Underground Savannah

Savannah - Chatham County

The Story

As Georgia’s oldest European-settled city, Savannah’s array of underground archaeological sites is vast and diverse. These archaeological sites are a bank of unique and irreplaceable historical information about Savannah’s history and they have the potential to not only expand the history of the past but tell the stories of those silent in historical accounts.

The Threat

These resources are being destroyed at an alarming rate as buildings are demolished and new ones are constructed. Many of the more recently constructed buildings have deep architectural footprints that have obliterated any archaeological potential beneath them. Savannah has no archaeological ordinance that requires comprehensive archaeological study in advance of a site’s destruction. As a result, countless archaeological sites have been destroyed. Unmitigated development continues across Savannah, moving into areas where archaeological sites have managed to survive thus far. Savannah’s current public policy needs to incorporate archaeology into its regulations.

The Update

In 2019, the City of Savannah approved an archaeology ordinance that applies to city projects larger than 1,500 square feet. It does not apply to private property.