The team was presented the award by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The award is given to those who have achieved exemplary conservation results through local partnerships, while engaging the community. Georgia Southern’s team was honored for their discovery of the exact location of Camp Lawton along with numerous personal artifacts left behind by Civil War soldiers.
“Georgia Southern University is very proud of our students and faculty who have been honored with the Partners in Conservation award,” said University President Brooks Keel. “Not only has their research and subsequent discovery shed new light on a critical point in American history, but it has also created numerous opportunities for the community. Our archaeology team has hosted hundreds of school children at the site to give them a hands-on educational experience.”
The artifacts were found at Magnolia Springs State Park outside Millen. The area was the site of Camp Lawton, which at the close of the Civil War was believed to be the largest prison camp in the world. The state park was established in the 1930s, after the exact boundaries of the prison camp were no longer known.
Last year, Georgia Southern University professor Sue Moore and graduate student Kevin Chapman led the team of student archaeologists that pinpointed the site of one stockade wall and found the first artifacts on a portion of land in Magnolia Springs State Park that had recently been transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In addition to the Georgia Southern University team, representatives from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Jenkins County were also honored for their work on the preservation of the Camp Lawton site.