Posts Tagged With: public archaeology

Archaeology and You

Native Savannahian Mara Smith reflect on the benefits of public archaeology to Savannah and elsewhere in our next student blog post.

Archaeology and You

I was raised in Savannah. By that I mean, I was born in Candler Hospital right off of Derenne. When I was younger, my family took day trips into downtown Savannah. I remember my dad giving me little history lessons about the beautiful city. Like, how the cobblestones on River Street made their way there, or he would point out the tunnels that pirates would use to travel around the city (and I’m so gullible, I still believe them all). As I’ve gotten older, I don’t notice the history as much. Going into Savannah, I walk past monuments, statues, and placards memorializing significant sites as if they aren’t even there. I’ve done a few tours here and there. The Juliette Gordon Low house was one I visited, because even though I was never a Girl Scout, I can down a box of their cookies in less than ten minutes, and for that opportunity, I must thank Mrs. Low. Because I am a native Savannahian, I’ve begun to neglect the city’s history and stories that it’s trying to tell. What’s even crazier is the fact that there is more to be uncovered here, and it took me 21 years to find that out. There are so many ways that we as citizens of Savannah can be active in the uncovering of our city’s past that will be beneficial to so many.

The public can benefit from local archaeology. Having the local community participate in uncovering some of their city’s history provides “community links.” It gives those like me who are born and raised here a sense of connection to their city. There is a sense of identity that wasn’t there before. What’s so great about archaeologists reaching out to the public is that people of all backgrounds and ages can be welcomed to participate. The basics of archaeology and archaeological sites can be used to help even young students practice skills that they may never learn in school. Skills that include: scientific judgement, geography, and local history. On the other end of the spectrum, we have senior citizens who are wise and have experience. Including some of the eldest locals allows for information that isn’t written down, something equivalent to the oral traditions of Native American tribes. Our locals should be interested in Savannah’s history. Savannah is known for being one of the older cities in the United States, and to be able to say that as a citizen of Savannah, you participated in the uncovering of some of its history is incredible. Having new knowledge of the past will always add to the culture, community, and the preservation of history and will create a sense of pride in our city (even if some things uncovered may not necessarily deserve a round of applause).

If you didn’t already know, Savannah makes a lot of money from TOURISM. Do you have any idea what kind of influx of tourists we would get if we were to uncover some crazy old artifact in Savannah? Why do people even come to Savannah for vacation? Is it for the big oaks? The pralines? Is it because it’s one of the only cities you can carry open containers around? I used to find it hard to believe that some people actually come for the history! It’s eye opening to know that there are people out there who still enjoy and value the work of anthropologists and archaeologists. This encourages more digging! Because Savannah is already rich in history, there is more than likely no shortage of possible discoveries. The more uncovered, the more “authentic archaeology” there is to keep people coming back to our beautiful city. More tours! More outreach! More education! All of these can come from the research and work of archaeologists.

So, if you gain nothing from my little post, I hope you take away the importance of your participation in your home’s history. Maybe where you live doesn’t have the magnitude of history that Savannah does, but that’s all the more reason to reach out and help out. We as citizens have everything to gain, and nearly nothing to lose from local archaeology. Learning about our past can give us insight that we never knew was possible. Keeping our city’s heritage, cultures, and traditions is all worth the little bit of effort our community can provide. Start by taking a class, or if you find yourself in Savannah, ask some questions or even better ask how you can get involved! Start small and learn something about Savannah that you didn’t already know. Expand your knowledge and when there’s nothing left on that subject, then start asking questions! Now is the best time to discover, preserve and educate.

Source

25 Simple things you can do to promote the public benefit of archaeology.” National Register Publications, US Department of the Interior, National Park Service.

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Georgia Public Archaeology Network?

Kris Rice, student blogger, makes the argument for a Georgia Public Archaeology Network, comparable to Florida’s excellent program.

Georgia Public Archaeology Network?

For nearly 14 years, Georgia’s neighbor to the south has maintained an active public archaeology network that our state would do well to emulate.  Its use of volunteers in the protection of historic resources is particularly innovative.

stele

Crystal River, FL, Archaeological State Park: A stele at one of the many historic and cultural sites around Florida where volunteers actively participate in archaeological monitoring, preservation and public outreach. A stele is a stone or wooden monument, typically used for burial or boundary marking.

In 2004, under Republican Governor Jeb Bush, the Florida legislature approved legislation enabling the creation of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN).  The following year, the legislature granted funding for ongoing operations of the network, which continue as a University of West Florida program based in Pensacola.  Eight regional centers operate out of four universities around the state.  FPAN is careful to avoid duplicating existing programs, does not conduct archaeological research or manage heritage sites, and works closely with community partners throughout the state.

The network’s goals are to educate and engage the public in archaeology, to serve as a professional resource for local governments, and to assist the Florida Division of Historical Resources.  It is the first goal that may be of particular interest to archaeology buffs in Georgia, who should encourage our legislature to institute a similar program.

temple mnd

View of Crystal River from the observation deck of the 30’ tall Temple Mound, the largest in the park.

Although each of the regional centers offers a wide variety of local volunteer opportunities and trainings, the state network also sponsors the popular statewide Heritage Monitoring Scouts program.  Interested volunteers assist in monitoring and documenting the effects of climate change and sea level rise on archaeological, historical, and cultural sites and help to provide public education and outreach.

