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A trove of artifacts nearing delivery to canal museum

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POSTED: March 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo provided / Coastal Courier/

A kaolin pipe bowl recovered from a Savannah residence burned during the Civil War is fashioned after the face of former U.S. President Andrew Jackson.

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SAVANNAH -- Conservation of a trove of artifacts recovered from the site of a small lock tender's house burned by Union forces in 1865 on the Savannah Ogeechee Canal is nearing completion at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
Students in this year's archeology course at the university are processing the artifacts. The rare collection of everyday items is providing researchers with a glimpse of the daily life of the lock tender, who operated locks five and six near present day Argyle Fort Road.
The students are cleaning and conserving the materials under the direction of Mark Newell, an archaeologist who led excavations on canal property last year. Newell used the project as a basis for a course in field archaeology at the Savannah school.
"A great many artifacts were recovered from this pristine site," Newell said. "Each one has to be cleaned several times, photographed, drawn, chemically treated and then cataloged into the canal museum's collections. We expect the task to be completed within the next few months with the hope that a small exhibition might be mounted at the museum this summer."
Last year, Armstrong Atlantic students excavated a portion of the lock tender's house with Newell and the staff of the Georgia Archaeological Institute. This year, a new class at AASU will continue with excavations, and learn the techniques of processing and cataloging the materials that have been found. This year's students will begin fieldwork in late March to continue excavations on the house.
"It is exciting to be working on a kaolin pipe bowl fashioned after the face of Andrew Jackson," student Allison Raines said. "It is a unique item that will eventually be seen by many visitors to the canal museum."
 

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