Madison Square

Madison Square
Savannah Under Fire archaeologists work in Madison Square, Savannah, GA, surrounded by visitors and citizens interested in our dig.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Windshield Survey

We officially started our fieldwork today with a windshield survey. This is only slightly less lazy than an armchair survey. We do a windshield survey by scouting our possible dig locations and assessing their potential. At each site, we look for modern disturbances such as utilities, trees, and landscaping and search for hints about the eighteenth century topography. We also look for areas of bare dirt, which we comb for artifacts that have eroded, such as in the picture below.

Sometimes we get extra lucky. Near one of the redoubts (mini forts) there was a gaping hole in West Boundary Street that allowed us to see the soil layers beneath the street. Normally, archaeologists cringe at gaping holes dug into archaeological sites. We decided to turn this into an archaeological advantage. By examining the soil layers and the artifacts within them, we were able to date the layers of soil. Two meters below the surface, the soil only dates to the mid-1800s. This tells us that in order to find the 1779 battle, we need to dig very deeply!! We concluded that ground penetrating radar would be the best tool on this site.

We were very pleased with the results of today because we saw lots of potential for intact archaeological sites. Within the next few weeks, we will begin to dig and use ground penetrating radar to explore these sites further.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

“Revolutionary Steps: Marching Towards Discovery and Preservation”

On January 7, the Savannah Under Fire people hosted a symposium at the 2010 Society for Historical Archaeology Conference. The symposium, entitled “Revolutionary Steps: Marching Towards Discovery and Preservation”, was a smashing success. Unfortunately for the audience, it was standing room only at some points. Some of the papers and PowerPoint presentations are available at our Slideshare site. Not all of the papers are formally written, but presenters have included their notes to help you understand the slideshow. Below is a list of all papers presented.

"Archaeology at the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill"
Tariq Abdul Ghaffar
"Ebenezer and Sunbury: Revolutionary War Landscapes of Two Dead Towns in Georgia"
Daniel Thornton Elliott
The LAMAR Institute, Inc.

"Francis Marion, Archaeology, and Heritage Tourism: Archaeological Investigation of Francis Marion’s camp and Redoubt at Dunham’s Bluff, South Carolina"
Steven D. Smith
University of South Carolina

"Hear the Cannons Roar! 20 Years of Metal Detecting at a Revolutionary War Battle Site"
Dan Sivilich

"Hidden Vestiges: An approach to recognizing an 18th-century historic landscape within an urban environment"
Larry B James
University of West Florida

"Identification and Mitigation at the Bufords Massacre Battlefield (29 May 1780), Lancaster County, South Carolina."
Scott Butler

"Meeting at Headquarters: Public archaeology at Valley Forge"
Joseph R. Blondino
Temple University

"Preservation and Public Archaeology at Carleton Island, NY"
Douglas J. Pippin
SUNY Oswego

"Recounting the Revolution: Captivating Imagination through Public Archaeology"
Carin Boone
Temple University

"Rediscovering the Backcountry Battle of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County, Georgia"
Daniel Edward Battle
Cypress Cultural Consultants

"The Lost Colonial Port of Sunbury, Georgia"
Christopher P. McCabe, Stephen D. Dilk
Georgia Department of Natural Resources

"The Third Battle of Savannah: An Archaeological Struggle for Identification, Preservation, and Interpretation"
Rita Elliott, Laura Seifert
Coastal Heritage Society

Discussants: Charles Baxley (Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution), Daniel Elliott (LAMAR Institute)