Reconstructing the Past

Last* in our student series is Ashley Johnston. Ashley reports on her class project, reconstructing ceramic and glass vessels from the sherds found on a site. Here she looks at how techniques have changed over time.

Archaeologists uncover hundreds of thousands of artifacts, and at times these artifacts can be reconstructed to form a complete or semi-complete object. The process of piecing these puzzles back together has changed over the years, as better technology and products were developed, and as procedures changed to preserve the integrity of the item. A handbook from the 1970s is going to include techniques different from a book from the early 2000s or current websites. Determining which sources to consult when conducting research or reconstructing an object can prove to be a challenge.

One example specifically involving ceramics is the type of tape used for temporarily holding the vessels together before gluing the sherds permanently. The 1976 handbook simply says to use tape or a temporary glue, whereas a current website and a 2003 book say to use masking tape. However, masking tape can leave residue on the artifact, while electrical tape can be left on the object longer and not leave residue behind. What about filling in the gaps where sherds are missing? Both the 1976 and 2003 books suggest using plaster to fill in the holes. The website notes that archaeologists do not always find all the pieces for a complete reconstruction but does not say whether or not to complete the object. By leaving the voids in the object it not only adds character to the artifact, but also preserves its integrity.

Currently, in the Anthropology lab at Armstrong, there are two objects under reconstruction, a kerosene lamp from the Benedictine Monastery site, and a teapot on loan from the Savannah History Museum collections found at Old Fort Jackson in 1970s. The best sources to consult when reconstructing historical artifacts are archaeologists and curators who will know the updated procedures and techniques for that particular artifact type.

Sources Consulted:

Ewen, Charles Robin, Artifacts. Vol. 4. Archaeologist’s Toolkit. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2003.

Guldbeck, Per E., The Care of Historical Collections: A Conservation Handbook for the Nonspecialist. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1976.

Intrigue of the Past: Mending pottery.” Learn NC. Accessed April 01, 2017. A resource for K-12 teachers.


 *unless some students turn in late work.
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Visiting Colonial Park Cemetery

Victor Richardson is next in our student series. He visited Colonial Park Cemetery and discusses the deep history of this site.

One may think that I would have either a fear, dislike, or even a phobia for cemeteries, because I grew up living across the street from a cemetery and have several relatives, including my dad, buried there. But I happened to travel near Colonial Park Cemetery located in the heart of Downtown Savannah (201 Abercorn St). The fact that this is a historical landmark in the city, and myself a history major at Armstrong State University, it gathered my special attention.

Among the reasons that Colonial Park attracted me would be that it is the final resting place for a who’s who of the Savannah’s well respected citizens and heroes. These include Button Gwinnett (one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence), Archibald Bulloch (1st president of Georgia), and Colonel John S. McIntosh (a hero of the War in Mexico). These citizens have schools, roads, and even counties named in their honor such as Button Gwinnett Elementary in Hinesville, Ga, Bullock County in Statesboro, Ga, and McIntosh County in Darien, Ga.

Colonial Park Cemetery was established in 1750 and was once a burial ground for the Christ Church Parish. Over the years it has been enlarged to become the burial place for all denominations as well as a historical park. In my Historical Archaeological class, we are required to study principles of archaeology in order to preserve our historical past, how it relates to our present, and how it can affect our future.

Walking through this historical landmark, I have come across quite a few items that would make for great archaeology such as sidewalks with lots of shells embedded in them. Many of the tombstones of the citizens from the 18th century that are now decaying, barely legible, and would probably also make for archaeological studies.

As of June of 2016, there has been a petition to get the city of Savannah to issue an Archaeological Ordinance in order to protect archaeological resources and historical areas like Colonial Park Cemetery from being lost and destroyed.


Learn more about the petition in a Savannah Morning News article, Letter to the Editor, and an Op-Ed.

Learn more about Colonial Park Cemetery.

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Heritage and Symbolism

Next in our student series, Maddie Dinges explores how we live with historic symbols and co-exist with the past everyday.

When touring a new city, we can follow history and heritage through it’s symbols, signs, and stories. Look closely or you’ll miss it! In this context, the history is literally written in the streets. Ever heard of the “Fleur de Lis”? This is a French term which can be translated to “Flower Lily” (pictured below).


Fleur de Lis iron work

This symbol can be found on gates, signs, and many other places! Because of its French relation, we can gather that the French migrated to the area. The Fleur de Lis is the symbol of the New Orleans Saints. This symbol can also be seen on flags; the flag of Quebec and Detroit. If you’ll notice, the places that I have named are locations that were previously settled by the French. Go figure!

