- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2006

ATLANTA (AP) — Archaeologists have discovered a rare site along the wooded slopes of a small creek in central Georgia that they hope will help them understand everyday life and industry from the state’s frontier days through the Civil War.

There’s little glamour in the crumbling ruins of a 200-year-old tannery, where raw hides from deer, cattle and other animals were turned into leather for products such as shoes, holsters and saddles.

But archaeologists say that learning how it operated from its establishment in 1811 through the Civil War will give them insight into commerce and labor of a long-gone era.

“Up to the time of the Civil War, it is estimated that there were over 8,000 tanneries in existence in the United States, and yet we know little about them,” said Daphne Owens Battle, an archaeologist whose firm is overseeing the excavation. “Only a handful of these sites have survived, and this is the only one we know of from this period in the South.”

Until its demise in 1864 after Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops torched the area, the large Clinton Tannery and Bark Mill served locals and soldiers in the War of 1812, the Indian Wars and the Civil War.

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