiquated thinking narrows our
mental archaeology proj- cating the public about the archae- focus like blinders until we cannot
ect at Etowah Mounds in ology of Georgia. see any goal except an immediate
which members document
the construction of a repli- Such elements as the quest to one involving our own little cadre
ca Mississippian period understand who we are and how we of 18, 50, 100, or 300 members.
Native American house, arrived at our present state of Happily, SGA has begun to
its later burning, and sub-
sequent excavation.
awareness, the thrill of shared abandon the shackles of our “small
knowledge and important discover- club” mentality and to replace it
SGA committee ap-
ies, and the ever present desire to with a new millennium worldview.
pointed to make recom- preserve in Georgia these vanishing Sure we can still have meetings
mendations to formulate a traces of ourselves, have alternately with paper presentations and cama-
program for a state-wide burned brightly as enthusiastic raderie, but we can also do so much
survey of artifacts in pri-
vate collections. flames or been reduced to a few more. We have recognized that we
glowing embers in SGA and its need a huge membership, while
Survey of fluted points members. The ever-changing fires acknowledging that the type of
initiated, in coordination of SGA are now fueled by the membership we need is broad-
with SGA. winds of a new millennium. The based. Not all will want to attend
1988 growing preservation movement, meetings to hear presentations, not
SGA memberships total ecotourism, the world wide web,
an increasingly educated public,
1989 and even development, itself, is
SGA incorporated.
SGA brings concerns
our cordwood. The winds of pol-
to the University of itics, public and private funding,
Georgia’s president about educational opportunities, mar-
substandard conditions keting skills, and organizational
for artifacts curated at the
university, and offers sup- strategies will feed this fire only
port for expansion of the if we operate the bellows in a
university’s Museum of much different way than we
Natural History. (Funding
later provided for improved
have been accustomed to during
curation facilities.) the first fifty years of gentle stok-
Bylaws and constitution ing.
revised. Our “usual way of doing busi-
Committee appointed
to formulate a program for ness” was admirable, but it is
a state-wide survey of arti- what put SGA in its more than
facts held in private col- 50-year rut. The ever-plodding-
lections, implemented by
SGA chapters.
strides-forward didn’t even work
The Senate Committee
well back in the mid-twentieth
on Energy and Natural century, much less now. That
Resources invites SGA old thought process is the shack-
representatives to speak at Learning about archaeology by making rubbings of
les that have threatened to keep casts of Swift Creek pottery.
hearing concerning the
Historic Preservation Ad- the organization struggling to
ministration Act and the maintain a decent membership in a all will be interested in field-day
National Preservation state with a population of more demonstrations, not all will read
Policy Act, Savannah.
SGA contacts SE office
than eight million. That thought Early Georgia from cover-to-cover
process is the fetters that result in (if you can imagine that!). We have
58 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

discovered that we must look SGA actions during the past

of the US Fish and
beyond our traditional membership decade have given the society the Wildlife Service regarding
targets and seek out members who sweet taste of success, albeit in concerns over the current
want to belong because they see the small drops. Such victories have status of archaeological
organization doing good things for only served to whet the appetite— resources on their proper-
archaeology across their state, and to give us a taste of what COULD BE
know that their dues are money in Georgia. We need to remember 1990
SGA hosts joint Fall
well spent on supporting the preser- how to “think big”, just as SGA did Meeting with Alabama
vation of archaeological sites or the in the 1930s when members per- Archaeological Society at
suaded Smithsonian the Columbus Museum,
archaeologists to
come to Georgia, 1991
SGA presents first
and convinced the Joseph Caldwell Award.
WPA to choose Early Georgia publica-
Ocmulgee and other tion schedule caught up to
sites in the state for date to current year.
SGA sponsors excava-
excavation, and tion of the Native Ameri-
then actually set can burned house replica
about to raise the constructed in 1982.
SGA joins with the
funding necessary to Georgia Council of Pro-
purchase Ocmulgee fessional Archaeologists
so it could become a (GCPA) to represent
national monument. archaeological concerns
regarding Indian Burial
And just as SGA did legislation.
when it was instru- SGA sponsors public
Poster Design Contest.
Public outreach through SGA's booth at COASTFEST in mental in the estab- SGA sponsors joint
Brunswick. lishment of a depart-
Spring Meeting with the
ment of anthropolo- Archaeological Society of
discovery of new information about gy at the University of Georgia. South Carolina, Augusta.
our past. We have acknowledged SGA thought big then, and is final- 1992
the need to target more institutions ly beginning to think that way State legislation regard-
that wouldn’t want to be caught again. We need to become known ing site protection and
American Indian burials
without all the back and future again as the vanguard of site preser- passed, including many
issues of our now timely, now aes- vation, just as SGA was in the revisions suggested by a
thetically pleasing journal, Early 1930s when the newspaper report- joint SGA and GCPA
Georgia. ed, “The State Archaeological
Governor’s office asks
Events beginning in the 1990s Society renders a high service in its SGA and GCPA for input
and continuing today have shown efforts to safeguard [archaeological regarding appointments
that SGA is becoming a driving sites] for the general good” (Atlanta for the creation of the
Council on American
force in Georgia Archaeology, as it Journal 1935). Indian Concerns.
once was in the 1930s. We have SGA publishes The
learned that we CAN call some of Funding Profile Papers, a compila-
the shots, we CAN affect the future tion of the technical arti-
SGA is becoming more familiar cles in the 1968-1992
of preservation in the state, we CAN with “thinking big.” A recent issues of the organization’s
create educational programming on example involves a public educa- newsletter.
a large scale, and we CAN develop tion project. In 2000 the Society SGA publishes a special
public archaeology educa-
and initiate quality research. But purchased the copyright of Frontiers tion edition of its Early
we can do none of this if we con- in the Soil. This accurately written Georgia journal targeting
tinue to carry the small-town bag- and cleverly illustrated book about educators.
gage we have lugged for decades. Georgia archaeology was created
• This Is Not Your Mother’s SGA • Elliott • 59

for school children, but appeals to ing to bring the University of

1993 both children and adults. Unfortu- Georgia’s curation facilities to
SGA members and nately, this wonderful book had national standards.
chapter members begin been out of print for years and the • In 1991 SGA helped support
dialogue with the Georgia
Forestry Association and
last available copies were hoarded efforts to redraft potentially crip-
the timber industry about by archaeologists, teachers, and the pling legislation related to archaeo-
concerns over site looting general public. Several past logical site excavation.
on forest land. attempts by various entities to get • In 1995 SGA helped make sig-
1994 the book reprinted were futile. nificant recommendations for
SGA sponsors first After studying the situation, SGA Georgia’s first full-time, state-fund-
annual Georgia Archae-
ology Awareness Week decided to purchase the rights to ed archaeologist and staff.
with the publication and the book and is currently preparing • In 1996 SGA members and
distribution of a poster, several grant applications for chapter members helped halt the
curriculum materials, and
a calendar of public
approximately $20,000 while seek- bulldozing of the Soapstone Ridge
events. ing alternative publishing sources National Register of Historic Places
SGA sponsors a sympo- to meet its goal of slightly updating site, which resulted in the forma-
sium on Archaeology and the book, evaluating it in academic tion of Historic District guidelines
Education at the Georgia
Council for the Social settings, and reprinting it in its for- regulated by county commissioners.
Studies Conference in mer glory. • In the late 1990s SGA helped
Atlanta. support enactment of the Coastal
First biennial SGA Policy Zone Management program and
meeting in a new format,
offering archaeological The last decade has taught SGA the Georgia Heritage Fund.
tours and a banquet with a that we cannot succeed in preserv- • In 1998 SGA, in conjunction
keynote speaker, with the Georgia Council of
ing Georgia’s archaeological sites,
researching our past, and educating Professional Archaeologists, brought
1995 suit against the University System’s
SGA representatives
the state’s citizens without under-
attend Archaeology Con- standing the politi-
fab meeting at Ocmulgee cal climate of the
National Monument in state. The Society
Macon to stress the need
for a funded State Arch- has matured in its
aeologist position, and acknowledgement
funding for numerous that, whether for
other archaeological issues.
SGA organized two
better or worse, our
workshops, Maritime archaeological goals
Archaeology and Amer- are affected by poli-
ican Indian Issues, at the tics and it is to our
state preservation confer-
ence, Augusta. own peril that we
SGA, the Historic do not stay attuned
Preservation Division, and to the drafting of
the Georgia Trust for
laws and the move-
Historic Preservation, co-
sponsor a teachers’ work- ments of our legisla-
shop, Teaching With His- ture. We have
toric Places, Macon. already enjoyed suc-
Brownie Scouts enjoying hands-on learning through SGA.
1996 cesses from our
SGA conducts the most advocacy for
comprehensive Archae- Board of Regents for non-compli-
ology Week events to date archaeology.
during the third annual • In the mid 1930s SGA was ance with the Georgia Environ-
celebration, including instrumental in the purchase of the mental Policy Act. Although the
intensive educational Ocmulgee mounds site. plaintiffs lost, SGA was able to
events at colonial New
• In 1989 SGA helped get fund- bring the problems with this act
60 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

and its ineffectiveness in protecting ing requires SGA to seek out and
Ebenezer and activities
archaeological sites to the atten- use new sources of funding in addi- across the state.
tion of a significant political audi- tion to claiming those funds which SGA representatives
ence. are rightfully ours, as we seek to participate in public hear-
SGA needs to continue to think preserve our rapidly dwindling ing supporting institution
of the Coastal Zone
big (or bigger) in the political archaeological sites and educate Management program and
arena. Why do we expect politi- the rapidly growing numbers of preservation of archaeo-
cians to know about archaeology Georgia residents. logical sites.
SGA members and
and its significance? They suffer chapter members attempt
from the same lack of archaeologi- Public Education to stop bulldozing of the
cal education as most Georgians; SGA has begun to think big in Soapstone Ridge National
Register of Historic Places
areas of public education. It started archaeological site; creat-
the very first Georgia Archaeology ed a historic district by the
Awareness Week, in spite of the county in 1997. A portion
fact that the equivalent projects in of the site is subsequently
purchased and protected
many other states were conducted by the Archaeological
by state governments. By the third Conservancy.
year of this annual event, SGA was SGA works with GCPA
and the Department of
ready to think big. Natural Resources on an
In preparation for the 1996 Anti-Looting Task Force.
Georgia Archaeology Awareness 1997
Week, the project raised $10,000 in SGA forms the
cash and tens of thousands of dol- Committee for Program
lars in labor and in-kind support, Renewal (CPR) in an
effort to further invigorate
while sponsoring a myriad of activ- the society.
ities in addition to the usual poster,
teacher resource materials, and cal- SGA publishes the
endar of events. How did we do 100th issue of The Profile
Young volunteers "sifting sand" during 1996 that, when the first two such annu- newsletter.
SGA and GCPA bring
Archaeology Week excavations at New Ebenezer. al events were relatively small as we a joint lawsuit against the
“tested the waters?” Simple. We Board of Regents, Uni-
only they are now in a position to thought big. We didn’t call up versity System for non-
do something about it. They will potential sponsors and say, “We adherence to the Georgia
not, or cannot come to us; there- Environmental Policy
hope to have some things going on Act.
fore it is our job to educate them. this year for Archaeology Week.” SGA adopts new Miss-
We must, within the realm of our We confidently said, “SGA is going ion Statement and Miss-
nonprofit status, create every ion Strategy.
to have a week-long event with SGA membership totals
opportunity to educate, wholesale, excavations, hands-on activities for 259 individuals and organ-
Georgia politicians. Once they see children, tours, re-enactors, etc.” It izations.
Georgia’s archaeological past them- didn’t matter that, for the first Representatives partici-
selves, they cannot help but seek to pate in public hearings of
twenty phone calls we didn’t have a the state legislature’s Joint
preserve it. On a related level, why single tangible thing to support this Study Committee on
does SGA allow archaeology to be statement—no funding, no work- Historic Preservation, sup-
beaten down in the political game? porting a state underwater
ers, no activities, no events, noth-
archaeology program,
Of course we will not receive our ing! Soon however, we had a spon- Savannah.
fair share of funding if we continue sor or two, then we had dozens of SGA sponsors fifth
to roll over whenever the school school teachers making reserva- annual Georgia Archae-
bully comes around for lunch ology Awareness Week,
tions for fieldtrips, then we got a and begins a stronger part-
money. We will not receive if we do grant…and an army tent…and a nership with the Historic
not ask. Twenty-first century think- keynote speaker…and more spon-
• This Is Not Your Mother’s SGA • Elliott • 61

sors…by thinking big. Thinking able in our traditional membership.

