Archives to add artifacts

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Artifacts from some of Shelby County’s original residents should soon be displayed at the Shelby County Museum and Archives.

The display should include around 200 Alabama Indian artifacts found in 2004 at a burial ground in Calera off Shelby County 107.

Some of the recovered artifacts date back as far as 750 B.C., or the Woodland period.

But before the museum can collect any of the artifacts, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians must decide what they will allow to be displayed and what they want reburied.

Under federal law, Indian tribes must be consulted whenever remains are unearthed.

The Poarch Band has that right for all Indian discoveries in Alabama.

“They will decide what we can keep or bury,” said Bobby Joe Seales, museum and archives director. “They must sign off on them.”

Seales said there’s no clear timeline on that process.

“It could be a month, six months or a year,” said Seales. “But they were found in Shelby County and should be displayed in Shelby County.”

When the artifacts do arrive, University of Montevallo history students will help tag and display the valuable parts of history.

In the meantime, the museum is preparing for the artifacts’ arrival by trying to raise $80,000 for displays and shelving.

Seales just received a $5,000 grant from the CAWACO resource conservation and development council and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

The archive still needs about $50,000 for the displays, an uphill battle Seales said.

“Money is hard to come about these days,” Seales said.