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Following the discovery of gold in the north Georgia mountains, new and complicated mining techniques were introduced, irreversibly transforming the landscape in and around Lumpkin County in the mid-nineteenth century. Complex networks of mining ditches were constructed to direct high-pressure water to hydraulic mining operations in Dahlonega. Although largely forgotten, these ditches remain visible across much of Lumpkin County, hidden in the woods and under decades of leaf litter. This paper discusses the archaeological investigation of the mining ditches present in the county, reporting data collected from archived maps and historical sources. During the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017, historical documents including maps, letters, and newspaper articles were collected, facilitating the creation of a modern, georeferenced map displaying the locations of many of the ditches in the county. Solutions to problems associated with georeferencing these older, archival maps will be presented. Results of this archaeological investigation demonstrate the scale of hydraulic mining operations in Lumpkin County and provide the basis for a broader investigation of the consequent landscape transformation.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • History, Anthropology, & Philosophy

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Library Technology Center 163

  • Event date
    • 24 March 2017

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Balco