Preservation Division to
reach more Georgians
big must, however, be preceded by These individuals with experience
through this educational in-depth planning and followed by in advocacy, fundraising, nonprofit
venue. hard work! Archaeology Week is organizations, public trusts, bank-
SGA creates an organi- now Archaeology Month and rep- ing, and a host of other highly valu-
zational web page on the
world wide web. resents the eighth such annual cel- able, sought-after skills were invit-
SGA co-sponsors the ebration. ed to become members of SGA and
public archaeology com- Thinking big requires constant asked to serve on its Board. Board
ponent of the Society for
Historical Archaeology
re-evaluation. Sure, we can contin- retreats have revealed the wisdom
Conference, Atlanta. ue to print and distribute 4000 in diversifying among preservation-
Archaeology Week (now Month) minded individuals, and SGA now
SGA awards first posters, but why not find a mutual- enjoys strategic planning and well-
George S. Lewis Archaeo- ly good reason to partner with a defined long- and short-term goals.
logical Stewardship Award. billboard company and plaster the SGA now operates less from crisis-
SGA holds first in a
series of biennial Board state with so many archaeology to-crisis, and looks into the future
Planning retreats for long- billboards (in addition to posters) with a pro-active stance. Board
term goals and strategies. that the message couldn’t be members chair numerous active
SGA gets a permanent
mailing address and voice
missed? Or
mail telephone number. design a
SGA membership totals partnership
289. with Post
SGA representatives
attend the Legislative Cereals for
Reception in Atlanta. a kid-based
Series of educational, archaeolo-
hands-on workshops pre-
gy message
sented at Fall meeting.
on the box
1999 / 2000 back, or a
SGA becomes affiliate
member of various organi- series of
zations, including the “archaeol-
Georgia Historical Society ogy trading
and the Georgia Council
for History, Preservation, cards”—
and Political Education. one in each
SGA members attend specially
public hearings to support m a r k e d Stalwart SGA President (2000-2002) Betsy Shirk conducting public out-
allocation of Georgia
Heritage 2000 funds. box. The reach at an SGA exhibit.
SGA makes contact point is,
with, and offers support to, thinking small gets SGA nowhere, and important committees
like-minded organizations,
including the Upper
and acting without continually designed to meet the Society’s
Etowah River Alliance, evaluating our actions will get us planned goals. Other non-board
Riverkeepers, Forest- right back into that 1950s to 1990 committee chairs serve critical
watch, the Natural Histo- rut. niches in rounding out the organi-
ry Museum at UGA, the
Georgia Trust for Historic Thinking big requires thinking zation’s work. There is no doubt
Preservation, and the differently. Recent work by the that SGA’s recently defined long-
Trust for Public Land. SGA’s Board Development Com- term goals, including a major mem-
SGA representatives
attend public hearings
mittee illustrates this extremely bership drive, a capital campaign
throughout the state to well. For the first time since the and major donor program, and a
support Governor Barnes’ 1930s, SGA actively sought to statewide collector survey loom
Greenspace Program and recruit board members interested in brightly, and achievably, on the
the resulting preservation
of archaeological sites. archaeology, but with a diverse set horizon.
of skills and talents often unavail- So how do we continue to think
62 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

big in the twenty-first century? We can establish actual working part-

Volunteers create high-
write a well-developed and nerships with like-minded organi- quality portable exhibit
thoughtfully researched plan for zations. We can seek and obtain showcasing SGA.
public and private funding for funding from private, state, federal, SGA applies for, and
$300,000 to cover start-up and and member sources. We can think receives 501(c)3 status as
a nonprofit organization.
first-year costs of a multi-year, big, talk big, act big, and be big! SGA purchases copy-
right of unique archaeolo-
gy book, Frontiers in the
Soil, by Roy Dickens, with
plans to reprint and sell.
SGA holds its first
annual Great American
Archaeology Auction
fundraiser, netting over
$600 at the spring meet-
ing, Unicoi State Park.
More than 400 people
visit SGA’s exhibit and
hands-on activities booth
celebration, Brunswick.
SGA cosponsors por-
Preparing for Archaeology Week visitors to SGA events at historic New Ebenezer, 1996. tions of the Southeastern
Archaeological Confer-
state-of-the art “collector survey” of When archaeologist Robert ence (SEAC), Macon.
Georgia. You remember the collec- Wauchope (1966:xvii) returned to SGA achieves over
$1500 in sales of books
tor survey that had its roots in 1938 Georgia on a visit he declared,
and merchandise at the
with Robert Wauchope’s visits to Another thing that I should like to SGA booth in the SEAC’s
arrowhead collectors in northern mention here is the astonishing conference book room.
Georgia, and with visits made by change that the Georgia landscape 2000 / 2001
A.R. Kelly and Joseph Caldwell as underwent in the twenty years SGA applies for several
they traversed the state as late as from 1938 to 1958…. I had grants to fund reprinting
of Frontiers in the Soil book.
the 1950s. You remember the infa- expected that in twenty years a
mous collector survey…targeted in few old things might have 2001
SGA transforms its
1983 (if not earlier) by an SGA changed…. But I was unprepared eighth annual Georgia
committee appointed to make rec- for the wholesale changes that had Archaeology Awareness
ommendations to formulate a pro- taken place…. Week to the first annual
gram for such a project…targeted While he was speaking of the natu- Georgia Archaeology
in 1989 by a committee appointed ral environment, Wauchope could First purchases made for
to formulate a program for such a have just as easily been referring to SGA’s archaeology video
project…. Sure, in 2001 we could the environment of SGA, which lending library.
The second SGA Board
appoint a committee to formulate a lay almost dormant in the mid- Planning Retreat includ-
program…. Or we could just THINK twentieth century. If Wauchope ing intensive strategies for
BIG and do it. were here today, I would hope he public education, organi-
We need to target new audi- would say the same thing, because zational marketing, preser-
vation, and advocacy.
ences, such as the Boy Scout in the twenty years following SGA exhibit and mem-
Council of Georgia (rather than SGA’s reorganization in the mid- bers attend the Legislative
individual scouts or troops), and 1970s, things have changed Reception in Atlanta.
SGA committee pre-
establish an effective, systematic tremendously. The SGA of today is pares grant for full-time,
partnership that works for them propelling itself into the twenty- multi-year, collector sur-
and for us, while their scouts earn first century with new ideas and vey.
the Archaeology merit badge. new ways of implementing them. SGA spring meeting
focuses on underwater
What are other ways SGA can This is not your Mother’s SGA. archaeology, Savannah.
continue on its path to success? We Let’s make Mother proud!
• This Is Not Your Mother’s SGA • Elliott • 63

References Cited Patterson. In Dear Isabel: Archeological Correspondence,

A.R. Kelly and Isabel Patterson—1934-1953, edited by
Atlanta Constitution [Atlanta, Georgia]
R. Jerald Ledbetter, p. 45-46. Publication, no. 33.
1934 Macon Meeting to Mark High Point in Archaeologi-
LAMAR Institute, Watkinsville, Georgia.
cal Research in Georgia: to be attended by Noted Scien-
1995b Letter of 30 March 1951 to Isabel Patterson. In
tist. Letter to the Editor. Atlanta, Georgia.
Dear Isabel: Archeological Correspondence, A.R. Kelly
1935 Exploring Georgia’s Pre-History. 27 November:
and Isabel Patterson—1934-1953, edited by R. Jerald
no page.
Ledbetter, p. 50. Publication, no. 33. LAMAR
Bailey, Wilfrid C.
Institute, Watkinsville, Georgia.
1986 A Thrice-Born Department: A History of
Lewis, George S.
Anthropology at The University of Georgia. Early
1989 A Brief History of The Augusta Archaeological Soci-
Georgia 14:64–84.
ety. Augusta Archaeological Society, Augusta,
Blanton, Dennis
1982 President’s Report. The Profile, no. 36 (July):1.
Smith, Richard W.
The Society for Georgia Archaeology, Kingsland,
1939 A History of the Society for Georgia Archaeolo-
gy. Proceedings of the Society for Georgia Archaeology
Caldwell, Joseph R.
2(2): 13-17.
1954 Inside Back Cover. Early Georgia 1(3). Society for
Society for Georgia Archaeology
the Preservation of Early Georgia History, Cochran,
1998 Mission Statement and Mission Strategy. On file,
SGA archives, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript
Garrow, Patrick
Library, University of Georgia, Athens.
1974 State Archaeological Society—Where Are You?
SPEGH Newsletter
The Newsletter 1 (3-4). The Archaeological Society
1968 Vol.1 (August):1. The Society for the Preserva-
of Rome, Rome, Georgia.
tion of Early Georgia History, no city.
Hally, David J. (editor)
1974 Vol. 9 (July). The Society for the Preservation of
1994 Ocmulgee Archaeology 1936-1986. University of
Early Georgia History, no city.
Georgia Press, Athens.
Wauchope, Robert
Johnston, Harold
1966 Archaeological Survey of Northern Georgia.
1976 Mimeograph to Society for Georgia Archaeology
Memoirs, no. 21. The Society for American Archae-
Council Members from the President. 30 August. On
ology, Salt Lake City.
file, SGA archives, Hargrett Rare Book and Manu-
Waring, Antonio J., Jr.
script Library, University of Georgia, Athens.
1977 [1945] A History of Georgia Archaeology to
Jones, Walter B.
World War II. In The Waring Papers: The Collected
1939 Archaeological Research in the South—Past,
Works of Antonio J. Waring, Jr., edited by Stephen
Present, and Future. Proceedings of the Society for
Williams, pp. 288-299. Revised ed. Papers of the
Georgia Archaeology 2:39-42.
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, vol.
Kelly, A.R.
58. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1995a Letter of 29 November 1949 to Mrs. Isabel

SGA: Full Steam Ahead!

