The History of the Coosawattee Foundation
The Coosawattee Foundation was created
in the mid-1980's as a means of focusing attention and resources
on the problems of identifying and protecting former Native
American occupation sites in the southeastern United States.
Chronology of Activities
1987- The foundation began public education programs
in order to educate the residents of Northwest Georgia about
the presence and importance of archaeological sites in the area.
The Foundation formed a relationship with landowners in the
Coosa River drainage in order to insure that looting activities
could be detected and reported.
1988- The Foundation raised funds and sponsored a summer
field school at The Leake Site in conjunction with the Department
of Anthropology at The University of Georgia.
1989- The Foundation Sponsored a second year of excavation
and laboratory work at The Leake Site. The Foundation won a
grant from the National Park Service of the U.S. Department
of Interior to conduct archaeological surveys of the Etowah
River Valley near Cartersville, Georgia.
1990- The Foundation completed a third year of excavation
and laboratory research at the Leake Site. This project resulted
in the discovery of ceremonial mounds dating to 100A.D. Research
at the same site also yielded important new information about
the presence of the Spanish expeditions of Hernando DeSoto
and Tristan De Luna and the resulting demise of Native Populations.
The president of The Foundation served as chairman of the DeSoto
Trail Commission. This year marked the 450th anniversary of
the DeSoto expedition through Georgia, and the Commission was
assigned the task of designating important points of interest
along the trail.
1991- The Foundation received another grant from the
National Park Service to conduct an additional archaeological
survey in the Etowah River Valley. The first survey revealed
an unexpectedly heavy density of sites per square mile. The
second survey was deemed necessary to cover other areas of the
valley not included in the first survey.
The Foundation began the important work of working closely with
Native American groups in Georgia to try and find legislative
methods of discouraging looting of Indian burials and occupation
sites. The Foundation participated in the Cherokee Indian Homecoming
at New Echota and also in the South Carolina Archaeology Week.
1992- The Foundation began a second field school with
the University of Georgia. This excavation was co-sponsored
by the National Geographic Society, and was located on the King
Site, situated on the Coosa River near Rome, Georgia.
The Foundation took a leadership role with American Indians
in drafting and passing landmark legislation in Georgia to protect
burial sites and other archaeological sites in the state.
1993- The excavation and laboratory work was concluded
at the King Site. The site had the distinction of being the
only completely excavated site from the early European contact
period, and thereby provided significant information about the
devastating impact of Europeans on native cultures of the 16th
Century. In other research activities, the Foundation sponsored
academic research regarding the early historic period of the
Creek Indians in Georgia.
The Foundation also formulated a plan under which the Gordon
County Commission applied for funds from the U.S. Department
of Transportation for the construction of multi-use trails that
link important historic and prehistoric sites in the county.
The plan, submitted under the TransportationEnhancement Activity
provisions of the ISTEA program, received the highest ranking
among 64 projects reviewed by the Georgia TEA Panel, and the
project received an award of $ 1 million.
As part of its increasing commitment to assist American Indian
people with various projects, the Foundation sponsored the acquisition
and distribution of more than one ton of clothing to children
at the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
1994- The Foundation assisted the University of Georgia
Department of Anthropology in use of a GIS computer tool for
sophisticated mapping and analysis of information gathered from
the King Site.
arranged and donated the rental of sophisticated laser mapping
equipment for a construction project on the mounds at the Etowah
Indian Mound site. The excavations revealed very elaborate construction
techniques of the original ramp and steps to the mounds.
The Foundation assisted the Society for Georgia Archaeology
in sponsoring the first "Georgia Archaeology Awareness Week".
The Foundation began the start-up phase of an educational project
called the "River Corridors Initiative" which has since outgrown
our sponsorship and moved on to be funded by other larger environmental
In the Fall of 1994, the president of the Foundation was asked
by Governor Zell Miller to serve as a private citizen on a commission
of legislators and state agency directors to define how best
to design, build and operate a state museum of Georgia history
1995- The Foundation returned to some basic research
activities on the Coosawattee River in Gordon County. The Foundation
also assisted in the investigation of human remains found in
the Calhoun, Georgia area. This resulted in the Foundation instructing
the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in the discovery and excavation
of human remains.
The Foundation leaders were asked to participate in two committees
of the Atlanta Regional Commission's planning project called
Vision 2020, a planning effort to help define how the Atlanta
region will grow over the next 25 years.
1996- The Foundation continued to support and participate
in the "River Corridors Initiative". In a similar public education
project, the Foundation was a major sponsor of Georgia Archaeological
In Gordon County, the Foundation assisted local residents and
the New Echota State Historic Site in opposing the location
of a proposed truck stop near New Echota. The Foundation also
worked with residents and county officials to propose historic
zoning within the county.
The president of the Foundation traveled to Rwanda in June of
1996 to assist the Carter Center and USAID in the creation of
a computer data base that would document the 80,000 people in
jail in Rwanda charged with complicity in the crimes of genocide
that resulted in the murder of more than 1 million people in
that country in 1994.
In conjunction with another organization, the Native American
Consortium, the Foundation hosted at the Carter Center a historic
meeting of tribal leaders from 26 American Indian tribes from
all parts of the United States.
1997- Together with the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition,
the Foundation sponsored large meetings in Northwest Georgia
of U.S. Senate and Congressional staff members, state agency
directors, local government officials, Chamber of Commerce officers
and regional tourism professionals. The purpose of these meetings
has been to educate these leaders about the value of natural
and archaeological resources in the area and to encourage their
participation in programs aimed at protecting and promoting
1998- Present The Foundation began working as co-producer
of a documentary film project, "Our Landscapes", which tells
the story of individuals who have powerful attachments to the
land and are striving to preserve a landscape or way of life
associated with the land.
The president of the Foundation was appointed by the Governor
of Georgia to serve as a member of the Board of Natural Resources
which oversees all functions of state government related to
environmental protection, historic and prehistoric preservation,
state parks and recreation, coastal resources and wildlife management.
Also in 1998, with a substantial grant from the Educational
Foundation of America, the Foundation hired Dr. John Worth as
its first full-time staff member in order to move structured
educational programs forward with new ideas and energy. CFI
headquarters were moved to the historic Crane Eater house on
Redbud Road, and a long-term education and research project
were initiated at the nearby Thompson archaeological site.
In addition, during 1998 and 1999, the Foundation also hired
Ms. Dea Mozingo in order to expand its program capabilities.
Between 1999 and 2001, CFI also worked with Chieftains Museum
in Rome, Ga. conducting both archaeological survey and a range
of educational programs for public and school audiences.
In the past three years, the Foundation's new educational initiative
has been extremely well-received by educators and the general
public. Since 1998, more than 6,000 youth and adults have participated
in CFI educational programs. Of the grand total of more than
11,200 hours of instruction received by students, more than
40 percent were logged in the field in hands-on archaeological