Some of the nation’s top archaeologists will be trekking across the city of Springfield’s property near the famed Ebenezer Crossing.
City council members agreed to permit Dan Elliott of the LAMAR Institute to lead a National Park Service metal detector workshop for professional archaeologists, scheduled for November. The National Preservation Center for Technology Training, based in Natchitoches, La., is conducting the training, with 30 archaeologists and six instructors.
The team will spend a day in the field and eventually will compile and submit a report for the city.
“It will help you understand what’s out there and what might need protecting,” Elliott said.
Any artifacts uncovered will belong to the city, Elliott said, though most of the work will be centered locating and mapping the locations of metal detector “hits.”
City Manager Brett Bennett said he’s often asked about the city’s recently-acquired property at the Ebenezer Crossing.
“I think it’s important to do a good bit of research before we figure out what we have, and have a plan for the property and identify the necessary and interpretative items,” he said. “This is the first step in the process.”
The expedition also will explore Redoubt No. 7, the earthwork fortification on the outskirts of what was the Ebenezer settlement.
“It was the northernmost for surrounding Ebenezer,” Elliott said. “Those poor suckers were stuck out on the edge. They were kind of targets.”
The British set up their headquarters in Ebenezer, Elliott said, rather than Savannah for the first part of 1779. Redoubt No. 7 also may have been occupied by Colonial commander Gen. “Mad Anthony” Wayne and his troops.”
“There could have been some action in the Colonial era,” Elliott said. “Its history goes all the way back.”
The small fort also may have been involved in the Civil War, with the Confederate gunship Daisy bombarding Union soldiers there.
Elliott and the LAMAR Institute have done extensive work on the Ebenezer settlement.
The National Park Service designated the lower 1,350 acres of the Ebenezer Creek watershed, which includes the Ebenezer Crossing tract, as a National Natural Landmark, noting it was the best remaining cypress-gum forest in the entire Savannah River Basin.
“I want to applaud you for acquiring that property at the mouth of Ebenezer Creek,” Elliott said to city council members. “That’s a brilliant move. It’s a great resource to walk on a road that George Washington rode on. That place is crawling with history.”