Throughout the 1800s in Savannah, Georgia, a terrible epidemic struck the heart of the city; the gruesome yellow fever. We can see the history of its destruction throughout the city. This past October, the Davenport House put on a play following Georgia’s first female physician, Mary Lavinder, as she tries to cure those suffering from the yellow fever. Cool stuff! You can also find a sign in Colonial Park cemetery honoring the lives lost from the yellow fever epidemic (many of whom a buried there).


Yellow fever sign in Colonial Park Cemetery

Another way we can learn more about an area is through the stories the locals tell. According to legend there is a tunnel under the old Candler hospital (now a law school) where the victims of yellow fever were deposited. The thought is that if they limited the exposure to the outside world, the less people will be effected. Supposedly these tunnels run under Forsyth Park. BEWARE OF THE GHOSTS.

For more information about symbols and signs, check these links out!

Irish heritage in Savannah

Georgia’s State Symbols

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Skeptic to Convert

Joshua Glossop continues our student series. He describes his experience at digging at the monastery site and how it changed his mind about archaeology.

Upon enrolling into a Historical Archaeology class that I needed to graduate this upcoming May, I was slightly skeptical about taking the class, as archaeology wasn’t really a keen interest of mine. However, it was a requirement for my major, and I needed it so therefore, I took it. Since taking the class this semester, I can honestly say how much my view in Historical Archaeology has changed completely. I have really found an enjoyment in connecting history with archaeological evidence found in fieldwork sites. I like to see myself as a young Indiana Jones nowadays. Like so many other colleges classes I have previously taken, I thought this class was going to be a boring lecture based class, however, I was surprised to see there was a frequent amount of field work opportunities, which caught my interest. Therefore, this blog post is all about my first visit to an active archaeology site in which I was going to engage in historical archaeology for the first time. I hope to also portray my thoughts of how this visit changed my view on the study of historical archaeology and hopefully influence others too.

On the 28th of January, 2017, which turned out to be a very chilly Saturday morning, I headed to the Benedictine Monastery and Freedmen School archaeology site on Skidaway Island. The site that we are still excavating is on The Landings housing estate on Skidaway Island. Upon arriving I was a little bit lost as I arrived slightly before the agreed time and couldn’t find any of my classmates or professor. I was expecting to see a scene from Jurassic Park where mobile offices surrounded a huge area in which the excavation was taking place. However, my imagination was proved wrong, and it turned out to be a wooded area within a group of houses. I asked myself am I in the right place? A few minutes later the rest of my classmates and my Professor arrived, this put my heart at rest as all the equipment was unloaded from numerous cars. The equipment consisted of buckets, shovels, and sieving tools. Walking through the wooded area, it was clearly visible that a unit (a term for the area dug) was already in the ground, and it was shielded with a rectangle of string showing the area of the dig. The unit was about 4 feet deep and some pipe work was on display in the depths of the pit. This sight encouraged me to a great extent and made me excited for the activity which lay ahead.

After a short briefing, I was assigned to begin a new unit, number 6. The Pythagorean theorem was applied to work out an area that was mathematically accurate. My area was roughly about 6 feet by 3 feet. [Editor’s note: units are 1×2 meters. Using the Pythagorean theorem insures we get a true rectangle or square with right angles.] All the information about the unit was put on a form for future records. Now it was time to get our hands really dirty as the excavation of the unit officially begun. The removing of dirt is an extremely careful exercise, as I removed the dirt it had to be placed on top of the large sieving tools to search for any artefacts present. A classmate performed the sieving. I wasn’t expecting to find anything on the first layer, which we planned to be 10 centimetres deep, however, I was astonished by the amount of artefacts that were coming out of the unit. After even 5 centimetres, we already collected several bags of artifacts, which was anything from glass, to nails, to brick and mortar. It was not until I saw the artifacts that I had dug up and found that it really dawned on me how exciting the activity of archaeology really is. After a whole morning of work, my classmate and I had managed to get the first layer of 10 centimetres dug. From this we had a vast number of artefacts ready to be sent to the lab and washed. The most exciting artifact which had been recovered was a mixture of metal springs, which after future excavations turned out to be bed springs. This was potentially a bed the monks slept on during the late 19th century. For me this experience was very exciting and a real sense of achievement was felt by the end of the morning’s work.

