TCPA in 2017: Connecting Past, Present, and Public

30 Days of Tennessee Archaeology, Wrap Up

Phil Hodge
President, Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology

Well, that’s it, folks. Another great “30 Days of Tennessee Archaeology” is in the books! I want to thank everyone who followed along each day and especially all those who contributed a post. Special appreciation is due to TCPA Board Members Sierra Bow and Andrew Gillreath-Brown who solicited posts, organized the blogfest, and made it happen. Sierra and Andrew reported that the blogfest reached nearly 45,000 people on Facebook, accumulating more than 2,000 reactions, comments, and shares, not to mention more than 5,000 unique visits to the TCPA website! The most viewed posts were Jared Barrett’s on the Battle of Franklin, Mike Moore’s on Tennessee state cemetery laws, and Nathan Shreve’s on his research in the Middle Nolichucky Valley. As they do every year, these numbers speak to the popularity of the blogfest and serve as a good indicator that TCPA is reaching its audience.

Even though most of the leaves have yet to fall, we can already chalk 2017 up as a success for TCPA! We awarded our annual research grant in the spring, reviewed and submitted comments on the state’s social studies standards, and of course, organized and hosted “30 Days of Tennessee Archaeology.” At our annual business meeting in January, the Board established two priorities for 2017. The first was to bolster our Legislative Committee to monitor legislative developments that have the potential to affect either archaeological sites or the profession of archaeology. I’m proud to report that the Legislative Committee has been diligent in their charge, having kept the Board aware of developments at state and federal levels and made recommendations for action where needed.

The Board’s second priority was to create opportunities for archaeologists across the state to connect in person, with the hope that new relationships would be formed, old ones would be renewed, and that the professional community in the state would continue to grow and strengthen. To this end, TCPA organized and hosted six “archaeology happy hours” across the state at local breweries. These events have really taken off and archaeologists from a variety of institutions, agencies, and organizations have attended. And, lest we be accused of talking only to ourselves, we also wanted to create and sponsor opportunities for the interested public to engage in Tennessee archaeology. To do so, TCPA’s Events Committee organized our first ever “Archaeology Day”, with the goal of bringing Tennessee archaeology to the public through free events and activities for archaeologists of all ages. Led by Sarah Levithol-Eckhardt, Paige Silcox, and Robert Colson, the Events Committee’s call for volunteers and sponsors was met enthusiastically from archaeologists from across Tennessee and even several surrounding states. Over the course of five hours more than 750 people came to Archaeology Day! The response from visitors was overwhelmingly positive and we hope to make this an annual event, not just in Nashville, but across the state. The success of Archaeology Day wouldn’t have been possible without the support of TCPA members, our partners, and sponsors, a full list of which is given below. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank all of you for making Archaeology Day a success and helping TCPA fulfill its mission to promote archaeological awareness and stewardship of the past.

If you attended Archaeology Day, one of our happy hours, or if you followed the blogfest and like what TCPA is doing, you can help ensure that this work continues and that we continue to expand our outreach efforts by joining or renewing your membership in TCPA today. You can do so anytime by visiting the membership page on our website at You can follow us on Facebook to get current updates on Tennessee archaeology and find out about future events.

On behalf of TCPA’s board, officers, and membership, thank you again for following along through 30 Days of Tennessee Archaeology! I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of the professional archaeologists in the state, including your students, employees, and volunteers, who put TCPA’s mission into practice and advocate for professionalism in the best way possible – through your actions. This year has been a great success for TCPA and we hope to build on it in 2018 and beyond. See you at CRITA!


Archaeology Day participants and sponsors:

TRC Environmental Corporation (
Panamerican Consultants, Inc.
New South Associates, Inc.
Amec Foster Wheeler
Tennessee Department of Transportation
Tennessee Division of Archaeology
Tennessee State Museum
Tennessee Historical Commission
Tennessee Valley Authority
Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park
Fort Negley
MTSU Anthropology
Rutherford County Archaeological Society
Sewanee Native Cultigen Project: (
Nick Fielder
Origin Creations
Project Archaeology
Leadership Academy LLC
The Tennessee Ancient Sites Conservancy
African American Cultural Alliance Nashville
Vanderbilt Anthropology Graduate Student Association
The Tennessee Geological Survey and Friends:

Speakers: Jared Barrett, Paul Eubanks, Gabriela Ore, Laura Bartel, and Shannon Hodge