Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fernback Dig Yielding Valuable Clues: Spanish Native American Clash of Cultures

Archeologists to search for lost mission

By Elliott Minor, The Associated Press

ALBANY, Ga. — Amateur archeologists will get a chance to search this summer for the lost mission of Santa Isabel de Utinahica, built in the wilderness in the 1600s for a lone friar who was dispatched to evangelize among the Indians on the edge of Spain's colonial empire.
"This was on the frontier," said Dennis Blanton, curator of native American archaeology at Atlanta's Fernbank Museum of Natural History. "It was perched on the edge of the known world in this hemisphere. A barefoot Franciscan was dropped alone into alien territory and given his marching orders to convert these Indians and probably gather a certain amount of intelligence."

More here:

Fernbank digs into early Georgian history


The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 12/11/07

JACKSONVILLE, Ga. — Jacksonville, Ga. -- Was it a fight, all those centuries ago? Looking at the dirt, you can't help but wonder.
The clay fragments form an arc, as if someone swept a pot off the shelf and watched it shatter. A bead turns up in the same area as last month. This time, diggers also find a pitted sliver of iron -- a weapon, maybe?

It's not scientific to conjecture, but it's so human. Did someone smash the pot and yank the bead from his enemy's neck? Who wielded the iron?
And who torched the house?

The questions come more readily than the answers in the woods of Telfair County, where archaeologists working with the Fernbank Museum of Natural History are shoveling into the past. They are learning more about a pivotal moment in North American history, when two cultures came together under a canopy of longleaf pines not far from the Ocmulgee River.

More here:

Photos of the dig