SGA has had its ups and downs, as Rita Elliott’s article clearly reveals.
However, the winds of change began to blow in the mid-1990s and SGA now
stands poised to fulfill its destiny, defined in the 1930s by its founding mem-
bers: helping all Georgians understand the significance of their archaeologi-
cal sites so that they will support archaeological preservation, education, and
research. Until this is achieved, our organization must attain a more visible
profile, increase accessibility to the public, and strengthen the political envi-
ronment for archaeological site preservation. By mapping a challenging
future for SGA, we the members will be excited not by where we are now, but
by the direction in which we are moving. Yes, we’ve come a long way, but the
journey is only beginning.
—Elizabeth Shirk, SGA President
• 65

Sprawl and the Destruction of

Georgia’s Archaeological Resources

by Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris

Today, widespread development, or sprawl, is both at Atlanta (the state’s largest metropolitan
destroying archaeological sites, both prehistoric area), and at a small area that remained rural until
and historic, at an unprecedented rate. Sprawl is recently. Although these two areas are not statisti-
taking a drastic toll on the archaeological record cal samples of the state, they do show that
and the critical information it contains. If archae- Georgia’s demographic expansion has disturbed or
ological preservation efforts are not intensified, destroyed thousands of archaeological sites.
Georgians risk losing precious resources forever. Many human activities have the potential to
Sprawl is one threat among many to Georgia’s alter, disturb, or destroy archaeological sites. This
hidden heritage, including looting and land alter- has been true, in fact, throughout history and pre-
ing activities such as reservoir construction, agri- history—wherever humans have stopped, settled
culture, and logging. Here we focus on sprawl and earned their living, they likely disturbed the
because of its two most disturbing archaeological record of those
aspects: the dramatic rate of cur- It is possible that from a land
who came before. This prelim-
rent urban expansion, and little consumption perspective, Atlanta inary study shows that sprawl
evidence that the expansion will has grown faster than any human has affected thousands of sites
end soon. settlement in history. in Georgia.
Legal protection for most —Christopher Leinberger In this article we examine
archaeological resources on pri- Georgia’s rich archaeological
vate land are minimal. While fed- heritage, and archaeological
eral agencies and federal projects are required to site density in Piedmont Georgia. Then, we look at
mitigate the negative impact that their activities development in urban and rural Georgia, using
have on archaeological resources, most land in the Atlanta’s metropolitan area1 and a 4661 acre area
United States is held privately and falls outside near Suwanee as case studies. Finally, we discuss
that jurisdiction (see “Archaeological Resource the implications of these two case studies for
Protection in Georgia,” this issue). Making a bad archaeological preservation.
situation even worse, the United States
Department of Agriculture (1997) reports the Georgia’s Archaeological Record
average number of acres of private land developed To realize the impact development and sprawl
in Georgia is rising dramatically. can have on archaeological resources, one must
Although some of the information included in first understand the distribution of those resources
this article may seem cumbersome, we do not across the landscape. Humans have roamed what is
intend to aimlessly bombard you with numbers and now Georgia for thousands of years. Over those
statistics. We illustrate the impact of increasing long years, people have left considerable evidence
population and landscape development by looking
66 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

of their occupation and use of the landscape. Each be near them, or they preferred to avoid having
place with that evidence is called an archaeologi- neighbors—just as people do today).
cal site, of which thousands are recorded in the Euroamericans began to enter the Piedmont
Georgia Archaeological Site File (GASF). Southeast in large numbers late in the eighteenth
century, and tended to settle along rivers and over-
Land Use Trends in the Georgia Piedmont
land transportation routes. Later settlements dot-
Prehistoric occupation of Georgia’s rolling Pied- ted the landscape as farming predominated. By the
mont, technically the area between the sandy, flat, early 1900s, much of Georgia’s Piedmont was
Coastal Plain and the more rugged Appalachian cleared and planted in cotton. Then, the boll wee-
mountains, began at least 12,000 years ago, with vil struck, devastating cotton production, along
sparse occupation and use of the landscape (see with the economy of much of the rural South.
Jones, this issue). Over the last several thousand Today this pattern is reversed and formerly rural
years before Europeans arrived, villages and indi- areas (except for parts of South Georgia) are now
vidual households were scattered across the Pied- being more intensively occupied. Many new inhab-
mont. Villages tended to cluster near creeks and itants are not farmers, and much of what had been
rivers that were bordered by good agricultural open farmland in the 1920s, and become wood-
lands. Thus, Georgia’s landscape was never evenly lands by the 1970s, is once again being cleared.
occupied. Access to important resources, such as Much of this new wave of rural development is res-
good hunting areas, fertile agricultural lands, and idences and small businesses that tend to cluster
other features of the natural landscape, influenced along roads or in new housing developments.
people’s preferences for places to visit and live, as
did where other people lived (they either wanted to The GASF Database
The GASF is a facility maintained in
Athens to record archaeological data from
around the state. It is supported in part by
funds from the Department of Natural
Resources. If you report a new site, this is
where that information is stored.
As of January 2001, the GASF included
approximately 35,000 identified archaeo-
logical sites (Williams personal communi-
cation 2001). Since sites often contain evi-
dence of more than one period of occupa-
tion, the GASF has data on 48,000 compo-
nents. While “site” refers to a definable area
that has archaeological materials, “compo-
nent” refers to a particular time period a site
was used. Site counts, then, are the total
number of places with archaeological
resources, while component counts suggest
the changing intensity of human settlement
over time. Thus, both counts are important.
Archaeological Site Density
in the Piedmont
The GASF data do not directly measure
site density in Georgia. As Williams
(2000:10) points out, most of the reported
site locations reflect only areas where
As of 1 April 2001, the GASF lists over 35,000 archaeological sites. (Map archaeologists have surveyed (or looked for
courtesy Mark Williams) sites). Those areas, in turn, often parallel
• Sprawl and the Destruction of Georgia’s Archaeological Sites • Harris and Smith • 67

large government-funded projects (e.g., reservoirs)

and federally owned properties, on which archaeo-
logical inventory and evaluation are required by
law. Williams’ map (page 66) shows very dense site
distributions, for instance, at Fort Benning and
Fort Stewart. Nevertheless, from intensive studies
of specific areas, archaeologists feel they can create
estimates of site densities to be expected on similar
lands. Indeed, some archaeologists specialize in
constructing models for projecting site densities.
The site densities used in this article are based
on two estimates. One is derived from three sur-
veyed areas near Athens (Elliott 1981; Freer 1989;
Pluckhan 1994). These three areas had an average
site density of 1 site per 14 acres (Elliott 2000).
The second site density is from a small tract partly
within the Suwanee case study area discussed
below. The site density in that tract, which is along
a broad ridge crest, is 1 site per 28 acres. Thus, Direction of growth in metro Atlanta (data from ARC 2000).
these two site densities are drawn from actual Bold figures are population counts.
archaeological surveys. The variation, with one
area having twice as many sites as the other, is not area in rural Georgia. Together they indicate the
surprising. We already know that previous human magnitude of development and land use changes
use of the Georgia Piedmont, and thus site densi- occurring in Georgia today, and the accompanying
ties, are variable. impact on Georgia’s hidden heritage.
Keeping in mind these land use patterns and
how archaeological sites are distributed across Metro Atlanta and Out-of-Control Growth
them, the next two sections present case studies of Although metro Atlanta is consuming the sur-
recent development in the Georgia Piedmont. rounding land at a record pace, the challenge of
First, we examine growth and land use changes smart growth is not exclusive to Georgia’s capital.
around metro Atlanta. Then, we examine a small Sprawl is a national issue, and recently ranked as

What is Sprawl?—Not Even the Professionals Can Decide

There is no universally accepted definition of healthy growth; it is essentially self-destructive.
sprawl; however, here are two descriptive definitions: (Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck 2000:4)
• …Sprawl is growth that makes automobile access Policy analyst Anthony Downs (1998), identifies
the first priority. It requires a car for every move we ten "traits" associated with sprawl:
make—to work, to shop, even to cross the street. 1. unlimited outward extension
(Bennett and Renfro 1997) 2. low-density settlements
• Suburban sprawl, now the standard North Ameri- 3. leapfrog development
can pattern of growth, ignores historical precedent and 4. fragmentation of powers over land use among
human experience. It is an invention, conceived by many small localities
architects, engineers, and planners, and promoted by 5. dominance of transportation by private automo-
developers in the great sweeping aside of the old that tive vehicles
occurred after the Second World War. Unlike the tra- 6. no centralized planning or control of land-uses
ditional neighborhood model, which evolved organical- 7. widespread strip commercial development
ly as a response to human needs, the suburban sprawl 8. great fiscal disparities among localities
is an idealized artificial system… Unfortunately, this 9. segregation of types of land uses in different zones
system is already showing itself to be unsustainable. 10. reliance mainly on the trickle-down or filtering
Unlike the traditional neighborhood, sprawl is not process to provide housing to low-income households
68 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

beginning to react, and 11 states have

passed controlled-growth legislation
over the past few years, including
Georgia. In addition, the legislature
has established both the Georgia
Regional Transportation Authority,
aimed at reducing pollution and other
traffic problems, and Governor
Barnes’ Greenspace Program, to help
curb some of the destructive impact of
Atlanta is one of the most rapidly
expanding urban areas in the nation.
Urban analyst Christopher Leinber-
ger concludes that each 1% in popu-
lation growth around Atlanta results
Atlanta’s population change from 1900–2000 (ARC 2000).
in 10–20% growth in land consump-
high as crime and violence in importance among tion (cited in Turner 1997). Although it is certain-
American voters (Conley 2000). Politicians are ly the largest urban area in Georgia, and indeed in
the US Southeast, Atlanta is
not the only city in Georgia
that is expanding. Remember
as you read this that this same
phenomenon is occurring in
Athens, Augusta, Columbus,
Macon, and Savannah—and
it is not just the larger urban
areas that are expanding.
Growth is also evident in
many of Georgia’s smaller
towns, such as Clayton,
Danielsville, and Shiloh, and
across rural areas.
There is no doubt that
Atlanta is growing rapidly.
During the 1990s, metro
Atlanta added enough people
to create a city the size of
Birmingham, Alabama. In
fact, metro Atlanta’s popula-
tion grew faster in the 1990s
than any other US city
except Los Angeles (McCosh
2000). And urban expansion
is not limited to Atlanta. An
astounding growth rate has
been characteristic of most of
Georgia’s demographic pat-
Metro Atlanta growth since the 1950s. The 2010 area is a projection by the ARC (2000).
• Sprawl and the Destruction of Georgia’s Archaeological Sites • Harris and Smith • 69

tern. Gilmer county’s population growth is up 75%, ing the environment. Many areas in Georgia, like
Dawson county 70%. Bryan and Camden counties, others across the US (and indeed around the
along the coast, were up 52% and 45% respective- globe) are experiencing substantial population
ly (Chapman 2001). increases. For the most part, zoning and other con-
According to the Atlanta Regional Commission trols do not focus residential development in
(2000), the population increase in metro Atlanta Georgia in already occupied areas. Therefore,
from 1970 to 1990 was up 84%. Population densi- Georgia’s rural landscape is being engulfed by sur-
ty, however, decreased from 2690 to 1883 persons burban development, commercial areas, strip
per square mile (a 30% decrease), evidence of the development along transportation corridors, etc.
trend to consume more land for each individual. In Here are some statistics about growth in Georgia,
April of 1999, the population in the ten-county and in Atlanta.
region reached 3.2 million, a near record increase • America’s rural landscape is disappearing at
in a one-year period. The Atlanta Regional the rate of 3 million acres a year, according to the
Commission (ARC) projects Atlanta will gain USDA’s (1997) National Resources Inventory. Near-
over one million new residents by 2025. In simpler ly 16 million acres were altered nationwide through
terms, Fayette county now has over seven times the development between 1992 and 1997. Georgia is
number of people it did in 1970, and Gwinnett no exception. During that period, it ranked second
county has six times the population over the same among all US states in the average annual rate of
period. The infrastructure necessary for this influx land development (see figure below).
is enormous (e.g., housing, roads, schools, commer- • According to a recent report by a US envi-
cial centers, water and sewer lines, etc.), and so is ronmental advocacy group, Georgia ranks fourth in
the impact on archaeological resources. the nation for states at the greatest risk of losing
rural and natural areas. Noss and Peters (1995)
Land Consumption and Construction Patterns
estimate that in 90 years Georgia may be com-
Uncontrolled growth is catastrophically chang- pletely developed.2

States ranked by average annual rate of land development, 1992–1997. Georgia ranks second, after Texas. The verti-
cal scale is in thousands of acres per year (data and chart from the USDA’s 1997 National Resources Inventory; Alaska data
not reported). The NRI’s definition of developed land includes urban and built-up areas, and rural transportation land.
70 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

• Georgia ranks third in the nation among

states converting farms and forest into suburban Declines in Quality of Life
sprawl, according to a national study released last Growth in metropolitan Atlanta has taken a toll
year (Smith 1999). on natural and human resources that may never be
• The ARC (2000) figures show Atlanta’s fully understood. Some aspects of the impact of
urbanized area has increased 163% between 1970 growth can be quantified. We can count the num-
ber of lost trees and open space acres and the miles
and 1990. In the five years from 1990 to 1995,
of impaired streams. We cannot, however, count
132,920 acres were developed and 324,700 people the personal loss residents face as the state’s natural
moved into the region. That land consumption and historic landscape changes beyond recognition
rate equals an area the size of Douglas county. The and their quality of life is diminished.
ARC predicts that between 1995 and 2020, —Susan Rutherford (2001:1)
526,464 more acres will undergo development,
with 1,287,200 more people added to the metro
Atlanta’s existing housing is single-family homes
area. The amount of land altered during this peri-
(ARC 2001). Another housing trend involves the
od, assuming the rate doesn’t increase, will equal
jump families make to move away from the city
the area of DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Rockdale coun-
center and past existing suburbs in order to afford
ties combined (see map below).
suitable housing or obtain large lots. This is one
• Part of Atlanta’s dramatic expansion is due to
reason metro Atlanta’s size (area) is growing so rap-
large-scale projects, both residential and commer-
idly and explains huge construction increases in
cial developments. Such developments not only
Cherokee, Forsyth, and Henry counties.
involve vast land areas, but they require upgraded
We have only touched on a few of the conse-
infrastructure, including roads, sewage and storm
quences of unrestrained growth in Atlanta. Other
drains, electrical service, etc. Often other business-
results of this hyper-growth are equally important,
es open nearby, too. Thus, large projects often
including unbalanced growth, increasing division
instigate a cascade of development.
along racial and economic lines, traffic congestion
• In addition, Atlanta’s building patterns are
and pollution, and quality of life issues. In this dis-
dominated by low-density residential and commer-
cussion, the focus is on the impact urban and sub-
cial development—for example, over 67% of
urban growth has on our archaeological record.

