Summer 2018 Archaeological Field School, St. Simon’s Island, Georgia
Fort Frederica was established as a defensive outpost for the town of Savannah in 1736 on St. Simon’s Island by James
Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia. Today, it is a National Park Service Monument and was the site of the 2018 UTC Archaeological Field School. In May, ten UTC students took part in excavations at Fort Frederica with Dr. Nicholas Honerkamp and Ph.D. candidate Lindsey Cochran from UTK. The four-week field school was sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the National Park Service. The National Park service wanted to investigate several anomalies that were discovered through remote sensing, including ground penetrating radar, resistivity, magnetometry, and electrical conductivity. UTC students assisted in the first excavations done at Fort Frederica in forty years as well as an archaeology event hosted by the NPS at which the public was invited to help screen for artifacts and learn more about the history of the Fort.
In addition to Fort Frederica, students conducted surveys of two other nearby sites. The first site contained a tabby foundation believed to be the remnants of James Oglethorpe’s home. The second site was at Cannon’s Point Preserve which contained remnants of cabins associated with the enslaved population at Couper Plantation. The archaeological survey conducted at Cannon’s Point was sponsored by the Coastal Georgia Historical Society. Both sites contained antebellum artifacts, some of which dated to the 18th century. Prehistoric and historic artifacts included prehistoric pottery and stone tools, historic ceramics, nails, smoking pipe fragments, buttons, and glass from bottles and windows. The artifacts were analyzed by students in the Jeffrey L. Brown Institute of Archaeology at UTC during the two week lab component that followed the field work.