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Only the fully carbonized hardwood charcoal pieces were submitted to Beta-analytic for radiocarbon dating (the small sample was dated directly via Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, or AMS).The charcoal came from a reasonable context, considering that the sample moreor- less corresponded with the deepest stones of the pile that were embedded within the dirt (in fact the charcoal came from the transition between light brown clayey loam to light gray loamy clay).Taken at face value, this tradition implies that Cherokee Indians that lived in the area prior to removal could have piled the stones.This short article presents ethno-historic eyewitness accounts and tentative archaeological evidence that historic period Cherokee Indians could indeed have piled these stones.When viewed in relation to the core of the pile, as shown in the west profile, the upper OCR sample is slightly higher than the lowest stones.In terms of stratigraphic association, the charcoal came from a context related to roughly when the pile was stacked (i.e., directly in line with the very lowest stones).In the absence of artifacts and/or features covered by the stone piles then, dating is at best only an inconclusive alternative, leaving us with equivocal results.Nonetheless, we thought it prudent to present the dating results here as part of a growing database on stone piles in Georgia.
Euro-Americans piled stones for a variety of reasons, chief among these being clearing land for agricultural fields or for stockpiling building material.Removal of soil occurred in 5-centimeter thick levels.All dirt was screened through a quarter- inch mesh to facilitate artifact and charcoal recovery.Charcoal fragments from roughly 7 centimeters below the actual ground surface were collected for identification and dating (Table 1).Leslie Raymer, ethno-botanist at New South, identified both partially and fully carbonized pine and fully carbonized hardwood in the sample.
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We decided to excavate a 2 by 1 meter trench through one of the more intact piles, known as Stone Pile 8 (sketch below). A depression occurred near the center of the pile and many stones from the pile were scattered on its down slope side.