The Archaeology of a 2,000 Year-Old Ceremonial Center in Northwest Georgia

- Dinner starts at 7:00 pm.
- The evening's presentation begins around 7:45.
- Seating will be on a first-come-first-served basis.
- The capacity of the venue is 80 people.
- We expect a turnout of around 60% of day-of RSVPs.
- There is a $3 contribution requested from non-students.
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The Archaeology of the Leake Site: A 2,000 Year-Old Prehistoric Ceremonial Center in Northwest Georgia

Scot Keith, Principal Investigator and Senior Archaeologist
New South Associates
Stone Mountain, Georgia

Nearly 2,500 years ago, and nearly a millenium before the famous Etowah Mounds were built, Native Americans began to occupy a bend of the Etowah River just outside of present-day Cartersville. Known as the Leake site, the site initially served as a domestic residential settlement of local peoples. Over the next 1,000 years the site developed into a vast ceremonial center at which peoples from throughout the Eastern Woodlands came to visit.

The Leake site contains the archaeological remains of at least three earthen mounds, a large ditch enclosure, structures, and organic middens containing the refuse of both ceremonial and everyday activities. The site was also part of a larger ceremonial landscape which included a mountain across the river from the site. This mountain had a large cavern on one end that likely served as a place for ritual; the summit was enclosed by a stone wall and likely served as a astronomical observatory; and at the base of the mountain, these people buried an important leader in a log tomb inside of a stone mound.

Given the site's strategic location at the interface of several major river systems and physiographic regions, the site served as a gateway that linked the Southeast with the Midwest as a major node of an extensive interaction network that archaeologists refer to as the Hopewell Interaction Sphere. Remains from the site reveal connections to sites and peoples from the Gulf Coast to Indiana and Ohio.

Come hear about what was happening in northwest Georgia 2,000 years ago, and how at this time peoples traveled extensively throughout the Eastern Woodlands to participate in ceremonies at religious centers, the interaction networks that developed, and the material culture they made and used as part of this network.

About Scot Keith
Scot Keith has worked as a professional archaeologist for 20 years, and currently serves as Principal Investigator and Senior Archaeologist at New South Associates in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Mr. Keith received a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Georgia and a M.S. in Archaeology/Anthropology from the University of Southern Mississippi. Mr. Keith leads all phases of archaeological investigations, and has worked in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. His research interests center on the prehistoric peoples of the Southeast during the Middle Woodland period, and for nearly the last decade Mr. Keith has been investigating the Leake site, a large Middle Woodland period ceremonial center in northwest Georgia. 

Photo: Leake site Swift Creek bowl (Scot Keith)

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Food service sure has gone down since we lost our lovely "fisherwoman"

    December 1, 2013

  • kathryn k.

    lecture was great! what a wonderful program!

    1 · December 1, 2013

  • Brigitte F.

    It was an incredibly interesting presentation that was very well put together and very effectively presented. It is rather amazing to find out all the history/pre-history that is so close to us, and many of us are not nearly as aware of it as we would like to be - until we are fortunate enough to enjoy a presentation such this evening's. Thank you so much, Mr. Merlin, for locating this fascinating historic-scientific presenter!
    As for the "background noise" at Manuel's Tavern this evening, I was very surprised because I had been at this venue several times before, and that was NEVER an issue. In fact, I LOVE Manuel's because it is a very pleasant place to be: good food, interesting company, and - most importantly - fascinating presentations; it doesn't get any better than that!!
    See you all again soon :-)
    Brigitte

    2 · November 30, 2013

  • Ashley

    Hope I make it up the waitlist, have been following this since it's discovery!

    November 21, 2013

    • Ashley

      Awesome, I will do that thank you!

      November 21, 2013

    • Becky R

      if my plus one cancels, you can take their place Ashley!

      November 21, 2013

  • HarryJ

    I look foward to this.

    November 15, 2013

  • Les H.

    A great way to get away from leftover turkey -- and hear about a fascinating topic.

    1 · November 4, 2013

  • Lauraloo S.

    Looking forward...

    November 4, 2013

  • Teresa M.

    Can't wait

    November 4, 2013

  • Tony G

    Sounds interesting.

    1 · November 3, 2013

  • Pam R.

    Looking forward to it

    1 · November 3, 2013

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