Thanks to a UGA team, university researchers and Athens residents can now take a virtual walk through the city’s changing physical landscape via the “Layers of Time” story map and the “Layers of Time” map portal, built from historical material capturing the Old Athens Cemetery, Oconee Hill Cemetery, the UGA campus and the greater Athens area, from the 1800s to the present.

1895 map of Athens, Georgia

The story map and map portal summarize the comprehensive mapping project conducted by a team of faculty and students led by Marguerite Madden and Sergio Bernardes, director and associate director, respectively, of the Center for Geospatial Research. The project was commissioned after human remains were unearthed on the Baldwin Hall construction site in late 2015.

Initial DNA analysis of the remains revealed the vast majority of those tested were of maternal African descent; considering the age of the remains, the individuals were most likely slaves or former slaves.

The provided digital resources demonstrate how interactive maps, images and other information can both enhance the known record and highlight new discoveries. For example, an old, hand-drawn map of burial sites in the Old Athens Cemetery can be accurately projected onto current aerial views, even allowing users to scroll over specific burial sites to reveal what is known about the individual buried there.

Using these publicly accessible tools, anyone interested in Athens history may view, download and use maps and other imagery contained in the Athens: Layers of Time database. Learn more about the Layers of Time Project.

Interactive Story Map

Map of Athens, Georgia created in 1944

Visit the story map, and watch the university—and the city around it—take shape over the decades.

Map Portal

Use the map portal to explore historical maps, aerial photographs and text information to create your own maps.

Using the Portal

Three students work on visual mapping project at computer

See examples of functionalities of the map portal and learn how to use online maps to explore the history of Athens.