Once-Rural Georgia: A Case Study

Sprawl is engulfing parts of rural Georgia. In this
section, we examine a 4661 acre (18.86 square
kilometers or 7.28 square miles) area near Suwanee
(next page) to see land use change over the last
century in a specific situation. This area, located
on the northeast edge of Atlanta’s development
today, would have been considered rural Georgia
until the last decade or so. Indeed, Suwanee is on
the edge of the 1990 sprawl zone shown on page
68. The purpose of this case study is to examine the
transformation of rural Georgia into sprawl, using a
simple measure of intensification of land use:
changing building counts.
By looking at a series of maps and aerial photo-
graphs, archaeologists, historians, and demogra-
phers, can chart changes in the physical and
human landscape. For this study, we present data
Map showing size of DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Rockdale from four years: 1894, 1938, 1968/72, and 1992.
counties relative to all of Georgia. This is the amount of land
For the building counts presented below, we do not
estimated to be developed around Atlanta from 1995–2020.
• Sprawl and the Destruction of Georgia’s Archaeological Sites • Harris and Smith • 71

Data traced from Duluth, GA
(1992) and Suwanee, GA
(1992) 7.5' US Geological
Survey topographic maps.

Data traced from Duluth, GA
(1968) and Suwanee, GA
(1972) 7.5' US Geological
Survey topographic maps.

Data traced from
aerial photographs
held in the Map
University of
Georgia Libraries.


Increased density of buildings and roads just west of Suwanee, north of Atlanta. Dots on the top three maps rep-
resent buildings, including houses, barns, churches, chicken houses, and possibly some rural stores. The thin lines
are roads (as well as the railroad through Suwanee), many of them unpaved; some are driveways or well-used field
roads. The thick line in the center is the Chattahoochee River. The 1894 map does not show buildings, except
schematically in the town of Suwanee. Note that in 1894 travelers crossed the Chattahoochee by ferry, and that the
ferry crossing was south of the later bridge. The area shown in the upper two maps, and the area for which buildings
are shown in the top three maps, is 4661 acres, or 7.28 square miles (1886 hectares).
72 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

include Suwanee proper. Building counts, like pop- the fields evident in the 1938 aerial photos were
ulation, are an indicator of intensification of land still unvegetated in 1992. This is probably because
use, and increasing building counts suggest an of the high agricultural productivity of those lands.
increase in land-disturbing activities that may have Overall, this pattern shows an intensification of
destroyed archaeological sites. Of course, many land use by the end of the century that likely
kinds of land use do not result in building con- impacted, or disturbed, archaeological resources.
struction, such as farming (including plowing), log- Populations increased in this area, as they have
ging, road building, etc., but do have the potential in most rural Piedmont towns. Suwanee census fig-
for disturbing archaeological resources. ures show an increase of 261% from 1990 to 2000:
An 1894 map shows buildings only in Suwanee; year 1980 1990 2000
this is probably a generalization, as some houses population 1026 2412 8725
and other buildings undoubtedly were outside the Although Suwanee’s population is centralized,
established towns. We can assume some, if not nevertheless, the community’s area is increasing.
most, of the land was under cultivation at that This is another characteristic of sprawl.
time. By 1938, aerial photographs show 94 build-
ings and extensive open fields, representing inten- Archaeological Sites Destroyed
sified activity in the study area. By 1968/1972, the by Atlanta’s Growth
area had 169 buildings, and fewer open fields. By
Now that we have discussed archaeological site
1992, the maps show 264 buildings, as well as evi-
density and the dramatic land use changes that
dence of more changes in roads and land use. For
accompany sprawl, we can turn to the impact those
instance, an new highway passes through the area,
changes have on the archaeological record. In fol-
between Suwanee and the Chattahoochee River,
lowing calculations, we assume that archaeological
but bypassing Suwanee. sites on any land encompassed by Atlanta’s sprawl
In general, the Suwanee case study area matches
were totally destroyed. Although we realize this is
the pattern of land use change described above for
probably not, strictly speaking, true, we do believe
the rural Georgia Piedmont. Fields on upland
that development disturbs or destroys a high per-
ridges that were in use early in the twentieth cen-
centage of the archaeological resources it encom-
tury were abandoned, and returned to woodlands
by mid-century. By the end of that century, those
According to the ARC (2000), 26,584 acres
forested areas began to be opened once again,
were developed around Metro Atlanta each year,
mostly for single-family homes. This pattern did
on average, from 1990 to 1995. Thus, if the aver-
not occur along the Chattahoochee, where all of
age site density in the Piedmont uplands surround-
ing Atlanta is 1 site per 14 acres,
that means each year during that
246 period, on average, 1899 sites
were destroyed. If that rate con-
Number of Buildings

200 tinues to the present, and the

development obliterates any
archaeological sites within the
94 developed area, over the twelve-
year period from January 1, 1990
50 to December 31, 2001, an esti-
mated 22,786 sites will have
0 no data no data no data
been destroyed.3 This is approxi-
1938 1950 1960 ca. 1970 1980 1992
mately 65% of the 35,000 sites
Year reported in the GASF.
Increase in building counts over the last half-century in a 4661 acre area just west On the other hand, if the
of Suwanee. Data are given approximately every ten years. Most buildings are average site density was 1 site per
houses, but others are barns, churches, and other non-residential structures. 28 acres, as was found near
Buildings are used as a proxy for population and development in this area. Suwanee, Atlanta’s develop-
• Sprawl and the Destruction of Georgia’s Archaeological Sites • Harris and Smith • 73

ment, if it averaged 50000

26,584 acres each
year for twelve years 45000
and destroyed all 40000
archaeological sites
Number of sites now recorded in the GASF
within the devel- 35000
oped area, suggests
11,393 sites were 30000
Site count

destroyed, or ap- 25000 22786
proximately 33% of
site count in the 20000

Because of the 15000 11393
variability in site 10000 7595
5697 6510
density we know
occurs in the South- 5000
eastern Piedmont,
we present a graph 0
of estimated sites 1/ 56 ac 1/ 49 ac 1/ 42 ac 1/ 35 ac 1/ 28 ac 1/ 21 ac 1/ 14 ac 1/ 7 ac
disturbed over the less dense Site density more dense
Site density
twelve-year period
discussed above, Estimated number of sites destroyed in the Atlanta area over the period 1990 to 2001, inclu-
sively, assuming 26,584 acres were developed each year, and all sites within developed areas were
based on archaeo-
destroyed, at various site densities. The densities 1/28 acres and 1/14 acres are drawn from actu-
logical site densities al archaeological surveys in the Georgia Piedmont (see text). The other densities are given in
that are both more recognition of the variability in site density known for the Georgia Piedmont.
and less dense than
those derived from
the two situations reported above. Even using some What does that loss of archaeological resources
of the lower density estimates presented here, we mean to the both the general and archaeological
believe thousands of archaeological sites have dis- community? On the most basic level, information
appeared over the twelve-year period from 1990 to from the past is no longer available. Once a site is
2001 (inclusively) as Atlanta has expanded. destroyed we can never discover the important
Of course, these estimates are only for a twelve- basic building blocks of archaeological data it con-
year period. If we were to consider the area already tained can never be known: the time of occupa-
within metro Atlanta at the start of that period (in tion, the size of the site, and its location. Further,
1990), the number of sites estimated to have been interpretation and analysis regarding the relation-
destroyed might double. If we then added the sites ship among sites during any given period is dimin-
destroyed by Georgia’s other cities, towns, and ished, if not destroyed completely. That interrela-
communities, the number of sites destroyed by tionship of human settlements, along with their
modern development might triple. relationship to features in the natural environ-
ment, provide a qualitatively different set of data
Sprawl and Archaeological Resources than the material remains and their context alone,
Archaeologists and environmentalists accept which are also very important. There is also such a
that sprawl is a fact of life today. Sprawl and land- thing as a unique site—one that represents a par-
disturbing activities do, without a doubt, disturb ticular activity or role in past society.
and destroy archaeological sites. The report above Sadly, the special knowledge contained in
argues that the development Georgia has already Georgia’s archaeological resources, which repre-
experienced has destroyed thousands of archaeo- sent thousands of years of human endeavor, can be
logical sites, and the development predicted for the wiped away by land-disturbing activities as easily as
next few decades will destroy thousands more. a spider’s web by the swipe of a cat’s paw.
74 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

Growth in Numbers
In this article, “metro Atlanta” refers to ten coun-
ties—Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fay- • The Atlanta region is home to four of the
ette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale—covering nation’s ten fastest-growing counties—Forsyth,
nearly 3000 square miles. Gwinnett, Henry and Paulding.
2 “In this projection we assumed that the rate of • Average number acres of privately held land in
increase in developed land from 1982 to 1992 would Georgia developed each year over the period indi-
continue into the future, compounding the amount of cated:
developed land every ten years. We expect compound- 1982-1992: 76,630 1992-1997: 210,640
ing because as a region develops it attracts more people Percent developed by 1997: 12.3
who in turn cause more development. We used a simple • An average of 50 acres of trees are cleared
exponential growth formula where the finite rate of in- daily for development in metro Atlanta.
crease is the number of acres developed in 1992 divided • Atlantans drive 33.4 miles per capita daily
by the number of acres developed in 1982. The amount (fourth among major cities).
of land developed at time t is • Thirteen Atlanta metro counties are violating
A1992(lambda)t federal air pollution standards.
where A1992 is the developed area in 1992 and t is the • Seventeen metro counties have no public
number of 10-year intervals from 1992. …We recognize transportation.
that in reality land protection and other countervailing • Temperatures reach 12 degrees higher in most
forces will slow development before all presently under- paved areas of Atlanta—a result of the so-called
developed land in developed. Nonetheless, our estimate “heat-island” effect.
of time until complete development gives a good indi- • 1,000,000 metro Atlantans use septic tanks—
cation of the extent of development threat in a state and the highest of any major US city. There are no new
shows that present development rates are unsustainable sewer hookups allowed in parts of the fast-growing
over the long term. Data is from the US Bureau of north Fulton County.
Census.” (Noss and Peters 1995) (Sources: Auchmutey 2001, Center on Urban and
3 (26,584 x 12) / 14 = 22,786 Metropolitan Policy 2000, USDA 1997)
4 Now that we have proposed estimates of site density

and loss in two areas of Georgia, we must emphasize the http://www.atlantaregional.com/movers/about

