Term of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Jared Wood

Committee Member 1

Matthew Compton

Committee Member 2

Christopher Moore


The natural formation processes of depressional wetlands and the resultant resources they provided along the South Atlantic slope were important to a variety of plant and animal species during the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. The utilization of these areas by precontact indigenous populations has provided important data for archaeological interpretations of site formation processes and settlement patterns seen predominately during the Paleoindian and Archaic periods. Prominent archaeological research conducted within the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina looks at indigenous utilization of depressional wetlands and Carolina bays, however, minimal research on this subject has been pursued in Georgia. This project investigates a multi-component precontact site with an associated depressional wetland in Dodge County, Georgia (the Gresston Spring Site). Through the implementation of the research methodologies conducted in the South Carolina archaeological projects, the main premise of this research is to determine how and when precontact indigenous peoples used depressional wetlands in the Georgia Coastal Plain. Based on a combination of changing environmental and indigenous migration patterns across the Coastal Plain (i.e., the Upland Travel hypothesis), this research revealed that the Gresston Spring Site contained multiple periods of indigenous habitation. This is based on the diverse lithic assemblage (bifaces, flake tools, and debitage) from the existing surface assemblage and the materials recovered from the 2022 archaeological field work component. From the Late Paleoindian to the Middle Woodland period, the Georgia case study provided evidence of lithic stone procurement and on-site tool production activities (such as late-stage biface production, use, and maintenance) near the wetland. Periods of drought would have made depressional wetlands, like the one at Gresston Spring, ideal for short term occupation, as precontact indigenous populations utilized such water resources that dotted the drier interfluvial uplands.

Research Data and Supplementary Material


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