Atlanta Artifacts

The Phoenix Project

Atlanta Artifacts is the result of a trans-disciplinary collaboration at Georgia State University to digitize and describe artifacts from the Phoenix Project collection, which is housed in the Department of Anthropology and curated by Dr. Jeffrey Glover. The collection comprises nearly 469 boxes of archaelogical evidence excavated during the construction of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) rail lines in the 1970s.This project recovered the material culture remains of Atlanta’s past, and these materials represent the single most comprehensive archaeological collection of Atlanta’s history. In addition, the excavations themselves are among the pioneering projects of urban archaeology in early days of Cultural Resource Management (CRM). Thus, just the excavation archive—part of the collection—is invaluable for understanding the history of archaeology in the US, especially the burgeoning new field of urban archaeology.


Material Culture Studies

The catalog of item descriptions and exhibits on display here were created by undergraduate students working in advanced multimodal composition courses led by Dr. Robin Wharton in the Department of English. Taking advantage of the computing resources available in the library's Collaborative University Research and Visualization Environment (CURVE), students prepared 3D digital models as part of a semester-long process of research and material culture studies analysis of some of the most interesting objects from the Phoenix Project collection. 

The collaboration is ongoing and still in its early stages. Eventually, the models, object descriptions, and historical analyses created by student collaborators will be integrated into the 3D Atlanta Project, an effort to create a digital, three-dimensional, interactive historical view of a city block in the heart of GSU's downtown Atlanta campus as it looked in the 1920s-1930s.



This work has been presented at the Southern American Studies Association annual meeting, the Computer Applications in Archaeology Conference, and will be included in a paper that has been accepted for the upcoming Society for Historical Archaeology Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology.



Featured Exhibits

Civil War Pewter Canteen

This is an old Civil War Pewter Canteen found along the MARTA rail line in the early '70s.

Damaged Porcelain Doll Head

This porcelain doll head was found in a MARTA line in a grate beneath a viaduct in 1977 by a...

19th Century Toothbrush Handle

This is a toothbrush handle from The Prophylactic Company, produced during the late 19th and early 20th century.

Kaolin Tobacco Smoking Pipe

IMG_1963 copy.jpg

This tobacco smoking pipe, made of Kaolin was found just northeast of Atlanta in Miners Creek, Ga during the excavation...

Small Porcelain Teapot


This is a small poreclain teapot.

Civil War Ammo Belt Buckle

A round Civil War-era buckle, unearthed in Atlanta during survey digs in the 1970s to make room for the future...

Brass Decorative Makeup Compact

This is a makeup compact found in a MARTA station. It could have possibly be seen as vintage when it...

Kaolin-Clay Smoking Pipe (Maddalena Alvarez)

This is a kaolin clay pipe made by Duncan McDougal in a Scotland manufacturer around 1890.It is made for tobacco...