Secrets divulged by the Savannah

  • Posted: 11/1/2012 10:32 PM
    6/1/2013 6:28 PM

In the cold, dark Savannah River that separates South Carolina and Georgia lies secrets unknown to passersby. Trey Burdette, a local diver, has uncovered some of these secrets with his diving skills. He has found all sorts of objects in the Savannah River that give clues to what has happened along the river's banks. According to archeologists studying the area, Native Americans built a large village about 3,000 years ago near the current Interstate 20 bridge. Burdette has found many artifacts in this area, including pottery shards, arrowheads, spearheads and even a tool that appears to be a knife. "Depending on the section of the river you are in, you will find different articles," Burdette explained. "It depends on who was there. For example, I usually find jugs and bottles near the downtown area of Augusta. This is where modern man is and has been for the last couple hundred years." Many factories were built in Augusta along the Savannah River. One of these was King Mill on the Georgia side. The Confederacy made their gunpowder and cannons there. While diving by this area, Burdette found a cannon wheel made at King Mill. The South Carolina Pottery sat across the river in Hamburg. During the early 1900s, several floods hit this area. According to Burdette, more than 600 pottery jugs made at this pottery factory floated away in the river. Burdette is proud of the jug he discovered in the river at this site. It is still in mint condition. You can find one of America's favorite drinks in the Savannah. Burdette has found many Coca-Cola bottles in the Savannah River, including one made in 1911. It is stamped "Augusta, Ga." on the front. It was probably used for Coca-Cola that was bottled and distributed in Augusta at that time. "Bottles in good shape like this one are selling on eBay for about $150," Burdette said. You must be trained to become a certified diver to find these treasures. The Savannah River presents several hazards, Burdette said. These include "lower visibility, currents, boats, fish and other wildlife including water moccasins and alligators." Burdette has been diving for eight years. He is now a training officer for divers with Richmond County and an assistant instructor with Scuba School International. Burdette explained that one must also have a hobby license if you live in South Carolina and want to keep treasures. He dives and looks for treasure because the area is beautiful and diving is "fun." He would like to see more activities going on around the Savannah River including canoeing, racing and tubing. Burdette would also like to see the community take a more active role in keeping the river clean.