It wasn’t until the following evening that I had really made the connection with history and archaeology. Without archaeology, how can we prove history to be false or true? I have previously learnt of the term sankofa, which is from the Ghanaian language of Akan. It translates to the concept of “reclaiming the past and understanding how the present came to be so we can move forward.” Therefore, after my first initial experience with archaeology it made me realise that the practise provides a bridge that connects us to the past of our ancestors, and then the current time we live in, and potentially the future. It was also great to experience this first hand in the local area where I have been gaining my university education. If in the future you get a chance to visit the Benedictine Monastery and Freedmen’s School archaeology site on Skidaway Island, please do, it opened my eyes to making that connection with the past, and I hope it will do the same for you.


The bedsprings right after excavation.


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The Sorrel-Weed House: Reinterpreting Savannah’s Antebellum History

Next in our student series is Kelly Westfield, who is leading our excavations at the Sorrel-Weed House.

The Sorrel-Weed House is a Greek-Revival mansion located at the corner of Harris and Bull Streets in downtown Savannah. The home, which towers over the northwest portion of Madison Square, was built for Francis Sorrel by Charles B. Cluskey and was completed about 1841. As the grandeur of the home suggests, with its three generous stories, multiple verandahs, elaborate ceiling medallions, and copious iron work, it was built for one of Savannah’s elite during a prosperous era in the city’s history, made possible largely by agriculture and slave labor. Francis Sorrel was a wealthy merchant and cotton factor, and like many of his contemporaries, a slave owner. The detached living quarters and former carriage house that sit directly behind the home are a living reminder of this. Built in the stately house’s shadow just a short distance across a narrow garden, the carriage house was likely where many of the home’s former slaves lived and worked.

Desirous of getting some hands-on experience in the field in my Historical Archaeology class this semester, I met with Professor Seifert to discuss possible projects. My interest was timed perfectly; the Sorrel-Weed House staff had just recently approached Professor Seifert about conducting an archaeological study in the basement of the carriage house to uncover the source of a curious depression in the floor. It was decided in January that we would dig one test unit in the basement, and over the course of four weekends between February and March, thanks to the generous help and expertise of my fellow classmates and Professor Seifert, we completed the first official archaeological excavation ever undertaken at the Sorrel-Weed Home. We are currently still processing the artifacts and other data, and a report will be forthcoming in April.

The Sorrel-Weed House currently operates as a “must-see” site in Savannah’s ghost tour industry. In fact—it’s probably better described as the must-see site for paranormal activity, notorious not just in Savannah but in the Southern United States. Sorrel family oral tradition describes tragic events, which are the foundation of the site’s public interpretation programs, are believed to hold the answers to these hauntings, and, it was theorized, to the cause the depression in the carriage house basement floor. As the story goes, Francis Sorrel’s wife was overcome by the grief of her husband’s affair with one of his slaves. In her despair, she took her own life by leaping from the home’s third floor balcony. Her death was followed shortly thereafter by that of the slave, Francis Sorrel’s ‘mistress’, found hung in the upper level of the carriage house, and as it is rumored, not by her own hand. For reasons that can only be guessed at, it was thought that the unfortunate slave was then interred underneath the basement floor.

We were guided by two notions going into this project. First, it was unlikely, and would be nothing short of extraordinary, that we would find human remains. Secondly, this was potentially a great opportunity to learn more about urban slavery in Savannah. As we had predicted, our excavations did not uncover any human remains, but we did discover the cause of the depression: a long, deep, subfloor pit. Our test unit did not run the length of the feature, but we hope to return in an upcoming semester and trowel our way through its remaining portion.

Although we did not find any artifacts to corroborate the tragic oral tradition about the Sorrel family, the story unequivocally illustrates pervasive and profound experiences in Savannah’s past. I would be lying if I said I came to this realization right away; for certain, the allure of the stately home and the sheer opportunity we were given preoccupied me from understanding the bigger picture. No doubt, my experience mirrors that of many visitors to the Sorrel-Weed House. But as I buried myself in research, I realized that even if we did not find any artifacts to corroborate the unfortunate events in the home’s history, the oral tradition and the site’s interpretation program have major implications for several painful realities in Savannah’s history. Sexual exploitation by slave owners, unilateral extramarital affairs, oppressive gender codes, and brutality towards slaves, including what would today be considered murder, were legion in the Antebellum South. These historical realities transcend ghost stories and the mystique of Antebellum mansions, and they are facets of our history that archaeology has the potential to teach us more about.

