Early Settlement

The natural resources of the Heritage Area have supported human settlement for roughly 12,000 years. Artifacts and archaeological study suggest the area was an important trading, hunting and recreation area.  It may have served as a buffer between the Creek and Cherokee nations and supported safe transportation along the South River. The extant archaeological sites and historic structures illustrate the complexity of Native, African-American and Anglo communities.

Evidence of settlement in the Heritage Area offers fascinating insight into the daily lives of generations past. The landscape was dotted with stone quarries and rural farms and remained sparsely populated well into the 20th century.  Many of these farmsteads exist today and can help us understand rural, subsistence living.

The oldest home in Rockdale County and the oldest homestead in DeKalb County are located within a mile of each other on opposite banks of the South River. The land that lays between the Aaron Parker house and the Lyon Farm  is little changed from the time that the settler families lived in these homes. This link is easily explored on the modern-day PATH hike-bike trail.

In contrast, the Flat Rock community was settled by emancipated slaves from neighboring farms. The creation of this community and its survival during the Jim Crow-era, segregation and the Great Migration are a testament to the human condition.

Flat Rock: A Story of Roots and Resilience

Today, the T. A. Bryant, Sr. house sits in a patch of rural land at the very eastern edge of metropolitan Atlanta. This small house and homestead are a key part of DeKalb County’s African-American history: T. A. Bryant was a pivotal figure in the community of Flat Rock. This unassuming homestead – a mix […]

Modern Day Detectives Dig in on a Classic Mystery

This little three-wheeler may look like a stripped-down baby stroller. But what you’re really seeing is a high-tech tool that allows archaeologists to see underground. It’s like an X-ray machine for your front yard. The boxes and wires make up what’s called ground-penetrating radar (GPR). The signal bounces off objects underground and gives archaeologists an […]

Join Us For Public Archaeology at the Lyon Farm

We have reached our limit for participants!  Please email us to be added to our contact list for updates on future digs. You can help archaeologists on an exciting journey in search of clues to the history of an all but forgotten community. About the project: The Historic Preservation Division (HPD) is partnering with the […]

Down and Dirty at the Lyon Farm

A shard of pottery or a rusted nail – to some it may be junk but to an archaeologist, it’s a treasure that might yield clues about people long gone. To hunt for these tidbits, The Alliance and The Georgia Historic Preservation Division hosted dozens of volunteers during public archaeology days. The historic Lyon Farm, DeKalb […]