Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

One of the original 13 colonies to declare independence from Britain, Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the U.S. constitution, in 1788. In prehistory it had been home to indigenous people belonging to the Woodland and Mississippian Cultures, both of which left behind large earthen tumuli around the state. A Spanish presence emerged in the 16th century, while the British established settlements in the 18th, eventually forming the Crown Colony of Georgia. Its 19th-century economy heavily reliant on slave-worked plantations, Georgia was one of the founders of the Confederate States in 1861 and was subsequently devastated by the Civil War. As the home of Martin Luther King Junior, Georgia is often regarded as the birthplace of the civil rights movement.

Archaeology & History Sites in Georgia

Etowah Indian Mounds State Historical Site

Georgia’s archaeology is famous for its large earthen mounds, and among the best known are those at Etowah. Archaeologists call the people who built it members of the Mississippian Culture, and it remains the most extant site associated with this culture in the American Southeast. The mounds were constructed between 1000 and 1550 AD and are accompanied by a plaza, settlement area, and defensive ditch. An onsite museum showcases artefacts recovered from excavations.

Hamilton Plantation Slave Cabins

On the National Registry of Historic Places since 1988, these cabins were formerly home to enslaved laborers who worked in the cotton fields of Hamilton Plantation, itself established in 1793 by James Hamilton. The cabins were built from tabby, a substance created from lime and crushed oyster shells. Since the 1930s, the cabins have been in the stewardship of the Cassina Garden Club, which has overseen their renovation and utilised them as the club headquarters. Open on select days, the slave cabins are staffed by docents knowledgeable about the site.

Pebble Hill Plantation

The origins of Pebble Hill Plantation can be traced to 1825, when Thomas Jefferson Johnson purchased the land here and used it to grow a range of crops, including cotton and tobacco. In 1830, 21 enslaved people were recorded at Pebble Hill, with some of the formerly enslaved remaining as workers after emancipation. In 1896, the Ohio-based Howard Melville Hanna purchased the property and transformed it into a hunting estate where he could escape from the harsh northern winters. The original plantation house burned down in 1934 and was replaced in 1936.

Stately Oaks Plantation

Now located in the Margaret Mitchell Memorial Park, the ‘Big House’ at Sweet Home Plantation was built in the Greek Revival style in 1839, initially as a home for Whitmill Allen. Stately Oaks’ main claim to fame is as the probable inspiration for Tara, the fictional plantation that plays a key role in Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel Gone with the Wind. The memorial park also preserves a range of historic buildings from the local area, including the cook’s log cabin, Juddy’s Country Store, a schoolhouse, and the Creek Indian Village.

Woodlawn Plantation

Built in 1840, the main house at Woodlawn Plantation later saw military use during the Civil War. In 1862, the plantation was transformed into Camp Davis, a training facility for Confederate soldiers, although the camp only operated for three months. After the war, the house was altered and extended in 1890 but in the 1960s fell into a state of disrepair. In the 1980s, local resident Warren Ratchford bought the property and oversaw its renovation. Woodlawn Plantation now offers private venue hire, specialising in particular as a wedding venue.

Museums & Art Galleries in Georgia

Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta

Based in Atlanta, the Center for Civil and Human Rights focuses attention on the African American civil rights movement of the 1960s and uses it to draw attention to other, contemporary civil rights issues around the world today. Opened in 2014, the museum is home to a range of artefacts once belonging to the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and devotes attention to telling the story of this Atlanta native.