ASSIGNMENT: Lab Project – Archaeological Methods

Atlanta Since WWII


Graduate and Undergraduate students will be paired in small groups and assigned a selection of artifacts from the MARTA collection to describe and analyze. While we will take class time to form groups, and there might be time for short group meetings during class, the vast majority of the work will be done outside of class.  This is part of the work that constitutes the 4th credit hour and will require good communication between group members.

During the 1970s Georgia State University (GSU) archaeologists conducted systematic excavations associated with the construction of the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) rail lines.  This project recovered the material remains of Atlanta’s past, and these materials represent the single most comprehensive archaeological collection of Atlanta’s history.  The entire collection (469 medium-sized “banker” boxes housing over 100,000 artifacts and all the accompanying documentation and excavation archive) has recently been returned to GSU. Showcasing significant “moments” in the life of the city, including several Civil War sites associated with the Battle of Atlanta, the majority of the collection corresponds to the late 19th and early 20th century, the time of Atlanta’s rebirth as a major metropolitan area, the collection opens immense opportunities for faculty and student research and public education and outreach.

This project will give you the opportunity to work with a real archaeological collection. In the process of this project you will learn a great deal about different classes of material culture used by Atlanta’s past citizens and about caring for archaeological collections.  Each group will produce a report about the particular context/artifacts studied.



Jeffrey Glover – Anthropology, Georgia State University