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Visitors take a trip through time at Archaeology Day

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Event returns after four-year hiatus

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    Ashley Quinn demonstrates how the Creek Indians would build a fire to five year old Taylor Doss during Archaeology Day recently at The Plaza Arts Center. LEE COLEMAN/Staff
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    Visitors peruse through ancient artifacts during Archaeology Day hosted by the Old School Museum and the Ocmulgee Archaeological Society at the Plaza Arts Center. LEE COLEMAN/Staff
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    Georgia Benjamin Smith spoke about Putnam history in the classroom of the Old School Museum last Saturday during Archaeology Day. LEE COLEMAN/Staff
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    This ancient grave is a part of the Union Church Cemetery still standing in the side yard of the Plaza Arts Center. LEE COLEMAN/Staff
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    The walking tour of the Old School Museum takes visitors on an intrepid journey through time as Putnam County developed. LEE COLEMAN/Staff

Four years had passed since the last Archaeology Day at the Plaza Arts Center in Eatonton. The popular day returned to the Plaza Aug. 7, and a good crowd was on hand to experience the thrill that only the recognition of history can bring.

Hosted by the Old School History Museum and the Ocmulgee Archaeological Society (OAS), the event was free and open to the public and provided an afternoon of archaeological activity and education as Georgia’s archaeology was celebrated.

Family-friendly activities held included artifact identification, pottery, Native American stories and games, primitive skills, pottery making for children, Union Church/Cemetery tour and a talk on the history of Putnam by Georgia Benjamin Smith in a replica classroom of the Old School History Museum.

“You can’t measure progress if you don’t have failure,” Miss Georgia told the gathering. “Keep your head up and never bow your head except to pray.”

Lyn Romine, the president of Archaeology Day, has been working with volunteers for nearly a year to put on the event after the pandemic took its toll in 2020.

“What we’d like to do is make this an on-going event with OAS,” she said. “They do these events all over middle Georgia and they are excellent at what they do. We added some things this year for children to teach them more about the local Native American culture.”

OAS president Ashley Quinn worked in conjunction with Romine and Old School History Museum Director Sandra Rosseter to put on the event.

“We are so proud of Ashley,” said Romine. “She is a local gal and has spread things around to do more with the kids. The Eatonton-Putnam Historical Society did some work on the Union Church cemetery so we have new info to share with people.”

Rosseter, along with her husband Tom, spearheaded the renaissance of the Old School History Museum and was thrilled the event finally arrived after a four-year delay.

“We are so excited,” she said. “We are looking forward to a big crowd to bring in their artifacts and see the cemetery. It will be a good day. We want this to be a community affair and people to come and enjoy being in the Plaza Arts Center. We want people to see this is a place where they can come and have a family event.”

It would be a gross understatement to say Quinn is a history buff. In the last three years, the Eatonton native has worked in archaeology but prior to that, she served as a paleontologist for 25 years, spending hundreds of hours on her knees searching sites of ancient fossils and remains.

“We are happy to have a lot of area folks from Eatonton and the lake and the surrounding counties to bring in their artifacts for verification and their children and families in to take part in the activities we have here on Archaeology Day,” she explained. “OAS serves 23 middle Georgia counties surrounding Macon and points in between the Flint River, the Oconee River and the Ocmulgee rivers. We have monthly meetings and take field trips to try and help the public with their artifacts from ancient sites.”