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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Indian Mound Excavated at Rae's Plantation

    In September 1937 a site called the Irene Mound was excavated on the eastern side of Pipe Makers' Canal where it meets the Savannah River on the outskirts of Savannah, Georgia. The site dates back to the 16th century when Indian villages and roads dotted thd State of Georgia. Those buried in the mound were probably yamacraws. They had a trading post at Yamacraw Bluff on the Savannah River. The WPA hired black women to excavate the site who complained that they had to lift baskets of rocks and remove bones! German Protestant missionaries from Moravia established a school and mission atop the hill in 1736, giving it the name "Irene." Colonel William Elberton created Rae's Hall Plantation there after the American Revolutionary War, and used the mound top as the backdrop for an elaborate mansion. Moravians and Elbertons were buried on other parts of the mound, literally atop Native mounds.
The Savannah News featured stories about the Irene Mound excavation almost daily between September 1937 and March 1938. This image is one of several reproduced from the artist's proofs saved by Marmaduke Floyd, and preserved by the Coastal Georgia Archaeology Society. Fortunately, he annotated almost every photograph with a narrative description and the collection is available at the Savannah Historical Society.

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