The Sorrel-Weed House project and the class itself has made me more culturally aware, and by doing so has fulfilled one of the most valuable goals of archaeological studies. More importantly, my experience is one that can occur on a larger level; when projects like ours continue to be undertaken and are open to the public, they have the ability to impart a larger cultural awareness within the community. When I imagine the experiences of the women in the Home’s oral tradition, and think about how I might have managed in their positions, I feel sadness and compassion for them, and the countless others who endured the same circumstances. I also now feel strongly that historians and archaeologists have an ethical responsibility to continue to learn more about these women and other muted groups, and to retell their stories. Future excavations at the Sorrel-Weed House have the potential to do just this. In the meantime, I would like to extend many thanks to Professor Seifert and to the folks at the Sorrel-Weed House for their unremitting hospitality and for seeking us out for archaeological investigations at their site.

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Washing Artifacts, the Interview

Madison Williams continues our student series of posts by interviewing Chase Freeman about working with artifacts.

An insight on the cleaning of the artifacts

When most people think of archaeology, they tend to picture people with shovels and screens excavating a site and collecting all of the artifacts they find. But what happens next? Chase Freeman, a Liberal Arts Major and a Biology and Anthropology Minor, provides us with some insight into the next step of the process. After the artifacts are collected at the site, they are then taken to the Anthropology Lab, University Hall 255 on campus. There they are lightly scrubbed with a toothbrush and water, then laid down on screens to dry.

Chase is Ms. Seifert’s Undergraduate Research Assistant and is in charge of cleaning the artifacts that are found on each site. I recently conducted an interview with Chase, and asked him a few questions concerning the next step. (All artifacts discussed refer to the ones found at the Benedictine Monastery and Freedmen’s School.)

When did you first become interested in archaeology?

“I became particularly interested in archaeology when I took the Archaeology of the Southeast class with Ms. Seifert in the spring of 2016.”

How do you organize the artifacts?

“Right now we are organizing them by test unit, level, and they are placed separately on the screen by what they are. We have to come back to catalog everything and organize it more specifically.”

On average, how often do you find an artifact that has the “wow” factor?

“Um, fairly often actually. There’s always something that is significant to the site that either confirms or refutes our beliefs about the site.”

What is the most interesting thing you have found thus far?

“I get this question a lot. I’m going to have to stick to the kerosene lamp. I found it intact in the ground, but it shattered when I tried to remove it. We are reconstructing it now to see what info we can gain. Also, the Benedictine Monk robe clip because that’s the first sign of a Benedictine presence.” [editor’s note: the lamp was found broken in situ, meaning all of the pieces were found already broken, but roughly in place]

Does it ever get stressful handling all of the artifacts?

“Only recently, it’s gotten crazy keeping up with everyone wanting to help. The amount of volunteers is very impressive and also very helpful. I cannot stress that enough. Whether you’re on the site digging or in the lab cleaning, all of your help means so much.”

Thank you Chase for giving us an insight on the cleaning of the artifacts. I hope to hear more of the findings after the artifacts are analyzed more intensely.

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Davenport House: Using Archaeology to Enhance Interpretation

Next in our student blogging series is Rebecca Hinely, who writes about her visit to the Davenport House. This historic home has recently used archaeology to learn more about the Davenport family and other who have lived in this house.

Davenport House: Using Archaeology to Enhance Interpretation

If you want to have a wonderful time while enjoying a little of Savannah’s history, you should visit The Davenport House. This beautiful example of architecture was built in 1820 for Isaiah Davenport and his ever growing family. Over the years it has served many purposes from being a family home to being used as a boarding house until it was finally purchased by the Historic Savannah Foundation. The Davenport House is currently open as a historic museum, which allows you to see the beauty of architecture and interior design from the 1800’s.

This home marked one of Savannah’s most important movements. When the city of Savannah marked it for demolition in 1955, a few citizens came together and decided to form a group dedicated to preserving Savannah’s beautiful history. This group became the Historic Savannah Foundation and is responsible for most of the beautiful historic homes that are still standing in Savannah today.

In 2013, plans to make changes to the basement prompted archaeological research of the property. By using GPR, or Ground Penetrating Radar, along with historical documents, archaeologists were able to identify five areas ideal for excavating. These areas were in the garden as the basement proved to be void of artifacts other than small features relating to the construction of the house and modern anomalies such as water pipes and drainage.
Some of the artifacts found included animal bones, brick and mortar, glass, tobacco pipes and of course oyster shells, which were a major construction material in 1800’s Savannah as an ingredient in tabby. One of the most interesting finds was a privy near the edge of the property that was not included on any of the historical documents. The results of the fieldwork in 2013 helped paint a picture of Davenport’s life and others like him who lived in the 1800’s and are currently being used as resources for interpretation at the museum.