strengths and weaknesses of those results and the process _region.html, accessed April 30.
we used to obtain them. We cannot stress enough that Auchmutey, Jim
these calculations do not provide an exact measure- 2001 Atlanta Stretches Further Than the Eye Can
ment, but are used as a rough estimate of the magnitude See. Atlanta Journal-Constitution 1 April.
of destruction of our archaeological resources. First, in Bennett, Tom, and Cynthia Renfro
discussing site density, we include only data from the 1997 Managing Sprawl. In Managing Sprawl, edited by
Piedmont. That means we did not examine the results Tom Bennett and Cynthia Renfro, inside front cover.
from archaeological survey in river bottoms, the Coastal Turner Foundation, Atlanta.
Plain, or the mountain regions of Georgia. All have dif- Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy
ferent site densities than the Piedmont. Also, we exam- 2000 Moving Beyond Sprawl: The Challenge for Metropoli-
tan Atlanta. Brookings Institution, Washington, DC.
ined relatively small areas of land. If we had the survey
Chapman, Dan
results to calculate site density from a larger area, the
2001 Georgia: While Suburbs Boomed Fewer Rural
site density numbers could be higher or lower. Still, we
Areas Saw Losses in ’90s. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
do have confidence that our estimates reflect the actual 23 March:H1.
site density across the Piedmont. Finally, the figures that Conley, Larry
we propose in this article can not be extrapolated across 2000 Poll Identifies Sprawl as a National Concern.
the state, as we know different parts of Georgia were Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 23 October, B-3, Atlanta.
occupied with more or less intensity throughout the pre- Downs, Anthony
historic and historic past. 1998 The Costs of Sprawl and Alternative Forms of
Growth. Paper presented at Transportation Research
References Cited Conference, Minneapolis. 19 May.
Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Duany, Andres, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck
2000 Outlook 2000: Atlanta Region. Atlanta Regional 2000 Surburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline
Commission, Atlanta. of the American Dream. North Point Press, New York.
2001 Housing Units by Structure Type: April 1, 2000. Elliott, Daniel T.
1981 Finch’s Survey. Early Georgia 9:14–24.
• Sprawl and the Destruction of Georgia’s Archaeological Sites • Harris and Smith • 75

2000 Some Observations on Archaeological Survey in pology Department, University of Georgia, Athens.
Georgia. Ms. on file. Georgia Council of Professional Rutherford, Susan
Archaeologists, Atlanta. 2001 Blueprints: Finding Better Ways for Communities
Freer, Jennifer to Grow. Panorama (Newsletter of the Georgia Conser-
1989 Archaeological Settlement Patterns in Oglethorpe vancy) 31(2; March–April):1, 4–5.
County, Georgia. MA thesis. Anthropology Depart- Smith, Gita
ment, University of Georgia, Athens. 1999 Georgia Third in Loss of Green Space to Sprawl.
McCosh, John Atlanta Journal-Constitution 7 December:C8.
2000 Growth Puts Area near 4 Million People: Turner, R.E.
Atlanta’s Pace Trailed Only LA in the 1990s. Atlanta 1997 Foreword. In Managing Sprawl, edited by Tom
Journal-Constitution 20 October:D1. Bennett and Cynthia Renfro, p. 1. Turner Founda-
Noss, Reed, and Robert Peters tion, Atlanta.
1995 Endangered Ecosystems: A Status Report on Ameri- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
ca's Vanishing Habitat and Wildlife. Electronic docu- 1997 National Resources Inventory. US Government
ment, http://www.defenders.org/pubs/eco01.html, Printing Office, Washington, DC.
accessed April 30. Williams, Mark
Pluckhan, Thomas 2000 Archaeological Site Distributions in Georgia:
1994 The Evolution of Settlement and Land Use in Jack- 2000. Early Georgia 28(1):1–55.
son and Madison Counties, Georgia. MA thesis. Anthro-
• 77

The Future of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources

Transforming Citizens into Defenders

by Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris

In a sense, this article is the heart of this issue of to discuss, and then implement, far-reaching
Early Georgia. It discusses the uncertain future of changes in the policies, processes, and preconcep-
our fragile and besieged archaeological resources. tions that govern the protection and research of
The preceding articles effectively foreshadow the our archaeological record.
theme discussed here. They also provide consider-
able detail on various aspects of this discussion. Basic Assumptions
Nevertheless, we hope this article also stands alone The following are some essential assumptions
and will invigorate discussions about the preserva- about the nature of archaeological resources and
tion and conservation of our endangered her- the processes used to glean meaning from them.
itage—objects and information representing thou- • Our archaeological resources are fragile, valu-
sands of years and hundreds of thousands of lives able, important, and irreplaceable.
that came before us. In a best-case scenario, this • The archaeological record belongs to all peo-
article will spur individuals to convert discussions ple for all time.
into action. Only time will tell if it achieves that • Site destruction due to massive changes in
goal. land use is accelerating.
• Only a very few archaeological sites currently
Are You a Defender? are protected by law.
In writing this article, we envision our readers as • Only by understanding an extremely broad
falling into one of two categories of people: sample of archaeological sites (more than already
Defenders of Archaeological Data and Resources, have been recorded and analyzed) can researchers
aka DADARs—or Defenders for short—and those obtain a detailed understanding of the past.
who might become Defenders. If you are concerned • In the future, techniques that have not yet
about preserving our heritage, you’re a Defender. If been invented will be able to extract information
you’re a Society for Georgia Archaeology (SGA) researchers are presently unable to tease from
member, you are definitely a Defender. If you archaeological resources. (Prior to the develop-
aren’t, join! Become a Defender! ment of radiocarbon dating techniques, for
Whether you are a Defender or not, we ask you instance, archaeologists did not think they would
to consider what can be done to foster preservation have a way to know with a fair degree of precision
of Georgia’s archaeological resources. Should exist- how long ago a house was built or burned.)
ing programs be enhanced? Should entirely new
programs be created? Basic Archaeological Data
None of us can stop Georgia’s rampant develop- Other articles in this issue discuss the important
ment, even if we want to. We can, however, begin information contained in an archaeological site, in
78 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

its related artifacts, and in its relationship to other ing from the objects and features that the archae-
archaeological resources. That important informa- ologists find and record in the field, is the final step
tion includes where the site is, when was it occu- in the archaeological process. This step is the heart
pied and for how long, who lived there, and what of archaeological research. After exiting the field,
archaeologists spend an enormous
amount of time counting, measuring, and
analyzing artifacts, structuring data, pos-
ing questions, testing hypotheses, and
making knowledgeable interpretations
from the data. This does not finish the
job, as the researcher then must commu-
nicate the final results of the project to
colleagues and the public. Indeed, some
archaeologists believe that public educa-
tion is one of the most overlooked obli-
gations professional archaeologists face.
Thus, generating basic archaeological
data is only part of archaeology.
Developing hypotheses about what those
Sometimes archaeologists quickly wash artifacts in the field to see what they have
found before they leave the site. These sherds came from the Etowah Valley. data mean are among the most complex
issues the archaeologist (as a social scien-
their activities were. Those are the fundamental tist) grapples with. Archaeologists seek to under-
data on the mind of an archaeologist when she does stand very complex social processes, and how they
research. These do not comprise the entire scope of varied over time and across space. Then, the
archaeological enquiry, but they do form the foun- responsible archaeologist completes a report on the
dation of field research. Indeed, the basic building field data; that report, then, forms a part of our
blocks of archaeological data are derived from two national patrimony (Drennan 2001).
kinds of investigations:
• During an archaeological survey, researchers Problems Facing
examine the landscape to find evidence of past use Archaeological Preservation Today
of distinct locales (sites). Then, they seek to deter- Unrecorded basic archaeological data only will
mine the size of a site and when it was used. If the continue to be available if effective archaeological
land is vegetated, researchers may use small subsur- preservation programs exist and are implemented.
face (shovel) tests as “windows” into the soil, to see Georgia does have some good programs today,
if artifacts can be found. If the ground surface is not however, there are problems with those programs.
obscured, archaeologists will walk back and forth The principal problems are:
in a systematic manner, looking for visible artifacts. • inadequate protective measures—(laws) that are
They examine blocks of land that may be as small usually curative and based on salvage archaeology,
as a field or extend across thousands of acres. instead of proactive and preventative.
Artifacts do not have to be collected in an archae- • inadequate use of archaeologists in the planning
ological survey. process—projects often do not use archaeologists to
• Excavation of archaeological sites, when done help design and plan land modification projects,
in a detailed, systematic way, recovers amazing etc. Indeed, it is sometimes very difficult to judge
amounts of information about our hidden heritage. when it is appropriate and cost-effect to excavate
Archaeologists do not make the choice to excavate an archaeological resource, and when it is wisest to
lightly, because excavations can never be replicat- avoid it (which often entails another set of costs);
ed or repeated. There is only one chance to dig a • inadequate or non-existent funding—this means
site, and to recover the maximum information it goals set forth for interpretation, outreach, and
has to offer. even research must often be overlooked by govern-
Understanding the basic data, or pulling mean- ment agencies and other institutions because of
• The Future of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources • Smith and Harris • 79

low staffing levels, and inadequate funds for main- Ideas for Change
tenance of existing programs, development of new In general, we propose several avenues of
programs, and even travel; approach. Some ideas aim to increase the number
• limited public awareness and appreciation for of Defenders across the state by boosting awareness
archaeological resource protection and existing of archaeological issues. Other ideas bolster or
protective laws. expand existing programs. We have modeled yet
• limited opportunities for problem-oriented research other strategies on those employed successfully by
that might illuminate long-standing questions organizations seeking to improve natural resource
about the past, and a lack of comprehensive syn- protection. We believe the problems and difficul-
theses of large bodies of data (notwithstanding the ties with expanding archaeological resource preser-
state’s Archaeological Research Design Papers and vation often parallel those they encountered, and
articles like Williams 2000). hope to learn from their experiences. We propose
None of these are problems that can be solved that THINKING BIG will be more successful if a vari-
easily or inexpensively. None will be affected if ety of lines of attack are used simultaneously.
Defenders do not THINK BIG, and lay the ground-
work for change. Clearinghouse
Communication and access to information is
New Directions for Georgia Archaeology essential to any endeavor and, in the preservation
Now, let’s consider the “next steps” those con- field, where being understaffed and overworked is
cerned for the future of Georgia’s archaeological the norm, it is fundamental. What can archaeolog-
resources might take. In doing so, we are not pre- ical preservationists do to make information col-
senting these ideas as a template for change, or a lection and assimilation more effective and effi-
laundry list to be checked off.
Many, if not all, of the issues and
ideas we mention here may already
be under discussion by SGA, by
Georgia’s principal agency for
archaeological and historical
resource preservation, the Depart-
ment of Natural Resources’ Historic
Preservation Division (HPD), and
by others. Indeed, all existing
efforts are important, vital, and
appreciated. We seek only to
increase that momentum. The
present forward movement
includes the increased profile of the
Office of the State Archaeologist, a
revitalized SGA, stronger political
advocacy from the Georgia
Council of Professional Archaeolo-
gists, and more and stronger legisla- The yard of this historic home in Madison is an unreported archaeological site.
tion for archaeological resource
protection. Our aim now is to encourage a wider cient? One solution is to create a central clearing-
dialogue that will lead to integrated activity among house of information that is easily accessible and
existing institutions and individuals. We hope such well organized. That information might include
a dialogue will increase the profile of cultural legislation briefs, site locations and descriptions,
resource protection in Georgia, resulting in the educational resources, and public outreach
preservation and recording of more archaeological resources. It should also function as a referral cen-
data. ter for other resources such as educational materi-
80 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

