Today we begin a new series of blog posts written by students taking my Historical Archaeology class at Armstrong. They will explore many issues of historical archaeology, Savannah’s archaeology, and whatever else is on their minds. Up first is Katelyn Waits.
Savannah & St. Augustine: A Tale of Two Cities
Travel down Interstate 95 from Georgia to Florida and you will pass through some major cities with historical value. Savannah is a prime example of a city that holds this importance. But have we discovered everything there is to offer within this city? Many historic cities have strong historical archeology programs, which provide their citizens and tourists with information about that given place. I’ve decided to prove the importance of these programs by comparing Savannah to a city that is close in proximity.
A city that has a large historical archeological program is St. Augustine, Florida. Like Savannah, St. Augustine served as a buffer between the Spanish colonies, to the south, and the English colonies to the north. Over the years, both cities were exposed to major events and are drenched in rich history that attract thousands of tourist each year. But, there is a major difference in both cities. St. Augustine has had a well-established archeology program since the 1930’s, which was expanded into a historical archeology program held annually by both the University of Florida and Florida State University in the late 1960’s.
Because of the dedication to St. Augustine’s history through historical archeology, there is a better understanding of what life was like in the past. In the city, there are a variety of different types of archeological sites from several different time periods. Artifacts found in excavations of these sites show evidence of different cultures residing in the area and historical events that happened before, during, and after settlement of the city. All of these artifacts and historical information is stored in the Living History Museum of St. Augustine, which helps “bring to life” the past for tourists who are visiting.
History and historical archeology are important because they provide a way to reconstruct the lives of the past individuals. It also provides the means to prove current history right or wrong, giving a more accurate history that is supported by artifacts and documents found during excavation.
Although Savannah has had some archeological advancements, it hasn’t been able to live up to its full potential as a way of documenting and reconstructing the past. This information is necessary to receive knowledge about cultures, to gain the truth about historical events, and learn how we can avoid mistakes made in the past.
If you agree that there should be more archeological projects done in the Savannah area, please sign the petition!
St. Augustine, Florida from the Florida Museum of Natural History