It was interesting to see the home that started the historical preservation movement in Savannah. Without the efforts of these few people Savannah may not be the historic landmark we know today.

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Savannah Archaeology in Perspective

Next in our student series is Pamela Imholz, who has worked on the Benedictine Monastery and Freedmen School site from the beginning and gives us a wider perspective.

My interest in archaeology started later in life after I had visited sites from England to Turkey from 1997 through 2004. The breadth and sophistication of the architecture that had been excavated from the Roman empire was very impressive, from Bath, England to Ephesus, Turkey. Returning to Savannah, I decided I wanted to better understand the history of the people, culture that built America. After doing a lot of reading and visiting some local historical places, I decided to “go back to school” and enrolled in Armstrong State University (it was Armstrong Atlantic State University at that time) in their 62+ program. Several semesters later I have had the opportunity of participating in many field trips and excavation projects with the Professors and students here.

Starting in the Spring of 2016, our archaeology class had the opportunity to excavate an area on Skidaway Island that was believed to be the site of the Benedictine Monastery and Freedmen School of the 1870’s, after the end of the Civil War. The location is the future site of a home construction, so we were given permission to work the site before it was destroyed. Based on the research done by our Professor, a 40 by 40 foot grid was laid out on the lot. Twenty five shovel test pits were dug on the site. Several of these shovel test pits uncovered artifacts from a wide range of years, from Native American ceramics to artifacts from more modern times. We did, however, find evidence that suggested the approximate location of the Benedictine Monastery as well as the School. In the fall of 2016, excavation pits of 1 by 2 meters were dug at the location thought to be the Monastery. This semester, spring 2017, we started digging pits of the same size at the site believed to be the school.

Our hope is to find artifacts that enable us to better understand the lifestyle and environment that the Benedictine Monks and Freedmen students experienced as well as document and preserve this bit of history. While no local stakeholders from the original student group have been identified, we have reached out to the Benedictine Military School here in Savannah as well as St. Vincent’s Archabbey  in Latrobe, PA. A team of cadets have participated in two of our work weekends and have found many very interesting artifacts, including a Native American projectile point, pottery sherds, and a brass button, which fueled their interest and excitement of being part of an historical archaeology work site. Father Andrew, the St. Vincent’s Archabbey Archivist in PA, has also visited the site and identified an artifact that appears to be the metal “clasp” used to hold the Cope (a cape-like liturgical vestment) that was worn by the priests during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Needless to say this was exciting for all of us!!


Cope hook, or clasp for a cape-like liturgical vestment worn by monks during a benediction, found on site at the Benedictine Monastery and Freedmen School.

If Savannah is going to save its history from further destruction by developers, it is important that the local citizens become interested and active in letting the local politicians know the importance of Historical Archaeology. What better way than getting our young citizens involved as well?

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“Reconstructing Hawthorne”: A Review

Next in our student series is a review of the documentary Reconstructing Hawthorne by Lisa Powell.

Last Wednesday, February 15th, 2017, Armstrong State University was privileged to be both the second and the third groups of people to see the latest film from the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, entitled Reconstructing Hawthorne. My friend, George “Buddy” Wingard, was kind enough to let us be his “guinea pigs”, while he tried out his new presentation about the Savannah River site’s historical archaeology, and how it pertained to the town Hawthorne. My Historical Archaeology class screened it first, then we had a great turn out that evening for a second screening open to the public.

The film literally starts out with a bang! Actually, to be more historically accurate, it was an H-bomb explosion. This definitely grabs your attention. From there we get a very brief, but very poignant history of the “Cold War”, which has an eerie déjà vu effect on the audience. Given our current situation with Russia, this film may turn into the poster child for our present political climate. However, that was NOT its intention! At its very heart, this film is a story about two men, Mr. George Heath and Mr. Henry Brown. It is the story of two best friends, one white and one black, who grew up together in rural South Carolina in a time when there was still a lot of civil and political unrest. Despite this, these two grew up together on a farm in Hawthorne, South Carolina. That is until they reached their teens, and then their worlds were turned upside down, and they lost track of one another for almost sixty years.