funding and staffing also be increased to all parts of

Get Your Hands Dirty and Get Involved! HPD. For instance, funds augmenting general his-
We invite your enthusiastic involvement in toric preservation and Civil War programs also
archaeological preservationists reach their goals. benefit archaeology, since historic research is
• Become an active participant, a Defender of improved and amplified if illuminated by archaeo-
Archaeological Data and Resources, aka Defender, logical data. Indeed, the buildings and landscapes
by spreading the word, by becoming a member of
valued by historic preservationists simultaneously
SGA, or by volunteering at your local museum or
historic site.
consist of archaeological resources.
• Contact your state and federal representatives Archaeological Data Collection and
and advocate for increased funding for national State-Wide Survey
parks, state historic preservation offices, and other
Historically, the accumulation of archaeological
archaeological programs.
• Demand tougher laws to protect your cultural information is slow but continuous. Over the past
heritage. fifty years, we have added, bit by bit, data to the
• Encourage a strong archaeology component in existing archaeological database. The more than
curriculums in local schools. 35,000 sites recorded at the GASF (Williams 2000,
• Learn more about the past by visiting historic personal communication 2001), for example, have
and prehistoric interpretive sites, taking classes, resulted from survey after survey and the work of
attending local SGA presentations and demonstra- hundreds of individuals. Yet, with the changing
tions, and volunteering on archaeological projects. pace of development, that slow, opportunistic data
• If you are a private landowner, take seriously
collecting is no longer viable.
the idea of a cultural resources inventory. Call the
It is no longer viable because resources on pri-
Georgia Archaeological Site File in Athens (706-
542-8737) for help in filling out a site form when vate land are left vulnerable by current legislation.
you find artifacts on your property, or see their web These are the thousands of sites that are open to
page at http://quat.dac.uga.edu/gasf/. See page 41 the irreversible impact of development, looting,
for details. and other destructive forces, yet hold invaluable
Become a Defender! Get involved with archaeology, archaeological information for all of us.
you never know what you might discover! It is not that archaeological data from privately
owned lands are completely unknown. Indeed,
als produced by the SGA, the Society for some private landowners (including foundations)
American Archaeology, the Society for Historical do, in fact, report sites and their associated artifact
Archaeology, the Archaeological Institute of assemblages to the GASF. Additionally, archaeolo-
America, websites, museums, researchers, cultural gists occasionally conduct research on private land,
resource management (CRM) firms, government but those opportunities tend to be few.
agencies, and other individuals and institutions. We think the inability to consistently obtain
Fortunately, HPD has begun to build such a information about archaeological resources on pri-
clearinghouse of information. For instance, HPD vate land, or to help protect those resources (if
partially supports the Georgia Archaeological Site desired by the landowner), is the weakest link in
File (GASF), and also curates state-owned artifact the pursuit of a comprehensive understanding of
collections, archives compliance reports, maintains Georgia’s past. A state-wide survey, on both public
a library of educational materials, manages files and private lands, is the most potent weapon in the
relating to legislation and planning, directs indi- battle to preserve that crucial information from the
viduals and organizations to the resources they archaeological record. While you may agree that
need, and acts as an outreach office for archaeolo- such a project is necessary, the enormity of both
gy in Georgia. Nevertheless, it is a political reality the physical project and the concept in general
that there are many hungry fish in the same pond may overwhelm any sense of actually accomplish-
as HPD’s Archaeology Services Unit, and HPD ing such a goal. The compilation of such basic
monies cannot, and should not, be funded only to information as site locations, size, and type (small
its archaeological programs. Indeed, it is in the best village, hunting camp, flint quarry, etc.), means
interests of Georgia’s archaeological resources that that even if large areas undergo extensive land
• The Future of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources • Smith and Harris • 81

altering activities, we have preserved meaningful cussions with collectors and brief examinations of
material not only for current research, but also for their artifacts, archaeologists can obtain basic data
future study. about archaeological sites—location, periods of
use, and site size. Unfortunately, if the collector
Artifact Collector Surveys
passes on, such information is often lost. To allevi-
While private collections are sometimes donat- ate this problem, archaeologists recommend that
ed to museums, archaeologists have greater success surface collectors draw maps of where they find
obtaining the important information such collec- items, and place the objects in labeled bags that
tions contain by systematically interviewing col- correspond to the maps.
lectors and examining and photographing their SGA has recently renewed its interest in system-
collections. Such endeavors yield important infor- atically seeking collectors to examine their collec-
mation, sometimes about sites that no longer exist. tions and add information about them to the state-
Often collectors are apprehensive that archaeol- wide database.
ogists will “take their collections,” but this is not
so. Instead, archaeologists are interested in infor- Stewardship Program
mation, not the artifacts. Collectors often focus on An informed, supportive, diverse public is one of
“whole points” and large potsherds; both, due to the most effective ways to assure broad-spectrum
stylistic details, tend to reveal when the site they archaeological resource protection. Some of the
came from was occupied. Most collectors remem- best examples of focused public involvement are
ber where they found individual artifacts, which is state-wide stewardship programs, like that in
very important to archaeologists. Thus, from dis- Arizona. In addition to instilling a sense of shared

Stewards of the Past: An Arizona Solution

The challenge to increase public involvement in 6. To promote better understanding and cooperation
site protection is real and constant, but there are among agencies, organizations, and individuals con-
model programs for Georgians to consider. For cerned about the preservation of cultural resources.
instance, Arizona has created a powerful volunteer- 7. To enhance the completeness of the statewide
based organization to help preserve its archaeological archaeological and paleontological inventory.
and paleontological resources. In addition to reporting damaged or looted sites,
The Arizona Site Steward Program is sponsored by Stewards may also:
the public land managers of Arizona and Tribal gov- • Act as a liaison between local communities and
ernments. Its volunteers, or Stewards, are selected, the SHPO.
trained and certified by the State Historic Preserva- • Document archaeological and paleontological
tion Office and the Archaeology Advisory Commis- sites in danger of vandalism, destruction, or deteriora-
sion. Their mission is to report any destruction or tion.
vandalism of archaeological or paleontological sites in • Document and photograph sites not previously
Arizona through site monitoring. Stewards are also recorded.
involved in public education and outreach. • Monitor construction activities to see if buried
The following is a summary of their goals: sites are exposed.
1. To preserve major prehistoric, historic and paleonto- • Document private artifact collections.
logical resources for the purposes of conservation, sci- • Assist in activities such as surveys, mapping and
entific study, and interpretation. rock art recording.
2. To increase public awareness of the significance • Collect oral histories.
and value of cultural resources and the damage done • Present talks about the Steward Program or
by artifact hunters. preservation of heritage resources.
3. To discourage site vandalism and the sale and By investing in volunteers through training and
trade of antiquities. fieldwork, the Stewardship Program cultivates a
4. To support the adoption and enforcement of strong legion of knowledgeable activists to carry out
national, state, and local preservation laws and regula- preservation objectives. These Stewards make a cru-
tions. cial contribution to preserving their cultural heritage
5. To support and encourage high standards of cultur- by working closely with Federal, State, Tribal,
al resource investigation throughout the state. County, and Municipal agency archaeologists.
82 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

tralized program would streamline the

process of building an extensive educa-
tional program and make efficient use of
staffing resources. The goal of such a pro-
gram would be to turn citizens into
A well-planned series of lessons, field
excursions, and archaeological activities
held throughout the year—unified by a
common message regarding the meaning
and value of understanding our past—
would create a solid foundation in
archaeological education for all
Georgians. A beginning is SGA’s
Archaeology Week (now Month), cur-
rently the major extant program for
archaeological awareness in Georgia.
Nevertheless, this is a small program that
A visitor at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield near Marietta feels histo- operates with a minimum of funds and
ry come alive as he examines a cannon on the park grounds. no permanent staff; sadly, there is a limit
to what a committee of volunteers can
responsibility and appreciation for our archaeolog- accomplish.
ical resources, these programs provide a ready-
made educational setting to train Defenders in Production of Teaching Materials
responsible archaeological methods. For an outreach movement to be effective, the
Stewardship programs can be structured to general public will need access to archaeological
involve individuals and entire organizations. information that is compelling, exciting, and
Volunteers effectively become research and preser- understandable. SGA has long recognized that by
vation assistants to the limited number of profes- supplying basic, easy-to-use curriculum materials to
sionals already seeking to preserve archaeological teachers, they foster the efforts of many Defenders
resources. Finally, sites can be protected and cared to establish new cadres of young Defenders.
for by a group of concerned citizens, providing Intimately tied to an effective general education
those individuals with a sense of purpose and program is the need for high-quality, dynamic edu-
accomplishment, and directly linking them to the cational materials for teachers and students,
past. In the end, stewardship programs can provide including video, print, and CD-ROMs. The mate-
an active relationship between those of us living rials would be tied to the Quality Core Curriculum
today and those who lived and died long before; and Quality Basic Education objectives that
perhaps, that is its greatest contribution. Georgia teachers must cover. Connecting the two
is an easy task because archaeology is a multidisci-
State-Wide Education Program
plinary and allows students to learn many intangi-
Outreach and education are vital in the devel- bles, such as logic, reasoning, teamwork, and
opment of a new generation of archaeological research skills (see “Why is Archaeology Impor-
stewards and an important aspect to any cultural tant?,” this issue). Such products raise awareness of
resources management program, university with archaeology and disseminate accurate information
anthropology or archaeology courses, and any about archaeology, encouraging citizens to become
archaeologically related museum or government Defenders.
agency. Although many individuals, the HPD staff,
and SGA members and programs have done a Training Programs—Formal and Informal
tremendous job in educating Georgia’s citizens Defenders need not all seek advanced degrees to
about our archaeological heritage thus far, they effectively contribute to the research and preserva-
cannot accomplish this feat alone. Having a cen- tion of Georgia archaeology, but a broad, practical
• The Future of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources • Smith and Harris • 83

background in archaeological method and theory Train More Site Interpreters

should be available. Perhaps universities and col- By placing more educators, interpreters, and
leges could schedule more classes for those interest- archaeologists at State Parks and privately and
ed in more formal archaeological training, but not publicly owned historic sites, we improve the avail-
interested in obtaining a degree. Additionally, ability of archaeology to the general public. Such a
structured formal programs can give highly moti- strategy also creates Defenders. Traditionally,
vated and interested people the opportunity to be archaeologists have not had the skills or time to
thoroughly trained as amateur archaeologists, effec- bring the results of their research to the public in
tively extending the labors of the professionals who an interesting and easily understood format. But
supervise them. Arming individuals with even the recently this has changed, and apparently a shift is
basic skills and knowledge—how to complete a site underway as more archaeologists are involved in
form, prepare artifacts for analysis in the laboratory, public outreach to broad audiences.
or enter data for reports—makes a substantial dif- The staff at parks and historic sites provide an
ference. An increased number of well-trained effective means to reach and teach individuals of
hands and minds leads to better archaeological all ages and backgrounds—children and adults,
staffing and a greater base of support for archaeo- families and groups, tourists and international trav-
logical protection (Smardz and Smith 2000). elers. Defenders know that archaeological resources
Some of Georgia’s institutions of higher learning are almost everywhere in Georgia; active Defenders
do offer courses and training that help prepare can let others in on the secret and invite them to
undergraduates to become archaeological techni- share their knowledge and passion for the past.
cians for CRM firms. If these programs were bol-
stered, Georgia would have more archaeologists Public-Private Partnerships
trained in-state. Although some of these new Increasingly, many successful quality-of-life
archaeologists would undoubtedly seek employ- changes develop in communities and across the
ment outside of Georgia, an influx of in-state grad- nation from public-private partnerships. Such part-
uates would benefit archaeological preservation. nerships remove the burden of funding and organ-
ization from the tax-base, and shift it to interested
Excavations Allowing Volunteer Participation and committed individuals and organizations in
Excavations refine our knowledge of the past by the private sector. They also can increase the
showcasing responsible archaeological practices. potential for action and the speed at which new
Inviting public participation under the direction of policies can be implemented.
a professional archaeologist gives well-
monitored groups the opportunity to
experience archaeology. When people
get involved in the hands-on work of
archaeology, they readily realize what
tremendous information can flow from
the soil around them. Opportunities for
such participation create a passionate,
committed corps of supporters—a new
group of Defenders!
Archaeologists, however, only reluc-
tantly excavate archaeological sites.
Instead, they prefer preservation in
place, or leaving sites as they are. Sites
threatened with disturbance or destruc-
tion, when that threat cannot be
removed, are ideal candidates for exca-
vation projects in which members of the
public can participate. This elegant wall with archways and elaborate decorations is in the Historic
District on Jekyll Island.
84 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

