SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - In a WTOC exclusive, we’re finding out more about the finds of an archaeological survey recently completed at the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low here in Savannah.
In addition to a renovation on the property that created more accessible space for those differently abled, the Girl Scouts also funded a survey to find out more about the property’s history.
An archaeological study of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace turned up more than what researchers ever could’ve expected.
“We didn’t know for sure if any evidence of those colonial buildings would be left at all. Because unfortunately, when things get built on top of stuff, it doesn’t just cover them up, it digs into it and destroys the evidence,” said Rita Elliott, Education Coordinator with The Lamar Institute.
Elliott says it was the preservation of the garden area of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace over the centuries that saved Colonial-era artifacts found buried feet below where she was standing.
“When we did that we located some incredible things. A cellar from the colonial period, from one of the first houses in Savannah, 1733. We located a kitchen for that structure as well. We located evidence of what the outbuilding was used for, we think it was used by enslaved African Americans as a kitchen.”
Also found where the cellar once was were hundreds of gun flints, animal bones and pieces of glass bottles and dishes, all shedding light on previously unknown parts of Savannah’s history.
“So little of this stuff is recorded in historical documents. Archaeology is the only way to find out about it.”
Inside the newly renovated portion of the property are also nods to the past uncovered and exposed by the archaeologists.
“Today we have this beautiful retail space, that doesn’t really tell the story of the past. So we showed these stairs to reference what came before and we even have interpretive signage to explain a bit about the people who would’ve lived and worked in this space who would have been enslaved at the time,” said Shannon Browning-Mullis, Exec. Dir. Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace.
Browning-Mullis says asking for and funding the archaeological study of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace was a no-brainer for the Girl Scouts, who sees it as an opportunity to shed even more light on the importance of preservation to their members.
“For us to say here in Savannah, a historic city, if we weren’t to honor the history, what would we be teaching? So it was an important investment for us, for the girls and for the community,” said Browning-Mullis.