Mr Heath and Mr Brown.jpeg

Mr. George Heath (left) and Mr. Henry Brown (right)

On November 28th, 1950, the Atomic Energy Commission chose an approximately three-hundred square mile area, south of Aiken, SC and east of Augusta, GA along the Savannah River, to house a hydrogen bomb materials facility, the Savannah River Plant. This area was chosen for many reasons, scarcity of population (around 6,000 people), the ability to continue to build year-round (due to its mild annual temperatures), and the fact that such a huge area was readily available. People had between three to eighteen months to move. By move, I mean move everything you want, including your house, your out-house, your chicken coops, barns, and even your deceased loved ones (there were around 12,000 graves exhumed during this time).

Many people affected did not own property, for they were tenant farmers or share croppers. They had to leave with only what had on their backs and perhaps the small number of personal belongings they owned. This is what happened to Mr. Henry Brown and his family. They moved to Jackson, SC. Mr. George Heath’s family took most of the money that was offered, but took a deduction to move their home to a new location.


Reconstructing Hawthorne film poster

The Savannah River Archaeological Research Program began on the site in 1973. They collected oral and written historical accounts of the towns of Ellenton and Dunbarton. They got plenty of questionnaires back about both Ellenton and Dunbarton, but none about Hawthorne. It wasn’t until many years later when Mr. Heath called to ask if he could visit his old homestead, that they found out he was from Hawthorne.

Later, he introduced them to his friend Mr. Henry Brown, with whom he was recently reunited. The staff took them both back to the place they grew up and worked on the farm. Of course, not much was left, just some rubble and bricks from the old foundation. Yet it was then that a certain kind of magic started to happen, and you could see and honestly almost feel the memories come flooding back as those two walked together (sometimes hand in hand), helping one another over the overgrown environment. It was very heartwarming to bear witness to this reunion.

This is just a small part of what the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program does. They are also responsible for the cultural resource management of the entire site, research (each employee has their own research project), and education (public outreach). They are a part of the University of South Carolina’s South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. They are the stewards of a great resource of diverse archaeology, and they are doing their part to reach out and share that research and information with the public in many different ways. We at Armstrong have been lucky enough to host two such events now. First a couple of years ago, we were able to screen Discovering Dave: Spirit Captured in Clay, about Dave Drake, a slave potter with a fascinating story. Now we have been privileged to have them back a second time to bring us Reconstructing Hawthorne, another fantastic film. My hope is that Armstrong State University (even through its upcoming transition) will hold onto and continue to foster this relationship with the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, for the enrichment of both our students and the public in the years to come.

There are many books about the Savannah River Site historical archaeology are available to download for free on their website.For more information about the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, please check out their website. You can also check out the Reconstructing Hawthorne Facebook page.

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First Time Archaeologist

Robert Masters is next in our series of student posts. He writes about his first experiences doing field archaeology and how that relates to our understanding of history. Stop by our dig at the Sorrel Weed House tomorrow (Feb. 17) and see our student archaeologists in action!

First Impressions

As a first time participant in historical archaeology with Professor Seifert, I have learned a lot over my recent trips to both the Benedictine Monastery and Freedman School as well as the Sorrel Weed House. Participating in the digs taught me a lot about how archaeology plays a major role in learning about the past, especially here in Savannah. What surprises me is how Savannah does not have a city ordinance to allow for archaeology at construction sites where artifacts are found. Since Savannah has many historic buildings and was the first settled city in Georgia.

The two sites that I visited have given me some insights into how past people have lived. What surprised me is how much work it takes to perform an archaeology dig. When I first visited the Benedictine Monastery and Freedman School, I realized that archaeology is not just digging over a large area as I thought. Instead it involves digging smaller test pits from which we gather artifacts. While learning how to dig, I realized just how scientific an archaeology dig site is: from mapping to getting soil samples to determining what kind of soil is found to using the metric system when measuring the depth and size of the test unit.

Before beginning the dig at the Sorrel Weed House, the class was told of their ghost tour and how there is a story of a possible skeleton buried in the basement where we began our dig. Once we began to dig we found bones, however, we realized that the bones we were finding had been butchered and were too big or small to be from a person. In saying this, I found it interesting how archaeology was able to provide evidence that not all ghost or haunted stories are completely true and that it is good to have all the facts to back up a claim before telling the story to other people.

Archaeology plays a major role in being able to learn more about our culture. By not having a city ordinance to allow for archaeology digs at construction sites, the city could be losing precious artifacts that relate to the city’s past and thus is destroying the city’s history. I have learned a lot from my first two digs and hope to go on many more in the future. In addition, I encourage everyone to get involved in preserving our city’s history so that it may be preserved for generations to come.

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