The 2015 Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month Poster:  Celebrating the Tennessee State Artifact

30 Days of Tennessee Archaeology 2015, Day 9

Tanya M. Peres, PhD, RPA
President, Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology

On behalf of the Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology, I am thrilled to unveil the 2015 Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month poster, featuring our State Artifact!

The 2015 Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month poster.

The 2015 Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month poster.

Tennessee’s State Artifact was created sometime between AD 1250 and 1350 by a Native American artist in Middle Tennessee. This siltstone statue, and others like it, were kept in temples or shrines located in large villages and were important aspects of religious life and ritual activity during the Mississippian Perod. Nearly 800 years later in 2014, this particular statue, colloquially referred to as “Sandy,” was designated as the Tennessee State Artifact via TCPA-sponsored legislation. This statue is considered to be the finest known example of Tennessee-Cumberland style stone statuary, of which a total of 42 statues have been identified.* This group of statues are found almost exclusively in the Cumberland River Valley of Middle Tennessee and and western Kentucky.

The postcard version of the 2015 TAAM poster.

The postcard version of the 2015 TAAM poster.

“Sandy” has an impressive vitae of honors, including being the only piece of preColumbian Native American art featured in the 10-stamp “Art of the American Indian” US Postal Service series in 2004, and in the upcoming exhibition “Ancestors: Ancient Native American Sculptures of Tennessee” which runs from October 30, 2015 through May 15, 2016 at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.  His permanent home is at the McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. You can read more about the life history of the statue and the process of designating the statue as the state artifact here.

This year, we honor our Tennessee State Artifact on the Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month poster and postcard as a way to raise awareness of the native artists that resided in Tennessee for milennia before the arrival of Europeans. If you are interested in obtaining your FREE copy of the poster or postcard, please fill out the request form below, and allow up to 4 weeks for shipping and handling.

 

The Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month posters and postcards are a joint effort by the TCPA and Middle Tennessee State University. Funding for the posters and postcards, including shipping postage, is covered by a grant from the Tennessee Historical Commission** made to TCPA President Tanya Peres (Florida State University), TCPA Board Member Shannon Hodge (Middle Tennessee State University) and Noel Lorson (Middle Tennessee State University). Design work is courtesy of Noel Lorson, Associate Professor of Graphic Design, Department of Art, Middle Tennessee State University. The photograph of the state artifact is courtesy of Dr. David Dye, Associate Professor of Archaeology, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Memphis.


* To learn more abut this artifact and Tennessee-Cumberland statuary, please check out the fantastic 2009 volume Speaking with the Ancestors: Mississippian Stone Statuary of the Tennessee, by Kevin Smith and James Miller.


**The activity that is the subject of this publication has been financed in part with federal funds from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. However, the contents and options do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the department of the Interior, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the department of the Interior. REGULATIONS OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR STRICTLY PROHIBIT UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION IN DEPARTMENTAL FEDERALLY ASSISTED PROGRAMS ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORIGIN, AGE OR DISABILITY. ANY PERSON WHO BELIEVES HE OR SHE HAS BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST IN ANY PROGRAM, ACTIVITY OR FACILITY OPERATED BY A RECIPIENT OF FEDERAL ASSISTANCE SHOULD WRITE TO: DIRECTOR, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, P.O. BOX 37127, WASHINGTON, D.C. 20013-7127 PUBLIC NOTICE: ALL NOTICES, INFORMATIONAL PAMPHLETS, PRESS RELEASES, RESEARCH REPORTS, SIGNS, AND SIMILAR PUBLIC NOTICES PREPARED AND RELEASED BY THE GRANTEE SHALL INCLUDE THE STATEMENT, PROJECT IS FUNDED UNDER AN AGREEMENT WITH THE TENNESSEE HISTORICAL COMMISSION. ANY SUCH NOTICES BY THE GRANTEE SHALL BE APPROVED BY THE STATE.
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