Westville begins archaeological study of new site

Westville artisans display their talents at a recent Market Days exhibit in downtown Columbus.
Westville artisans display their talents at a recent Market Days exhibit in downtown Columbus. rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

Now that the ceremonial groundbreaking has taken place, Westville is moving forward with an archaeological study of the site, according to Darby Britto, Westville’s director of marketing.

The new Westville off South Lumpkin Road is known by archaeologists as the Averett site, first studied by archaeologist David Chase in the early 1950s.Westville has hired a local firm, Southern Research, Historic Preservation Consultants, to conduct the archaeological surveys of the site. They have dug 94 shovel test pits to determine areas most likely to be in need of further exploration.

Their next step is to proceed with Archaeological Data Recovery from those areas left undisturbed by earlier development of the site and most likely to be impacted by the site development our project requires.

Studies previously conducted by Fort Benning on the east side of the South Lumpkin Road have found artifacts relating to the Creek Indians, while those recovered by previous archaeology on the west side of the road are attributed to the Creek’s early ancestors of the late Woodland period, Britto said in a release.

“We do not expect to find significant artifacts due to the fact this land has been previously disturbed by construction of roads, waterlines, septic systems and the like,” Britto said. “Our endeavor here is to recover data and features that will help scholars learn more about the Creek Indians’ early ancestors.”

One of Westville’s new interpretive areas will focus on the history of the Creek people of this region, with an emphasis on those who stayed behind during the removal period of the 19th century. Westville has reached out to the Muscogee Creek Nation for consultation.

Westville is a museum of southern history and culture that is moving to Columbus from Lumpkin Georgia, expecting to open in late 2018. Its buildings and artifacts date to the 19th century and have for years served to outline the historical time frame.