A continent and five centuries away, an excavation organized by Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History found buried glass beads, iron tools, and brass and silver ornaments dating to the mid-1500s. The southern-Georgia location—where they’d been searching for a 17th-century Spanish mission—came to be called the Glass Site.
“For an Indian in the South 500 years ago, things like glass beads and iron tools might as well have been iPhones,” said project leader Dennis Blanton, an independent archaeologist who until recently was Fernbank’s staff archaeologist.
“These were things that were just astonishing to them. They were made of materials that were unknown and were sometimes in brilliant blue and red colors that were unmatched in the native world.”
Story: Ker Than, National Geographic News | Photo: Dan Schultz, Fernbank Museum of Natural History