Mining and mineral industries were important sectors of the north Georgia economy during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Many of these industries had tremendous impacts on individual communities and regions of the state, as well as leaving extensive traces on the landscape. Despite the significance of mineral extraction and processing, these industries are poorly known and understood, while their archaeological traces are difficult to identify and assess. To aid the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and other agencies and consultants in evaluating historic and archaeological resources associated with these industries, New South Associates prepared Mining and Mineral Industries of North Georgia: A Historic Context.
This study focused on the northern part of Georgia, a rich and diverse geological region that supported numerous mineral industries. Some of these are relatively well known within the state, such as the gold rush that predated the California strikes by 20 years; the iron forges of the Etowah Valley; and the granite quarries of Elberton and Stone Mountain. A wide variety of other metals, non-metals, and mineral fuels, including bauxite, manganese, chlorite, marble, talc, and coal, were extracted from the state at various times and with a range of techniques, sometimes on a massive scale.
The historic mining context provides guidance for archaeologists and historians dealing with sites and properties related to mining and mineral resources in Georgia. The focus is on understanding the challenges of identifying these kinds of historic and archaeological resources, which may include broad areas and discontinuous sites and structures, as well as evaluating their historic significance. The study also provides historical information about specific industries along with descriptions of the processes of extracting and processing various minerals of the state. Additionally, it includes information on property and resource types related to mining that could be expected in Georgia. Appendices include a list of mineral resources of north Georgia by county, with maps showing the locations of specific mineral regions and mines, a list of mines by type of mineral, and an archaeological research design dealing with sites related to mining and mineral industries are all elements of the context, which also prepared a GIS layer of mining sites.