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Archaeological Survey Along the Upper Savannah River, 1990 Including Underwater Investigation at the Rembert Mound Group

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In August and September 1990, 38 person-days of field work were spent in intensive archeological survey of ca. 440 acres of upland terrain and two miles of shoreline and channel immediately below the Russell Dam in along the upper Savannah River in Elbert County, Georgia. The survey area, to be affected by the proposed Russell Dam Tailrace Dredging project, included ridgelines adjacent to the river and upland flats further away, as well as shoreline and channel bottom deposits in the upper reaches of Clark Hill Lake. A total of 48 archeological sites were found during the project, 14 in the upland tract, 33 along the shoreline, and one adjacent to the submerged river channel in the lake. The upland sites included late 19th and early 20th century farm/tenant complexes on level terrain near drainage channels as well as prehistoric lithic scatters located primarily along the ridgelines and knolls near the river. The sites along the shoreline, which were all prehistoric, were found on the lower slopes of the ridgelines overlooking the floodplain, on sloping terrain that is not typically examined during cultural resource management surveys in the Georgia Piedmont. Although most of the sites represent limited activity areas, appreciable use of the floodplain/ridgeline margin, specifically lower ridge slopes, is indicated during the prehistoric era. Underwater reconnaissance at the presumed location of the remnants of the Rembert Mound Group under the waters of Clark Hill Lake located a dense scatter of Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian period remains, indicating the mound area was occupied throughout much of prehistory. A side-scan sonar survey of the channel bottom for six kilometers below the base of the Russell Dam did not locate evidence for submerged cultural resources in the impact area, although submerged house foundations were documented at the junction of the Broad and Savannah Rivers, where the town of Petersburg was located. Three of the archaeological sites in the project area (9EB 108, 9EB429, and 9EB513) require additional testing to determine whether they are eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. These sites include a historic tenant farm complex, an upland lithic scatter, and the presumed submerged location of the Rembert Mound Group. One other site (9EB195) is a historic cemetery that should be avoided. The remaining sites are considered ineligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and no further work is recommended at them.