Location: McRae, Georgia, United States
Two sites will be investigated in the course of the field school. The first is a a late prehistoric Indian community (ca. AD 1450-1550) known as the Glass Site that previous archaeological investigations have established to be the site of direct Indian-Spanish interaction, probably involving a large party led by the infamous conquistador, Hernando de Soto. This rare evidence elucidates aspects of the earliest phase of Spanish expansion on this continent and, more importantly, the implications of first “contacts” between the exploring Europeans and indigenous, Native populations. Blanton has led archaeological investigation of this site since 2006 and the field school will explore areas where a defensive “moat” appears to surround the Indian community and where structures were located within it. Work at this site will span approximately four weeks.
The second site is large, virtually undocumented Mississippian mound complex (ca. AD 1350-1600). The field school will begin the process of creating a detailed map of the extensive site, including its three large platform mounds, and also begin systematic sampling of the village area (approx. 2 weeks). This site is located within an Indian province known as Capachequi through which Hernando de Soto is also known to have passed in the spring of 1540.
The field school agenda includes instruction and participation in total station mapping, systematic site sampling, and hand excavation of units. Attention will also be given to rigorous documentation of activities and findings via a field laboratory, digital photography, etc.
The Glass Site is located in Telfair County, GA on private property. Our living quarters will be a dormitory at South Georgia State University in nearby Douglas, GA (about 30 minutes south of the site). A cabin and surrounding buildings will serve as the daily field headquarters.
The second site is located in Dougherty County, GA, also on private property, and living arrangements will be made at a motel in nearby Albany, GA (about 30 minutes north of the site). Facilities convenient to the site will serve immediate needs in the field.
Period(s) of Occupation: Late Missississippian-Protohistoric (AD 1400-1600)
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 6 weeks
Room and Board Arrangements
Hudson, Charles. 1997 Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando de Soto and the South’s Ancient Chiefdoms. The University of Georgia Press, Athens.