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Progress Report on Archaeological Exacvations Beneath Sidwalks at Northeast Corner of Dekalb County's Old Courthouse Square

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On Sept. 27th, incident to sidewalk removal and construction being carried out in Decatur by the Downtown Development Authority's Streetscape Project, Gordon Midgette advised Dr. Bill Underwood, Chief Research Scientist of Artificial Intelligence Atlanta, Inc, an East Court Square Business that there was an opportunity to collect important archaeological data on the north east corner of the square after sidewalk removal and prior to laying the new sidewalk. The courthouse square is now a National Register landmark site with archaeological site designation 9DA9O. The Decatur Downtown Development Authority expressed the general consensus that it was unlikely that there was anything of archaeological significance to be discovered under the sidewalks, given prior sidewalk construction, but expressed their interest in any research that might contribute to discovery of information that might contribute to better understanding of Decatur and DeKalb County. Dr. Underwood obtained the agreement of the Decatur Downtown Development Authority to conduct archeological excavations. A condition of the approval was that excavations be coordinated with the contractor and should not hinder progress of the construction. The contractor agreed to our excavation project. We have to the best of our knowledge not hindered the construction project in any way. The original duration of the excavation project was anticipated to be one or two days due to construction schedules. Fortuitously, for the archaeological project, but not to the schedule of the Streetscape project, Hurricane Opal seems to have delayed Georgia Power's installation of lights. Consequently, volunteers were able to excavate intermittently as rain, construction and other events permitted over a two week period. This progress report describes the historical background of the courthouse square, particularly East Court Square, summarizes our excavation and historical interpretation, and describes our archaeological conclusions and recommendations.