Pomfret has been working with the Trail of Tears Association, Georgia chapter, to help locate some of the Cherokee removal forts used by the U.S. Army to hold Native Americans on their forced march from the area over 170 years ago.
The Department of Transportation was first contacted by the Trail of Tears Association in response to the widening of Ga. 20 in Bartow County. The proposed construction happened to run into or very near what was believed to be the site of Fort Buffington.
Now Pomfret is working to find the exact location of Fort Cummings in Walker County. On Feb. 11 he and his team carefully mapped grids over several areas near the water treatment facility by the intersection of Probasco Street and Bradley Avenue in LaFayette.
Pomfret has been using a magnetic gradiometer, a type of magnetometer, to survey all proposed fort sites. This piece of equipment “measures differences in the earth’s magnetic field — bricks, hearths, burned areas,” and so forth.
Something as simple as an old cooking area could help pinpoint the exact location of Fort Cummings.
“Most of these geophysical techniques require software analysis,” Pomfret said, so until he can take his equip-ment off the field, it is nearly impossible to know if his team found anything of importance.
Pomfret has found promising evidence in previous surveys at the Fort Buffington site in Bartow County, but as far as he knows, the Trail of Tears Association has not yet begun to dig in the area.
“Hopefully that’s part of their plan,” he said.