A Georgia State University field school and archaeologists have been looking into the grounds where the old Troup Factory mill once stood to piece together its history.
The field school director, Lain Graham, said the students will spend six to eight Saturdays per semester commuting to the old Troup Factory site to gather artifacts for testing from the factory site built in the 1800s.
“There will be laboratory time spent weekly, processing and analyzing the artifacts on Georgia State University’s campus,” said Graham. “Students will be expected to write a five-to-eight page research paper about an aspect of the site or archaeological methods or techniques that interest them.”
The Troup Factory site, located on Flat Shoals Creek near Pine Mountain, started as a gristmill in 1829 and became the first textile mill in Troup County in 1849. The four-story mill produced famed quality sheetings and osnaburgs textiles until 1899.
The site has been excavated for some weeks by the group and the field school assistant director Patrick Severts said they have discovered some valuable historic evidence.
Severts said they have been able to piece together, using a map drawn in the 1890s, what is left of the old buildings and a few metal pipes intact at the site, where the each building on the site stood.
The group has found one of the large concrete mills buried under ground, and are hoping to locate the second using geophysics instruments to see what is underground.
“There might be a lot more underground that we’re not seeing,” said Severts.
The original mill, Severts said, was built from wood and over time was torn down and built with stone, due to flooding and wearing away of the wood. The mill was bought and moved into LaGrange in 1902.
Severts said another unexpected finding showed that there may have been a village near the site.
On one side of the flood plane at the site, they found undisturbed land of prehistoric soil about 75 cm into the ground and after digging, they found pottery which led them to believe a village one stood there.
“It’s hard to find intact sites,” said Severts.
Severts said the land will continue to be excavated over the next couple of years to try to determine what life was like for people during that time.
“We’d like to identify how the people lived and worked here,” he said. “Were they wealthy, some of the things they did. All artifacts we discover will be analyzed in a lab setting to help determine that.”
Graham said that after the field school is finished surveying and testing the site, the information found will be written in an archaeological report and made available to the public.