City and Georgia Southern Team Up for Archaeological Dig


The Cluskey Embankment Store vaults, located next to City Hall
The Cluskey Embankment Store vaults, located next to City Hall

Citizens were invited Saturday, December 16, 2012 to ask questions of archeologists and get an upclose view of the archaeological dig under way next to City Hall – part of a project intended to help the City come up with answers for one of Savannah’s great architectural mysteries.

The City and Georgia Southern University held first of several planned Public Work Days at the 170- year-old vaults, known as the Cluskey Embankment Stores, located on the Drayton Street Ramp, directly east of Savannah City Hall on Bay Street.

Archeologists from Georgia Southern University, under contract with the City, began exploring the brick vaults in early November. Citizens are encouraged to come out and watch the Georgia Southern archeology team as they excavate the site. City of Savannah and Georgia Southern University staff were available on site to answer questions about the

Georgia Southern University students sift through dirt excavated from a test plot dug last month in the Cluskey Embankment Stores
Georgia Southern University students sift through dirt excavated from a test plot dug last month in the Cluskey Embankment Stores
project and archeology methods.

Middle school, high school and college students interested in learning more about archeology were allowed to assist the GSU archeology team as they screen the excavated dirt for artifacts.

Contractors working for the City of Savannah completed the Cluskey Embankment Stores in 1842.

While the vaults have been used for parking over the past several decades, their historical use remains unclear. They are considered architecturally significant, and were included as contributing structures in our Historic District’s National Historic Landmark designation in 1966, and National Register of Historic Places designation in 1969. They are one of the oldest publicly owned facilities in Savannah, predating City Hall by more than 60 years.

Once complete, the City plans to install appropriate signage and interpretation to convey the site’s historical significance, as well as its contribution to the larger Savannah story.


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