Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Slavery archaeology update Sea Island Strata: At a former Georgia plantation, archaeologists delve into both the workaday and spiritual lives of slaves.
On the northern end of Ossabaw Island, three former slave cabins sit in a perfect row—remains of a plantation that predates the Revolutionary War. Dan Elliott stands next to the cabins one morning, near palm trees silhouetted against the gray sky. For five weeks he has been digging inside the cabins. Now he has set his shovel aside.

Wearing a blue-striped train conductor's cap and dirt-stained jeans, he holds the handle of a ground-penetrating radar device that looks like a lawn mower. At its base is a small black box that emits radar, and attached to the handle is a laptop computer. Elliott is an archaeologist and the president of a nonprofit archaeology firm called the Lamar Institute, based in Savannah. On his computer screen is a map of Ossabaw from the year 1860. It shows six additional slave cabins in the same row as the three still standing today. He hopes the radar will detect the buried foundations of the vanished buildings.

Apparently, the houses/cabins remained relatively untouched since they were abandoned, as the island was used as a private hunting ground and not developed.