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Found artifacts in GARC may halt intake pump

Sarah Wibell News

Greater Apalachee River Community (GARC) members are reaching out to the University of Georgia and other resources to assess whether artifacts found in the Apalachee River or closely surrounding area are Native American or have other historic and cultural significance.

If there is sufficient evidence of cultural resources in their area, their findings may pose a challenge for Walton County Water & Sewerage Authority, which has applied for an intake pump to build on a 202-acre tract of land on the Apalachee River in Morgan County.

The proposed pump would send water to the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir serving Walton County, Oconee County, and the City of Winder including Barrow County.

Items collected to date include what are believed by property owners to be arrowheads, stone tools, and an old, metal button.

Assistant Director of Archaeology at New South Associates, Inc. Scot Keith viewed a photo of the artifacts found by GARC members.

With the disclaimer of the challenges of determining age and authentication from a picture, Keith noted, “I preface this with a caveat since it is very difficult to determine the age/type of an artifact from a photo, but I see what appears to be points dating from the Early Archaic period (circa 8000-6000 BC), Middle Archaic period (6000-3000 BC), and Late Archaic period (circa 3000-1000 BC).”

In an email correspondence, Billy E. Birdwell, Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ senior public affairs specials, explained, “Pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act, a cultural resources survey is conducted to determine if cultural resources eligible for the National Register of Historic Places may be affected by the proposed project.”

Such surveys are conducted in accordance with guidelines set by the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Additional information can be found at http://georgiashpo.org/.

“The applicant conducted a Phase 1 Cultural Resources Survey which the Corps is reviewing for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.”

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