their core program. Prior to

1995, in each funding cycle,
the NTHP devoted signifi-
cant staff efforts to obtain
funding anew. Instead, the
NTHP took an entrepreneur-
ial approach to raising funds.
Through partnerships with
individuals and organizations
that act as co-stewards,
NTHP successfully increased
its revenue by a remarkable
15%, in staffing, programs,
and services over the last five
As Elliott (this issue) has
pointed out, SGA has
Historic standing structures come in a variety of sizes and shapes. This is a private home
known as Passaquan, not far from Columbus; it is open most days to visitors for a small fee. reached a more sophisticated
awareness—indeed an eye-
opening realization—that there is a diverse world
The National Trust for Historic Preservation of sponsors and supporters it has yet to target in
(NTHP), for example, after losing half of its feder- efforts at promoting a healthy archaeological
al funding allocation, realized it needed a new future. A strong, concerted effort to take full
strategy. In 1995, the NTHP made an unprece- advantage of new sources of support is no less than
dented decision to give up federal allocations for a prerequisite to moving forward.
Partnerships with Like-Minded Organizations
A Case for Cooperation To increase awareness of archaeology and sensi-
Unifying historic preservation and the environ- tize Georgians to the issue of a seriously threatened
ment almost succeeded in 2000 after The Georgia cultural heritage, thereby creating Defenders, we
Trust, The Georgia Conservancy, The Nature must join forces with other organizations and
Conservancy, and other groups worked together to efforts already underway. Defenders can find ready-
support the Heritage Fund (Saporta 1999). The made constituencies in environmental conserva-
Fund would be used to purchase endangered his- tionists and historic preservationists; we need only
toric properties that are then sold to individuals make our archaeologically oriented voice heard.
who are committed to preserving them. The groups Individuals who support natural resource conserva-
supported a referendum that would have increased
tion, for example, will no doubt share values and
the real estate transfer tax and directed those pro-
ceeds into the Fund. The referendum failed but the concerns with Defenders working to preserve what
partnerships created to fight for its passage have remains of our cultural environment. It is also time
only become stronger. well-spent reviewing the successes and failures of
Although more initiatives are necessary, the similar organizations and programs, so that
environmental movement is making substantial Defenders need not “reinvent the wheel” in their
headway in the struggle to protect the world’s nat- efforts. Making the most of different skills and
ural resources for future generations. Its use of vari- expertise, sharing experience and energy, strength-
ous tools, from grassroots advocacy to legislative ens each partner and makes each a qualitatively
policy, has brought endangered species, biological better organization.
niches, and entire regions back from the edge of
near annihilation. There is a lesson for the archae- Fostering Partnerships with
ological community here: we must become actively the Native American Community
involved if we want our message heard and our Recently, archaeologists and Native Americans
resources preserved.
have been slowly building a working relationship
• The Future of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources • Smith and Harris • 85

to promote preservation of archaeological efits to the areas close to heritage sites. The chal-
resources. Although each group values the lenge is to encourage tourism without sacrificing
resources for different reasons, stronger preserva- the special character of the place tourists seek to
tion laws and policies are a common goal. Both visit, hence the term “sustainable tourism.”
groups advocate stronger protection for our hidden
heritage, and can continue to work closely to pro-
duce effective, long-term plans for archaeological The above discussion is, as we said, is not a for-
resource management. mula for changes that would benefit archaeological
awareness and preservation. Many other tactics
Developing Tax Incentives might be employed. Here is one idea that satisfies
In other states, tax incentives have proven an the “THINK BIG” approach that Elliott describes in
effective tool in improving conservation by her article on SGA: get the state to issue license plates
landowners of both natural and archaeological for archaeological preservation, like the wildlife plates
resources. However, any discussion of tax incen- that are so popular.
tives is politically charged, and they are very com- We challenge you Defenders to THINK BIG. What
plicated to implement. To begin discussions of tax ideas do you have? Please send your ideas to the
incentives for Georgia’s archaeological resources, SGA President, or attend the next SGA meeting
preservationists must become conversant in broad (they’re held twice a year at locations around the
political issues in Georgia today. state) and speak up!
Promotion of Sustainable Tourism
A Final Word
Archaeological and historical sites have the
As guest editors and authors, we hope that this
power to draw tremendous numbers of visitors.
issue of Early Georgia helps to clarify basic concep-
And, when people travel, they spend money—they
tions of what archaeology is and why it is impor-
buy food and meals, they need overnight lodging,
tant, and put that understanding in the context of
and they buy other items. Such purchases provide
our fast-changing, modern world. We thought this
an inflow of cash into a local economy. They also
discussion timely and important because of the
stimulate employment. These are tremendous ben-
tremendous, ever-increasing threat to the archaeo-
logical record by land-disturbing activities and the
Food for Thought: Ecology and Government enormous loss of self-knowledge that all Georgians,
Growing concern with ecological issues has led indeed all Americans, face.
to the development of conservationist watchdogs To help you understand the type of action we
and lobby groups, more informed public opinion, believe is necessary, compare the ideas listed here
and the establishment of government regulatory to two modern examples aimed at documenting
bodies. Yet governments are generally unwilling to human knowledge and experience. In one Works
take stringent action or even adequately to consid-
Progress Administration project, a massive, feder-
er long-term negative environmental impacts. It is
feared that what might be learned would indicate
ally funded initiative that provided thousands of
the need for controls that would interfere with jobs during the Depression of the 1930s, writers
short-term economic goals which might enhance a and researchers interviewed elderly informants in
government’s chances of remaining in office. Few the southern US, including Native Americans and
democratic governments are prepared to think African Americans, to record their memories,
beyond the next election. Despite efforts by eco- experiences, and testimonies. In a similar vein, his-
logical lobbies, ecological issues are rarely high torians are currently traveling the globe, seeking
enough on the public agenda to have a significant out and interviewing Holocaust survivors before
impact on politics. In state-managed economies the they pass away. Historians know that they have
desire to promote development for military and
only ten to twenty years to complete that endeav-
political reasons has resulted in economic decisions
repeatedly being made without adequate study of
or and feel a weighty responsibility to future gener-
environmental impacts or opportunities for objec- ations. In such situations, researchers race against
tions to be voiced at the local level. the clock, and human mortality, to collect and
—Bruce G. Trigger (1998:197–198) record precious information before it disappears
86 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

forever. Archaeologists find themselves in the same eration, creation and change.
position, but with a larger database and without Some activities involve individual choices and
the institutions or funding to carry out that task. action—for instance, a Defender reaching out to
It is here that we ask for your help. If Georgians recruit new Defenders—and some involve creating
develop successful programs that transform con- new organizational structures—a clearinghouse
cerned and responsible citizens into Defenders of and a state-wide survey. Both require the nurturing,
Archaeological Data and Resources, there will be a support, and involvement of Defenders.
substantial force to advocate for strong policy, Archaeology is a voice for all of us, and all of us
funding, legislation, and support for programs to must find our voice for archaeology.
collect, record, interpret, and archive archaeologi-
cal data. References Cited
We are not suggesting that every site be pre- Drennan, Robert D.
served or excavated, or that all development in 2001 Information as Patrimony: Where are the Results
Georgia be stopped. Instead, we ask for a reason- of Archaeological Research? In Archaeological Research
ably rapid and comprehensive response to massive and Heritage Preservation in the Americas, pp. 10–25.
Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC.
changes to Georgia’s landscape and the devastating Saporta, Maria
toll that takes on the archaeological record. That 1999 Historic Preservation Hailed as a Solution to
response, if it includes collection of wide-ranging What Ails Georgia. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
archaeological data, will create a comprehensive February 8:E1. Atlanta.
archive of information for use and research both Smardz, Karolyn, and Shelly J. Smith (editors)
now and in the future, providing opportunities to 2000 The Archaeology Education Handbook: Sharing the
Past with Kids. AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, CA.
interpret that data to a diverse public audience
Trigger, Bruce G.
through various formats. 1998 Sociocultural Evolution: Calculation and Contin-
• The first step is awareness and discussion. We gency. Blackwell Press, Oxford.
hope this series sparks both. Williams, Mark
• The next step, implementation, will involve 2000 Archaeological Site Distributions in Georgia:
varying degrees of institutional alliance and coop- 2000. Early Georgia 28(1):1–55.
• 87

Jargon Commonly Used by Archaeologists

A Glossary of Terms

by Jennifer Freer Harris

aborigine—of, or pertaining to. an original or native basketry—baskets or other items made from woven
inhabitant of a region. fibers or other flexible materials, the art of making
absolute dating techniques—the methods that deter- baskets.
mine when an event occurred in calendar years band—an egalitarian form of social organization, based
(before the present). on kinship and marriage.
ad—like AD, but indicates uncorrected radiocarbon biface—a stone tool, such as a projectile point, that has
dates. been modified on both sides
AD—from the Latin anno domini, designates the period blade—a long, thin flake.
after year 1 in the Christian or Gregorian calendar. bc—before Christ, for uncorrected radiocarbon dates.
agriculture—the intensive cultivation of soil and pro- BC—before Christ in the Christian or Gregorian calen-
duction of crops, farming. dar, the period before year 1
anthropology—the study of humans and their cultural BP—designation for years before present; 1950 is the
behavior from a holistic perspective, involving the year from which BP dates are calculated.
following four sub-fields: archaeology, cultural cache—a set of artifacts placed aside and intended for
anthropology, linguistics, and physical anthropology. later use.
archaeological record— the material remains of past Cartesian coordinate system—a three dimensional
human activities, including any features or alteration coordinate system in which the coordinates of a point
of the landscape. are its distances from each of three intersecting per-
archaeological site—a place where past human activity pendicular planes along lines parallel to the other
took place and material remains were left behind. two.
Archaic—a New World cultural period, about 10,000– ceramics—pottery.
3000 BP, marked by a mobile hunting/gathering life chiefdom—a form of human social organization that
and a mostly egalitarian social organization. incorporates multiple communities into one social
archaeological resources—artifacts, sites, their contexts unit that has, as a basic part of its structure, institu-
within the physical and cultural environments and tionalized differences in social status (ranking).
the information that can be garnered from them. chronology—the arrangement of cultures or events in
archaeology—the study of past human culture by ana- time.
lyzing the material remains (sites and artifacts) peo- clan—a social unit tracing descent from a common
ple left behind. ancestor.
artifact—any object made, modified, or used by humans. classification—a system of arranging artifacts into groups
assemblage—a group of artifacts found together and or categories according to certain set of criteria.
were used at the same time for similar tasks. commensal—a relationship in which two or more
atlatl—an early weapon that increased both the force organisms (e.g. humans and mice) live in close asso-
and distance that a spear could be thrown, used pri- ciation and in which one may derive benefit from the
marily for large game. other, but neither harms the other.
attribute—a characteristic of an artifact, such as size, compliance project—an archaeological project, involv-
shape, or color. ing survey and possibly excavation, as required by law.
88 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

