Digging up history in Savannah

Week long archaeological dig in downtown preserves city’s history while building on the future

Digging up history in Savannah
Archaeological Dig in Savannah (Source: Sam Bauman WTOC)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - All week a group of researchers have been getting their hands dirty doing an archaeological dig in downtown Savannah.

“It’s very exciting to find things and know that the last person to have touched it could’ve used it 150, 200 years ago,” said LAMAR Institute Education Coordinator Rita Elliott.

With each dig, unearthing more of Savannah’s history.

“This is our one possible revolutionary war relic. It’s a British musket ball,” said a LAMAR team member.

From weapons to trash from prior tenants of the Kennedy Pharmacy building.

“The first client that rented this building back in 1890 was the Anti-Migraine company.”

Each item helping to tell a story that may too have been buried long ago

“You know, you go to the history books and white men are writing it. It’s not women, it’s not children, it’s not enslaved African Americans. So, the only way to learn about these people, Native Americans, the only way to learn about that is through archaeology,” Elliott says.

A history the Davenport House, which owns the property, hopes to bring to life.

“To really understand history you have to do the research to make that story real,” said Davenport House Museum Director Jamie Credle.

Although these stories are being saved the team from the LAMAR Institute fears many haven’t been as fortunate.

“Anytime you see construction going on, nine times out of ten there’s been no archaeology. That little snapshot is lost forever. It’s like someone ripping up the photograph before you’ve had time to look at it,” said Elliott.

A snapshot of the past they hope makes the future picture perfect.

“The past informs the future. We might want to understand what people lived through in the past to help us today and in the future,” Credle says.

The dig will wrap up Friday.

From there the items will be taken back to a lab for further research and analysis.

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