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Cultural Resource Impact Mitigation for Site 9MC367, Phase 3, Darien Georgia Waterfront

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An intensive level archaeological survey was conducted at the Darien, Georgia Waterfront site, known as 9Mc367 "Phase 3,"prior to the construction of a commercial business facility on the property. The term "Phase 3" has been applied to a particular portion of State Site 9Mc367 by its owner The McIntosh County Development Authority. To avoid any confusion in terminology, it is noted that this term is the result of a land survey and it is not related in any way to Phase III type archaeological survey (See Figures 3 and 4). The construction proposed for 9Mc367 "Phase 3" will impact certain nineteenth century deposits and features in the site, some of which are considered to be eligible for inclusion on The National Register of Historic places. Avoidance and encapsulation are the methods suggested for mitigation of the significant cultural properties discovered in 9Mc367 "Phase 3." Chapter 6 of this report provides a more detailed discussion of the cultural properties discovered and suggested recommendations for their treatment. Twenty-nine shovel tests, two mechanical backhoe trenches, and four block style hand excavated units were dug to assess the cultural deposits and features. Data from a previous excavation were also used. The cultural properties identified in the study included a modem concrete surface slab that served as a floor for a demolished circa 1885 brick building, a recessed concrete slab floor of a middle-twentieth century icehouse, two middle- to late- twentieth century strata composed of soil and demolition rubble, three cultural strata, about 100 years old, two brick floor joist supports associated with the circa 1885 brick buildings, a late-nineteenth century refuse pit, the lower portion of an early- to middle-nineteenth century privy feature, the subsurface portion of an early nineteenth century tabby building, and a free standing tabby retaining wall. No in situ aboriginal cultural deposits were found; however. significant aboriginal occupation is indicated by the number and variety of sherds found mixed with nineteenth and twentieth century soils. Analysis of artifacts from the shovel tests suggests that wooden structures on the eastern side of the property burned during one or more of the 19th century Darien fires. The large refuse pit contained many burned artifacts, and was probably associated with one of these fires. The concrete surface slab, which dates to the twentieth century, has been determined to have no historical value. It must be removed prior to construction of the proposed office/retail complex. No recommendations are made for the protection of this cultural property. The recessed slab will be completely covered by the west wing of the proposed construction. It is too deep to be affected by standard construction methods; therefore no recommendations are made for avoidance or protection. The two twentieth century strata will be variously affected by construction, but they have little historical value and do not need to be protected. Three consecutive cultural strata contained artifacts that date from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth century. The shallowest of these is covered with varying amounts of modern rubble-filled soil, and could be impacted by future construction. Twelve inches of sand fill spread over the part of the site is recommended to protect this cultural property. The brick floor joist supports are only 7 inches below the modem surface and will be completely covered by the proposed construction. The 12 inches of sand fill suggested above would protect them from damage they might incur during construction. The privy feature contained 2 cultural strata. The lower stratum yielded mostly early nineteenth century glass bottles, while the upper stratum contained personal items, ammunition, and large pieces of tableware that date to the middle-nineteenth century. The undisturbed portion of this feature begins about 14 inches below the modern surface. This feature is an important cultural property and it needs to be protected. Although no construction is proposed in the area where this feature is located, its survival should be insured by that addition of at least 12 inches of neutral fill, and a written directive that no utilities are to be constructed in this area. The tabby building had architectural traits that were consistent with other waterfront tabby indicating that it was built in the early nineteenth century. Historic maps show that this building was likely removed between 1878 and 1885, after which three brick stores were built on its base. Today the tabby remains lie from 8 to 18 inches below the surface. They may suffer superficial damage when the proposed construction takes place. Based on below depth measurements, 8 inches of the remaining 2 feet of wall may be impacted in locations where encountered by proposed foundation construction. The 12 inches of fill recommended to protect the brick floor joist supports would place the tabby ruins below the level of construction disturbance. The tabby/ brick wall was constructed in the nineteenth century to keep the sandy upper bluff soil from shifting and washing downhill. It effectively serves that purpose today. It is a significant cultural property and should be protected. A registered professional engineer designed the new commercial building, and it is assumed that he took into consideration any lateral stress or increased erosion that might be caused by the future construction. The construction plans show where all of the new structures will be located with regard to set backs from the tabby wall, and tabby warehouse foundation.