Point of Beginning

Leica Geosystems Brings Technology to the Trail of Tears

July 16, 2008


(Norcross, Ga., 15 July 2008)  Leica Geosystems helped to secure its own place in Cherokee history by donating its highly loaded total station technology to the Chieftains Museum Major Ridge Home, a National Historic Landmark that serves as the educational and interpretive site for preserving the Cherokee Nation and its history of forced removal along the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. With the Leica TPS1200 R300 (www.leica-geosystems.com/us/en/lgs_4580.htm) total station, historians and on-site archeologists now have the technological capacity to locate previously undiscovered relics and accurately map their existence in the area, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the Cherokees.

A total difference

The Chieftains Museum, based in Rome, Georgia, has strived to save the Major Ridge Home dating back to 1819 and to interpret the complex story the home, and its first known owner Major Ridge, represents. Since 1969, Chieftains has been educating individuals, families and school children about its local Cherokee culture and preserving cultural resources found on the site.

Dave Davis, Chieftains archeological projects manager, says the fast, long-range, millimeter accuracy of the Leica TPS1200 R300 will provide the non-profit museum with the precision they need to accurately map artifacts already unearthed, heighten the educational tools and experience of students and visitors and the platform to further discover the historic significance of the property and the Cherokee Nation.

“I chose the Leica TPS1200 because it is a top surveying instrument,” says Davis. “With this technology we can now map, to the millimeter, every archeological feature in the site and provide that spatial awareness to our students and visitors. We are so thankful to Leica Geosystems for giving us the technological tool to better preserve the Major Ridge Home and the cultural resources on the property.”

Long-range vision

Immediate plans for the total station technology is to create a mock archeological dig site for students and visitors to experience archeology, history and technology. Students will learn the art of unearthing history while others will have the chance to “map” it using the Leica TPS1200.

Chieftains long-term view is to become a leading visitor destination that will take visitors back in time and immerse them in the Major Ridge home and farm and the momentous events that led to the 1830’s expulsion of Cherokees from their ancestral homelands. A significant part of meeting this goal is to restore the home and surrounding area to 19th Century life. The Leica TPS1200 will play a pivotal role in guiding the restoration, new construction and the recordation of any new cultural discoveries found.

“Having an accurate mapping tool will allow us to begin to relate specific data about structures, features or artifacts to a broader context of the geography of the region and the social climate of the time,” said Davis. “I am thrilled with possibility of learning even more about the Cherokee culture.”

“We were eager to support the Chieftains unique, interesting and culturally significant mission,” said Andre Ribeiro, Leica Geosystems’ director of marketing. “We are confident that the Leica TPS1200 will provide them with the user-friendly, reliable, consistent and accurate positioning technology they need to better map the Cherokee’s history in the area. We too look forward to learning more about our local Georgian history.”