Saving History Saturday: New Archaeology At Georgia Battlefields

Dr. Ryan McNutt, an anthropology professor at Georgia Southern University, will be leading a project to explore two skirmish sites from Sherman’s March in Jenkins and Burke counties. Up to this time, little archaeology work has been done at sites along the 1864 campaign route. The new project, funded through the American Battlefield Protection Program’s Battlefield Planning Grant, is aiming to give students a hands-on experience, boost history tourism in the local counties, and uncover more details about the Civil War history in Georgia’s southeast region.

A variety of technologies will be used, including laser imaging, detection and ranging with a drone (a process called LiDAR), and the shovel/trowel techniques. Both graduate and undergraduate students will be involved in the project, learning archaeology skills and best practices and analyzing the new discoveries.

The team plans to identify Lawton Station, several bridges, roads, and old buildings or foundations related to the Civil War skirmishes.

Dr. McNutt explained in an interview: “The project will result in a documented inventory of both historic conflict sites, information and data for heritage managers at the state and local level, and the presentation of aspects related to the underrepresented story of Sherman’s War in rural Southeastern Georgia. This will aid in preserving the past buried beneath the soil and potentially aid in drawing heritage tourism to Jenkins and Burke counties by raising the profile of both battlefields within the state and region.”

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