context—the location or placement of an artifact, fea- duced and/or modified artifacts and sites.
ture, or site, including its relationship to other arti- feature—evidence at archaeological sites which are not
facts, features, and or surrounding environment. structures. Examples of features include fire pits or
core—(in lithics) nucleus of stone from which flakes hearths, trash pits, post holes from structures, wells,
have been removed. and burials.
cultural anthropology—the study of modern humans field notes—the written materials, including notes,
and their learned behaviors and culture. drawings, sketches, etc. that an archaeologist takes
cultural resource management (CRM)—in general, during a field project. They are often held (curated)
this term applies to the recording and investigation of just like artifacts.
archaeological sites uncovered or impacted by public flake—debris from stone tool making that may or may
construction and engineering projects. not be used as a tool.
culture—the set of learned beliefs and behaviors shared, flintknapper (knapper)—a person who makes stone
and passed on, by the members of a society. tools.
culture history—the descriptive who, where, and when funerary objects—goods, either everyday or exotic, that
of a particular culture. are placed in a burial. They often signify the status of
cuneiform—an early form of writing used in their owner (leader, shaman, mother, husband, etc.).
Mesopotamia from the third to the first millennium geographic information systems (GIS)—a computer
BC, consisting of symbols carved into clay using a system that records, stores and analyzes information
reed tool. about the earth’s geographical features. The database
curate (curation)—to preserve and protect an item is organized in layers, which represent different types
(e.g., artifacts) in perpetuity. of information (like soil and topography). Those lay-
debitage—the stone debris resulting from making stone ers (you can have as many as up to 100 or so) can be
tools. Some of the debris may be used as tools them- compared or totaled selectively to see how different
selves. features or variables relate to one another.
dendrochronology—dating technique based on the geology—the study of the origin, structure and history
number and variation in tree rings. There is one ring of the earth.
for each year of growth and specific climatic changes global positioning system (GPS)—satellite technology
will be evident in thickness of ring. Dendrochronolo- used to pinpoint ground locations when doing field-
gists compare the growth rings from many trees or work, including to make accurate, detailed maps, or
wood found on archaeological sites to make a com- for locating existing archaeological sites.
bined plot of ring thickness that stretches back many gourd—an early plant domesticate in the SE US, in the
centuries. By comparing tree-ring dates with radio- pumpkin, squash, and cucumber family. It was used
carbon dates, scientists realized that radiocarbon more for its vessel/utensil characteristics when dried,
dates need to be calibrated, to reflect calendar dates. than for food.
depositional factors—effects, either natural (like flood- grid—uniformly spaced squares that divides a site into
ing) or human-induced (like plowing), on the mate- units; used to measure and record provenience.
rial remains and features of the archaeological record. ground penetrating radar (GPR)—a remote sensing
They must be taken into consideration before any device that sends a radar pulse deep into the soil,
interpretation or dating of a site can occur. allowing the archaeologist to interpret the anomalies
De Soto—Hernando De Soto was one of the first Euro- or images that are detected.
pean explorers traveling into the interior of the South- historic—the portion of the past defined by the pres-
eastern US (in the early 1500s). ence of written records.
diachronic—over time, through time. historic preservation—Besides being a social move-
diagnostic artifact—an item that indicates use during a ment aimed at preserving America’s heritage, it is
particular period or by a certain group. more formally defined as the process of sustaining the
ecology—the study of the relationships between organ- form and extent of historic properties; also see preser-
isms (here, humans) and their environment. vation.
ethnography—a descriptive study or report, using com- holism—an approach used by anthropologists that
parative information from modern culture, of early or emphasizes the whole rather than parts of human
technologically primitive society. society, including the physical and cultural influences
excavation—the systematic, planned digging of a site in on human behavior.
order to obtain information about the past society horticulture—the cultivation of fruits, vegetables and
that lived there. flowers, gardening
experimental archaeology—investigations designed to ice age—any of a series of cold periods marked by alter-
uncover the natural or man-made processes that pro- nating periods of glaciation and warming.
• Jargon Commonly Used by Archaeologists • Harris and Smith • 89

impact— any effect on the archaeological record, in mound. In some cases, the leader, or chief, would
most cases this term is used to describe the damage construct his house on top of the mound. When he
construction or other development projects makes on died, the house was burned, to be covered with a new
archaeological resources. cap of earth and a new house.
Indian—see Native American. Native American—a member of the aboriginal peoples
in situ—the original placement of an artifact or feature of North and South America, or pertaining to their
encountered during survey or excavation. culture.
kill site—a location where an animal or animals were Neolithic—a prehistoric period generally characterized
killed and sometimes butchered. by the development of agriculture, use of ceramics
level—a layer of soil in an excavation, it can be meas- and the manufacture of technically advanced stone
ured in regular units (e.g., every 10 cm) or may corre- tools.
spond to natural strata. New World—geographical area that includes North,
Central, and South America, and the Caribbean.
obsidian hydration—a dating technique that measures
the amount of water molecules absorbed on the fresh
surface of obsidian artifacts.
Old World—geographical areas including Europe, Asia,
and Africa.
Paleoindian—a cultural period from about 12,000–
10,000 BP characterized by cooperative hunting and
high mobility of small groups (bands) of people. This
is the first widely identifiable culture in the New
paleolithic—the earliest designated cultural period (Old
World) beginning about 750,000 years ago, charac-
This is the Nacoochee Mound, near Helen. Many place terized by the first chipped stone tools.
names used around Georgia are from Native American lan- paleontology—the study of fossil remains of plants and
guages, like the word “Nacoochee.” animals.
paleobotany—the study of fossil or ancient plant remains.
lithics—stone fashioned into artifacts, or used as tools. political economy—system of economics and political
linguistics—the study of language and culture and their structure within a particular culture.
interaction. physical anthropology—the study of human and other
looter—a person who illegally collects artifacts or primate behavior, evolution and adaptation.
destroys archaeological resources; many do this to post hole—a hole that is dug to receive an upright tim-
make a profit. ber for a building, wall, or other structure. As the
material remains—any artifacts, features or other items structure decays, traces of the posts are left in the soil,
used or produced by humans. usually seen as a stain (the post) within a stain (the
midden—an area used for trash disposal. hole), if well preserved (see feature).
Mississippian—a prehistoric period in the Southeastern potassium-argon dating—a technique used to date
US, from about AD 900–1540, characterized by peo- material remains based on the rate at which radioac-
ples who practiced maize agriculture, lived in chief- tive potassium reverts to argon when it decays; useful
doms, had populous villages, and constructed earthen on remains that are too old to be dated by radiocar-
mounds. bon (e.g., more than 50,000 years old).
mitigation—the excavation of a site to obtain archaeo- pot hunter—someone who takes artifacts from sites for
logical information before it is destroyed by a con- non-scientific reasons, such as to add to their collec-
struction project or other development. Mitigation tion or to sell. Pot hunting on federal and most state
removes the significant information a site that is eli- lands is illegal.
gible for listing in the National Register of Historic potsherd or sherd—a broken piece of pottery.
Places has, so that the site may be destroyed or dis- prehistoric—the period of time before written records;
turbed without the significant information it contains the prehistoric period varies from region to region.
being lost. Pre-Paleoindian (also Pre-Clovis)—refers to aboriginal
mound—an earthen structure, constructed by humans occupations of the New World that date to the time
through one or periodic episodes. For example, many before Clovis. Although somewhat controversial in
mounds in the SE US are burial mounds. After each American archaeology, evidence is mounting that
burial a fresh cap of earth was added to the existing humans occupied the Americas before Clovis times.
90 • Early Georgia • volume 29, number 1 •

preservation—the act of maintaining the form and site steward—a volunteer who watches a site, reports on
integrity of a structure as it presently exists, and halt- any activity such as vandalism and looting, and assists
ing any further deterioration or decay. It does not archaeologists and land owners in preserving it.
include any significant rebuilding. sociocultural—pertaining to social institutions and cul-
primitive technologist—a specialist in the manual arts ture.
and skills of the past; someone who can replicate and sociopolitical—pertaining to political structures and
often interpret use of by-gone technologies. culture.
projectile point/knife (PP/K)—a term encompassing sociology—the study of human social behavior and
the stone points that were attached to spears or institutions, especially that of the modern world.
arrows, or stone tools used as a knife. Early examples Stone Age—the earliest period of human culture, char-
are often erroneously termed arrowheads. acterized by the use of stone tools.
provenience, provenance—the exact location of an stone tool—an implement used in prehistoric cultures
artifact or feature within a site, based on its place- made from stone (see lithics).
ment in a grid and its depth below the ground surface. stratigraphy—the sequence of layers of soil and/or arti-
psychology—the science of mental processes and emo- facts on a site. If they are undisturbed, the more
tional behavior of humans. recent layers will lie above the older layers. The rela-
public archaeology—see CRM archaeology. tionship between the cultural deposits in the layers
radiocarbon dating—a method of dating organic mate- help the archaeologist understand what happened at
rial, which is based on the decay rate of radioactive a site over time.
carbon-14 atoms that are present in all living things strata—the layers of soil and artifacts in a site.
(humans, trees, etc.). By comparing tree-ring dates subsistence—the means through which humans make a
with radiocarbon dates, scientists realized that the daily living, usually referring to how they procure
radiocarbon dates drift, or need to be calibrated, to food.
reflect actual dates. survey—the systematic examination of the landscape
reconstruction—the process of describing, explaining for evidence of human activity, may be done by
and interpreting all facets of life of a previous cul- examining the ground surface for artifacts or digging
ture—from the ways people made a living, to the small probe holes (shovel tests).
clothes they wore, to the type of social organization of synchronic—during a single period of time.
which they were a part. The information for recon- taphonomy— the study of the processes that effect
struction often comes from detailed excavation, but is organic remains in the formation of fossils and
accumulated over time by all archaeologists. archaeological materials.
regional analysis—the study of entire cultures or politi- temper—a substance added to the clay when manufac-
cal units, especially through the investigation of set- turing pottery, usually to harden or strengthen the
tlement systems over a long period of time. material. Temper may be shell, crushed stone, sand,
relative dating techniques—methods that determine or other substances.
when an event occurred in relation to other events trade goods—items that were traded over sometimes
(before, simultaneous, after). very long distances prehistorically. They tell us about
relic—an object from a previous culture, an artifact relationships between cultures or peoples and often
rock shelter—a shallow cave on a cliff-face, some were ownership of these items carried prestige.
occupied for extensive periods of time prehistorically. tree-ring dates—see dendrochronology.
scraper—a stone tool designed for use in scraping hides, tribe—a generally egalitarian form of social organiza-
bones and other materials that has been flaked tion, with a more complex kinship system than a
(knapped) on one side. band, and having some temporary leadership roles.
sedentism—used to describe a social group’s lifeways in typology—the classification of a group of artifacts into
which members live in one place, and are not mobile types, and the study of their change through time, to
or migratory. help understand the development of human cultures.
seriation—a dating technique based on the popularity Woodland—a cultural period in the Southeastern US
cycle of cultural styles that allows archaeologists to from ca. 3000–1100 BP, characterized by increasing
place objects in a chronology. horticultural expertise, use of ceramics, and increas-
settlement systems—the distribution of humans across ing sedentism and social complexity when compared
the landscape and the cultural and physical variables to the previous Archaic period.
that affect that distribution. zooarchaeology—the study of animal remains from pre-
site—any area showing evidence of human activity as historic and historic sites.
revealed through artifacts and/or features.
Vo l u m e 2 9 , N u m b e r 1
R e s o u r c e s at R i s k : D e f e n d i n g G e o r g i a ’ s H i d d e n H e r i t ag e

Georgia’s Hidden Heritage at Risk

An Introduction
Charlotte A. Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

What is Archaeology?
How Exploring Our Past Enriches the Present
Jennifer Freer Harris and Charlotte A. Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Why is Archaeology Important?

Global Perspectives, Local Concerns
Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

An Introduction to the Prehistory of The Southeast

or, “They were Shootin ’em as Fast as They Could Make ’em…”
and Other Popular Misconceptions about the Precolumbian Southeast
Scott Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Archaeological Resource Protection in Georgia

Federal, State, and Local Legislation and Programs
Jennifer Freer Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

This Is Not Your Mother’s SGA

Rita Folse Elliott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Sprawl and the Destruction of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources

Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

The Future of Georgia’s Archaeological Resources

Transforming Citizens into Defenders
Charlotte A. Smith and Jennifer Freer Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77