Back to top

Final Report: Cultural Resources Survey of the Davenport Drop Zone, Fannin County, Georgia

Report Number
Year of Publication

Southeastern Archeological Services, Inc. conducted an intensive surface and subsurface cultural resources survey in May 1991, on the 42 ha (104 ac) Davenport Drop Zone in north-central Fannin County, Georgia. The survey goals were to locate all cultural resources (archeological sites, artifact occurrences and standing structures) and, to the best of our ability, evaluate their eligibility to the National Register (i.e., their potential for contributing important information about the past). The U.S. Air Force has been using the Davenport property to practice low altitude parachute drops and plans to continue doing so. This has the potential for adversely impacting significant cultural resources, therefore prompting the survey. As a result of the survey, which involved inspection of exposed ground surfaces and the excavation of 119 shovel tests, three prehistoric archeological sites (one contained a historic component also) and several non-site resources were discovered. The non-site resources consisted of drainage ditches, road beds, and modern ( < 50 year old) standing barns/sheds and a domestic structure. At the time of the survey, the project area was in thick pasture. Therefore, site discovery depended on shovel test excavation (at 10 to 30 m intervals) and surface inspection of field roads. Site 9FN40 is a possible Late Archaic (ca.3000-1000 B.C.) and a Late Woodland/Early Mississippian (ca.A.D. 800-1100) site located along a narrow terrace of Hemptown Creek. The site measures 300 m east-west by 80 m north-south. Cultural deposits are located below the plow zone to a depth of 85 cm below ground surface, and there is potential for intact cultural features. It is our recommendation that 9Fn40 is eligible to the National Register of Historic Places. Based on our understanding of parachute drop activities, the site will be impacted. If the State Historic Preservation Officer concurs with our assessment of eligibility, we envision three options of how the Air Force can deal with the site: 1) design and regulate all activities so as not to damage the sub-plow zone portion of the site (below 30 cm below surface), 2) place a protective layer of fill dirt (of yet to be determined thickness) over the site, or 3) eliminate the potential adverse effect by conducting data recovery (archeological investigations) at the site. We believe option 1 would be the simplest, but requires the Air Force to fence off and abandon a significant portion of the drop zone tract, which may be untenable. Option 2 appears the least desirable as it entails many unknowns (environmental impacts, adequate thickness of fill). Option 3 may be the most expedient means to allow use of the site area. Site 9FN41 is a Late Archaic site, also located along a narrow, discontinuous terrace of Hemptown Creek west of 9Fn40. Quartz and chert debitage and tools and fire-cracked rock were recovered from shovel tests to depths of 40 cm below surface. The moderate density of material and relatively large size suggests that this site has research potential, but we are unable to determine if it has intact subsurface deposits and whether it is eligible to the NRHP. There are two options for dealing with this site: 1) design and regulate all activities so as to not damage the sub-plow zone portion of the site (below 30 cm below surface) or 2) archeologically test the site to determine its eligibility status. The first option would require the abandonment and probable fencing off of a portion of the drop zone.