Archaeological Artifacts Found on UT Farm Property

KNOXVILLE — Two Native American dwelling sites dating to the 1300s and the foundation of an 18th century house have been found on the proposed site of a University of Tennessee golf practice facility.

The discoveries were made by the UT Archaeological Research Laboratory on a 23-acre site along the Tennessee River near the Marine Reserve Center on Alcoa Highway.

Dr. Boyce Driskell, laboratory director, said evidence was found that a small town or village was located at the site within the period of A.D. 1300 to 1600. Human remains from that period also have been identified, he said.

“We found a pattern of archaeological remains which included remnants of two prehistoric houses, a corn crib, storage pits, post holes and a segment of a palisade or fortified fence,” Driskell said. “These features are accompanied by artifacts distinctive of the Dallas people, a late prehistoric group recognized by archaeologists throughout the upper East Tennessee valley.”

Fieldwork on the site was done under a permit issued by the State Division of Archaeology and coordinated with TVA, which has regulatory authority of Fort Loudoun Lake and its flood plain.

In view of the findings on the proposed golf practice site, UT officials said Tuesday they will have additional archaeological surveys done on the Cherokee Farm property. The university’s 25-year master plan calls for recreational, research and housing development on the 200-plus-acre tract that is now the UT Dairy Farm.

“UT archaeologists’ research and interpretation of native American and early Euro-American life in the Tennessee valley are internationally recognized,” Philip Scheurer, UT vice president for operations, said.

“These latest findings confirm the excellent work of Dr. Driskell and the ARL staff. The university is pleased by the level of effort and the results thus far.

“In any area where archaeological artifacts are found, appropriate state and federal regulations will be observed.”

The late 18th or early 19th century dwelling foundation was found inside one of the prehistoric sites. Remains include a filled cellar with artifacts that point to the vintage of the house, Driskell said.

“The prehistoric findings and the house foundation are significant cultural resources which meet criteria for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places,” Driskell said. “Both represent considerable potential to provide important data on past inhabitants of this area.

“These sites will be carefully managed by the university in order to preserve important remains for future archaeological investigation.”