Blue Ridge Archaeology Guild will learn about DeSoto’s effect on Native people

  • Archaeologist Jim Langford demonstrates a pottery bird effigy from a north Georgia site.
    Archaeologist Jim Langford demonstrates a pottery bird effigy from a north Georgia site.
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The Blue Ridge Archaeology Guild (BRAG) will meet Wednesday, January 8, at 6 p.m. at the Lumpkin County Parks & Rec, 365 Riley Road.
The club’s meetings are free and open to the public.
Visitors are encouraged to attend.
Jim Langford will present a program titled “The Hernando DeSoto Expedition of 1539-41: When the World Came Crashing Down.”
The arrival of Hernando DeSoto in 1539 in the previously unexplored interior of the southeastern United States caused a dramatic change in the life-ways of the indigenous people.  It ultimately led to a 90-percent population loss among the Native people in this corner of the North American continent.
Diaries of the participants in DeSoto’s southeastern campaign give valuable insight into the cultures of the Native people before catastrophic losses brought on by European epidemics and the resultant political and settlement pattern disruptions.
Langford focuses on the DeSoto expedition for three reasons:
1) The expedition’s diary accounts combined with the archaeological record give a clear snapshot of Native cultures as they existed in the 16th Century
2) By understanding the reality of these cultures in the 16th Century, we can use the archaeological record to trace the location, extent and nature of these cultures backwards in time by several hundred years
3) This same snapshot allows us to trace these cultures forward in time to the present day as their populations diminished, political systems collapsed and the remnant refugee groups banded together to create new survival models and political structures that still exist today.    
Langford began his archaeology work at age 16, working with professional archaeologists at New Echota, the last capital of the Cherokee Nation in Georgia.  He is author and co-author of research papers and reports about Spanish contact in the 16th Century.
His Journalism degree is from the University of Georgia with a minor in archaeology, and he earned the MBA from Harvard Business School.  He worked with the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, the Caribbean, and Argentina, and was founder of successful high technology companies in the field of electronic commerce.
Langford has long been a strong supporter of Georgia archaeology state-wide, helping expand legislative funding for archaeology and historic preservation.  He is an Honorary Member of the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists.
He is active in non-profit field, with the Coosawattee Foundation, created in 1986 to preserve archaeological sites and educate the public about archaeology.  He was Georgia State Director of the Trust for Public Land, which created the connected park system of the Atlanta BeltLine and many of the parks on the Chattahoochee River.
He is founder of the Georgia Meth Project and the Georgia Prevention Project, organizations focused on preventing the use of methamphetamine, opioids and heroin among teens and young adults.
Langford is a native of Calhoun, GA, and has family there.