Digging for ‘facts’ at Spring Place

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Workers will continue to look for artifacts and “features” along Ga. Hwy 52 Alt. near the Vann House for two to three more weeks, according to Patty McMahon, a field director for  New South Associates.

New South was hired by the Georgia Department of Transportation as part of the project which will lead to the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Georgia Hwy. 225 and Ga. Hwy 52 Alt.

Because a portion of the roadwork which will be done by the DOT runs through historic property, the excavation is required.

McMahon told The Times that excavation at the Vann House has been completed.

The site currently being explored was believed to have been a corn field during the time Moravian missionaries lived in the area.

McMahon said that old maps of the Moravian mission helped determine the best places to dig. She said it is believed that Cherokees who visited the area may have camped in the corn field. She said as many as 18 employees have been at work at the site, digging and sifting soil.

She said no artifacts or features have been found. Features would indicate the previous presence of things like hearths, foundations or trash pits.

McMahon said workers also look for artifacts like tools, weapons and pottery.

Finding human remains is also a possibility.

“If that happens, the tribes are contacted and they make the decision on what is done with the remains,” McMahon said.

McMahon said some “flakes” have been found. Flakes are the remains of stones used in the making of tools. However, she said, the age of the flakes can’t be determined. They could be of Cherokee origin or maybe much, much older.

Excavating at the site is laborious work. By 10 a.m. on Monday, the temperature was already at 85 degrees. Along the roadside, small groups of workers carefully dug and sifted soil.

They worked carefully in one meter by one meter squares. Some of the squares may only be dug a few inches deep; others up to a foot. It depends on the depth of the topsoil.

Later in the project, after the  “up close” work is completed, heavy equipment will be brought into strip off part of the topsoil.

Barring weather problems, the excavation should take a total of seven to eight weeks, according to McMahon.

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