Jamie Credle, director of the Isaiah Davenport House Museum, said attendance for the first Harvest Lecture about the slave ship Antelope exceeded expectations.
"It was a great evening and an informative talk," she said. "We look forward to Professor (Jonathan) Bryant's return to Savannah once his book is released this summer."
Not to be overshadowed by last month's event, round two of the Harvest Lecture Series promises to unearth the life of locals in the 1800s.
A panel discussion on archeological findings from digs conducted this past year on the Davenport House grounds will take place Dec. 8 at Kennedy Pharmacy.
Isaiah Davenport owned lots 13 and 14 off of Columbia Square at State and Habersham streets. Condominiums now cover a portion of lot 14, where it is believed the horse shed had once been located. Credle explained that the Davenport House hired Georgia's own Lamar Institute to search for historical artifacts.
"Last January, the institute began its process by first using ground penetrating radar," Credle said.
The radar helped Rita Elliot, field director and principal investigator, and her team of four archeologists conduct test excavations.
"We have not been given all the information on the findings yet," Credle said. "All will be revealed at the lecture."
The panel discussion will included feedback from Rita Elliot as well as her husband and colleague, Daniel Elliot, who serves as the Lamar Institute's president.
Additionally, Armstrong State University professor Dr. Christopher Hendricks and SCAD professor Justin Gunther will be on hand to lend their expertise on American architectural history and historic preservation, respectively.
The Lamar Institute was established in 1982 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Savannah.
"Our mission," said Daniel Elliot, "is to conduct archaeological and historical research and educate the public about the same."
While most of the institute's research interest lies in the southeastern United States, its researchers have broadened their geographical scope to locations such as the Caribbean, Canada and Great Britain. The institute has been involved in Savannah's archaeological heritage since 1988 with its "Lost City Survey Initiative."
What might be most exciting about the Davenport findings is the Lamar team's discovery of a privy, Rita Elliot stated.
"The privy was used and filled with trash by Isaiah Davenport from 1800 to likely before 1830," she said.
Even more intriguing may prove to be that the privy cut through "older deposits dating from the 1750s to 1790s, decades before that part of town, Columbia Ward, was established," she added.
Analyzing various maps of the area, the Lamar researchers were able to determine that a major road ran into the east side of town right along the Davenport's current structure.
"So the older deposits we found represent trash (now artifacts) that townspeople threw away outside of town," she said.
Such materials can allow archeologists to determine what some of everyday life may have been like for Savannah's former residents. Along with the privy artifacts, the Lamar Institute had older maiden deposits analyzed for historic pollen, seeds and other plant remains, as well as parasites. Even animal bones were uncovered.
All of these factors help paint a picture of the environment past generations lived in.
Most encouraging about such discoveries is the fact that the Davenport House (and other historic homes that conduct such research) can accurately recreate the history and reinterpret the homes for educational purposes.
In a city like Savannah, where the truth never gets in the way of telling a good story, historical truths can be the entertaining part of the story once again.