Historic Resources - Archaeological Sites

A site is defined as "the location of a significant event, a prehistoric or historic occupation or activity, or a building or structure, whether standing, ruined, or vanished, where the location itself possesses historic, cultural, or archaeological value, and there are several different types of sites in Georgia.

Archaeological sites, both historic and prehistoric, are the most numerous if not the most familiar type of historic property in Georgia. A wide variety of archaeological sites exist in Georgia. Some are complex "stratified" sites, with various layers representing different periods of occupation and use. Other complex sites are the "multi-component" locations of prehistoric villages and towns with distinct civic, religious, residential, and even industrial areas. Less complex sites may represent a single activity or use, such as hunting or fishing, manufacturing or quarrying, agriculture, or camping. Major river valleys, ridgelines, and the Fall Line have yielded the greatest numbers of archaeological sites. Less-well-known sites are being found underwater, on river bottoms, in coastal marshes, and off the coast on the continental shelf.

Prehistoric archaeological sites in Georgia include monumental earthen mounds and platforms separated by broad open plazas, low shell middens in the form of piles and rings, rock quarries, fishing weirs, rock piles, scattered stone chips and concentrations of broken pottery, house sites, and entire village sites. Historic archaeological sites include Revolutionary and Civil War earthworks, industrial sites, refuse dumps, "dead" towns, Spanish mission sites along the coast, agricultural sites including antebellum plantations and Depression-era tenant farms, and the subsurface evidence of former buildings, structures, and landscape features. Underwater archaeological sites include prehistoric fish weirs, American Indian dugout canoes, colonial wharf complexes along major rivers, ferry landings, and shipwrecks. Cemeteries and individual graves also can be considered as archaeological sites, although state and federal laws protecting burial sites severely restrict their archaeological investigation.