Eye of the Storm: Archaeology of 16th-Century Spanish-Indian Contact in the Southeast


Location: McRae, Georgia, United States

Season: 
Monday, May 19, 2014 to Friday, June 27, 2014

Flyer:

Program Type

Field school

Affiliation:

James Madison University

Project Director:

Dennis B. Blanton, James Madison University and Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Project Description

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)

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 6 weeks

Minimum age: 
17

Experience required: 
Completion of introductory course in archaeology

Room and Board Arrangements

<p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>Room and board will be included in the cost of the program and will cover the cost of living space, field and lab supplies, museum fees, field trip travel, breakfast and lunch each day.&nbsp; Student out-of-pocket expenses include travel to and from Georgia, evening meals in restaurants, shopping, or activities on days off, and individual expenses such as laundry and personal items.</p>

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
James Madison University
Number of credits offered 6 credits
Tuition: 
to be determined

Location

Contact Information
Dennis Blanton
Department of Sociology & Anthropology, James Madison University
Harrisonburg
VA
22807
Recommended Bibliography: 

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.