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Cannons Point Ruins

ARCHAEOLOGY RESEARCH

Scott Clark, a Georgia Southern University graduate student is working to learn more about Native American life at Cannon's Point Preserve.

The St. Simons Land Trust is partnered with the Coastal Georgia Historical Society which has an archaeology lab that houses all artifacts from Cannon’s Point Preserve since it’s purchase in 2012. Currently, Scott is working in the lab to help with analyzing data from Cannon’s Point. He has recently been working on putting together a 4,000 year old Native American pot which was discovered during the 2016 dig at the Preserve restroom site.

 

June 2019 Update:

“Identifications of ceramics and faunal remains from the 2018 Taylor Fish Camp excavation are complete. The pottery types are associated with the Late Woodland (c. AD 500 - 1000) and Early/Middle Mississippian period (c. AD 1000 - 1400). Results of radiocarbon dating from multiple locations around the site confirm those dates, showing the Taylor Fish Camp area was used heavily during that time. I looked at over 30,000 pieces of invertebrate and vertebrate remains discarded by Native Americans during those periods. Common invertebrate species were eastern oyster, clam, ribbed mussel, stout tagelus, along with smaller numbers of whelk, periwinkle, and a few pieces of crab claws. The animal bones were almost entirely from turtles and fish. The most common fish were saltwater catfish, mullet, and killifish, with smaller numbers of flounder, menhaden/shad, sheepshead, and several species of drums such as trout, redfish, stardrum, and croaker.
The next step is to continue analysis by quantifying the results in several ways and figuring out what it all means! The use of fine-meshed screens while excavating is giving us a more accurate picture of subsistence practices by showing that small-sized fish were an important part of their diet. All the fish species identified could be captured very near the site location and likely required traps and nets. A final report will be finished by the end of [2019].”

 

December 2018 Update:

“Analysis of materials recovered during recent excavations at Taylor Fish camp is ongoing. Nearly all identifiable types of Native American pottery are associated with the Late Woodland period (c. 500 – 1000 AD) and the Early/Middle Mississippian period (c. 1000 – 1300 AD). A few pottery sherds show evidence of artistic stamping on the exterior of the vessel.
Thanks to the generous support of members of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society, we were able to radiocarbondate materials from my excavation and previous excavations at Taylor Fish Camp. Results confirm what we expected and align with the pottery types. The earliest date (about 780 AD) came from a piece of charcoal in a shell midden, and the latest date (about 1280 AD) from charcoal in a nearby trash pit. A charred deer bone from another nearby pit dated to about 1050 AD. Results show that most of the shell, animal bones, and pottery sherds from my excavation were deposited around 900 to 1100 AD. These carbon dates, combined with other evidence collected in the area, have shown that people have been living and using resources at Cannon’s Point for over 4000 years.
Analysis of faunal remains from my excavation and a previous excavation will shed light on subsistence practices during the Late Woodland period. So far, identified mollusc species include eastern oyster, hard clam, ribbed mussel, stout tagelus, and periwinkle. Fish species include gaftopsail catfish, hardhead catfish, mullet, drum, and flounder. Other interesting finds include a gar scale, numerous fish otoliths (inner ear bone), catfish spines, hundreds of fish vertebrae, a piece of a crab claw, and a well-preserved pearl. There are also a good number of turtle shell fragments, many of which look to be diamondback terrapin. These results are indicating a heavy focus on estuarine resources, especially fish and shellfish.”