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Archaeological Survey of the Elbert County, Georgia, Portion of the Proposed Trotters Shoals Reservoir, Savannah River

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This archaeological survey of the parts of the proposed Trotters Shoals Reservoir lying within the state of Georgia was conducted by the writer during January, 1969. The survey area extends from the site of the proposed Trotters Shoals Dam on the Savannah River, upstream to the Hartwell Darn and up Beaverdam Creek, the Van Creeks, and Coldwater Creek. The area surveyed, generally speaking, is below the 500 foot contour of the Savannah River drainage. As a result of the proposed inundation, archaeological sites will either be damaged by lake erosion, or will be covered by lake sediments. Included in this report are data from some archaeological sites outside the reservoir area for better interpretation of the sites within the area. The Trotters Shoals Survey area, formerly dotted with farms has been almost completely abandoned in the last two decades. A few pastures, formerly cultivated fields, and ramshackle houses occur but most of the area is now covered with overgrowth, thickets, canes and briars. Archaeological sites were difficult to locate. Most roads in the survey area are unpaved and in poor condition. All the sites located were in Elbert County, Georgia, in a 30 mile stretch of land in the middle of the Piedmont Plateau, a formation derived from metamorphic and of igneous rocks between the Gulf Coastal Plain and the Appalachian Mountains. Vegetation in the Trotters Shoals Survey area consists of hardwoods interspersed with undergrowth areas of vines and coneson the islands in the river, such as Trotters Shoals itself, and on the valley alluvium. Along the valley edges, slopes, and tops are hardwoods (white oak, red oak, hickory, blackjack oaks, etc) and pines (short leaf and loblolly). Lithic materials used in prehistoric times in the Elbert County area were granite, mica, and soapstone, and of course various kinds of flints, cherts, and quartz. Granite is abundant in the Elberton area and runs across the southern part of Elbert county in a northeast-southwest direction. Mica has been reported of contemporary economic importance in northern Elbert County and southern Hart County. One reference near the Trotters Shoals Survey area describes muscovite (a form of Mica) about nine miles west of Washington, Georgia, on Beaverdam Creek (Shepard 1880:57 ), stated as quite ornamental, and of potential use by Indians (GeorgiaMinerals News Letter 1956:73). Mica slabs are possibly described in the accounts of the DeSoto expedition in 1540 at Cofitichiqui (Garcilaso DeLa Vega 1951:311). Soapstone was used extensively in prehistoric times. Two localities near the survey area are given by Hopkins (1914:295-296). At the mouth of Beaverdam Creek one mile south of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, the soapstone is green-gray in color, not unlike the material used for the soapstone vessels and other objects found at Stallings Island near Augusta.