FPAN also offers Cemetery Resource Protection Training, to teach volunteers how to preserve and protect historic grave markers, and conducts in-service education for public and private school teachers around the state.  In addition, the network offers training for recreational divers and dive instructors on identifying, monitoring, and protecting shipwrecks and other submerged cultural resources.

burial mound

One of two platform mounds at Crystal River, believed to have been used for ceremonial purposes. The site of the park was among the longest continuously inhabited in the state; human occupation dates back more than two millennia.

If you agree that Georgia to involve volunteers in the protection of our fragile and endangered cultural past, please contact your state legislators to ask for their support of a statewide archaeological network here.

Following is contact information for the Chatham County delegation; for other counties, consult www.legis.ga.gov.

For more information on FPAN, visit the network’s website at: www.flpublicarchaeology.org.

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“Dave the Potter” documentary this Thursday

Read more about the documentary, including an interview with Archaeologist George Wingard, in Jessica Leigh Lebos’ article in the Connect Savannah.

WHAT: Digging Savannah is hosting a screening of the documentary “Discovering Dave– Spirit Captured in Clay” about the literate slave potter Dave who worked in South Carolina’s Edgefield District. A Q&A with the filmmaker and archaeologist George Wingard will follow the film.

WHERE: Armstrong State University, Student Union Ballrooms

WHEN: January 22, 2015 at 6pm (this Thursday)

Parking on the Armstrong campus

Parking on the Armstrong campus

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Discovering Dave: Spirit Captured in Clay

We are excited to announce the documentary, Discovering Dave: Spirit Captured in Clay, is coming to Armstrong on January 22 at 6pm. Scrapbook Video Productions and the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program produced this historical documentary film about Dave, a literate slave potter from the Edgefield District of South Carolina. Dave’s pots and jars give us a unique and rare opportunity to learn more about Dave as an individual as well as South Carolina’s Edgefield District potteries. The film has been snapping up awards left and right. Don’t miss it! Our screening will be January 22 at 6pm on the second floor of Armstrong’s Student Union Center. Click here for more detailed information in our press release.

San Diego Film Festival 3

Parking on the Armstrong campus

Parking on the Armstrong campus

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Dr. David Hurst Thomas Archaeology Lecture this Thursday!

November 6
Distinguished archaeologist Dr. David Hurst Thomas will be speaking about his work on St. Catherines Island. Encompassing nearly 40 years of work, Dr. Thomas has excavated Native American sites 5,000 years old through to the 16th century Spanish mission, Santa Catalina de Guale. Bishop Hartmayer will introduce Dr. Thomas and speak about the importance of archaeology and the Spanish mission site. The lecture will take place at Benedictine Military School at 6pm. Many thanks to our co-sponsor, the Catholic Diocese of Savannah.

Dig Sav poster Fall2014_DHT_ad-page001

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Digging Savannah Events for Fall 2014

Upcoming Digging Savannah Events for the Fall of 2014:

October 25
Walking Tour of Downtown Savannah: Savannah is famous for its beautiful historic downtown, but the ground beneath your feet is just as historic. Learn about the unseen and forgotten archaeology sites. The tour starts at the flagpole at Battlefield Park (next the railroad museum) at 3pm. Tickets available at Eventbrite.com.

November 1
Skidaway Island Guided Hike: Spanning more than 5,000 years of history and prehistory, the park’s archaeology sites give us the opportunity to trace Skidaway Island’s past from Late Archaic Native Americans to the 20th centuryThe hike starts at the Big Ferry Trail head at 3pm and is $10 per person (this includes your park pass) or free for Friends of Georgia State Parks members. Buy tickets or RSVP at Eventbrite.com.

November 6
Distinguished archaeologist Dr. David Hurst Thomas will be speaking about his work on St. Catherines Island. Encompassing nearly 40 years of work, Dr. Thomas has excavated Native American sites 5,000 years old through to the 16th century Spanish mission, Santa Catalina de Guale. Bishop Hartmayer will introduce Dr. Thomas and speak about the importance of archaeology and the Spanish mission site. The lecture will take place at Benedictine Military School at 6pm.
Many thanks to our co-sponsor, the Catholic Diocese of Savannah.

Fall 2014 Digging Savannah Poster

Fall 2014 Digging Savannah Poster

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Davenport House Museum Archaeology

The Davenport House has two public archaeology events coming up! The first is a workshop and the second is an excavation in the museum’s backyard. Details are below. Please note that you need to rsvp to help at the dig. Both activities are an extra credit opportunity for Ms. Seifert’s Introduction to Archaeology class (ANTH 3820).

Participate in an Archaeology Project at the Davenport House

Who:  Davenport House Museum and The Lamar Institute

What:  Archaeology Workshop- Learn about the evidence found from a Ground Penetrating Radar analysis as well as general practices/techniques and plans for the evacuations at the DH.  There will be hands-on activities!

When:  Wednesday, January 15 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Where:  Kennedy Pharmacy, 323 E. Broughton Street

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What:  Archaeological Excavation

When: Saturday, January 18 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Sign-up to help in one hour increments.

Where:  Davenport House Museum – Courtyard Garden, 324 E. State Street

Details:  The Davenport House is conducting an archaeological project to learn more about history of its property – Lots 13 and 14 in Columbia Ward. The community is invited to participate in the workshop and excavation at the Davenport House.

Call to learn more and to reserve a place.  912/236-8097
info@davenporthousemuseum.org

Dan Elliott of the LAMAR Institute supervises archaeologists collecting ground penetrating radar data during the Savannah Under Fire Project in Lafayette Square, 2009.

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