30 Days of Tennessee Archaeology, Day 1
President, Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology (TCPA)
Archaeologist – United States Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District
Welcome to the Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology (TCPA) fifth annual “30 Days of Tennessee Archaeology” blog fest. I can’t believe it’s been five years already. We have seen so many interesting topics covered over the years during our blogfest. When TCPA first started the blogfest, we simply wanted to increase public outreach and make Tennessee archaeology more accessible to everyone.
I say we exceeded our expectations! We’ve even seen other states become inspired to do their own 30 days of archaeology including Kentucky which is also doing their 30 days of archaeology blogfest this month.
For those who may not know, Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month (TAAM) takes place each September and is marked by a variety of events across the state that promote Tennessee’s archaeological heritage. TAAM has been official since 2015, when the bill creating this designation was signed into law.
Prior to that, Tennessee had been celebrating Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Week since 1995. The bill making TAAM official states the month of September will be used to “encourage citizens to learn more about prehistoric and historic archaeology in Tennessee”. What better way for citizens of Tennessee to learn more about archaeology than by our annual blogfest!
Each day in September an archaeologist working or conducting research in Tennessee will contribute a short blog post highlighting their work. You’ll learn about current research, the latest discoveries, and how new technologies are changing our understanding of Tennessee’s past. Over the next 30 days, you’ll hear from archaeologists at various stages in their careers, from students to professors and other archaeologists who work for state and federal agencies and private archaeological firms. You’ll learn about archaeological sites and research projects covering all three grand divisions of Tennessee (East, Middle, and West). We have blog topics that cover the entire history of Tennessee from the first people to inhabit Tennessee over 14,000 years ago to excavations of the African American Rosenwald Schools dating to the early twentieth century. You’ll also hear about what it’s like to be an archaeologist, some of the functions of the Tennessee Division of Archaeology and other public outreach regarding archaeology. As you read the blogposts, you’ll see how archaeologists in Tennessee are working to promote, preserve, and document irreplaceable archaeological sites for future generations. These blogposts allow us to share what we know about the past with the public that supports our work.
In an addition to the blogfest, we’re also excited to announce our second annual Archaeology Day! It will take place on Saturday, September 8th at Bells Bend Park in Nashville from 10am to 3pm. Archaeology Day is free and open to everyone. We have all sorts of activities planned and you can find out more about Archaeology Day by visiting our Facebook page. You can also read all about last year’s Archaeology Day as well as this year’s event as a featured blog post on Tuesday September 4th. So mark your calendars for Saturday September 8th and join us at Bells Bend Park for what will surely be another fun and educational day for archaeologists of all ages!
Two other archaeological themed events will take place across the state during Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month. Today, Pickett CCC Memorial State Park in Pall Mall on the Upper Cumberland Plateau is hosting their 2nd annual Archaeology Day event in conjunction with the Pickett Archaeology Museum and East Tennessee State University Research Station. Visitors can tour the Pickett Archaeology Museum and see demonstrations of atlatl throwing, pottery making, and flint knapping. This event is free and open to the public.
Then, on Saturday September 23rd from 1 to 4 PM, join the Rutherford County Archaeological Society for their Archaeology Day at the Pavilion at Oaklands Park in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Rutherford County Archaeological Society has been putting on an Archaeology Day since 2015 and will have plenty of activities that will be tons of fun with learning for all ages with numerous archaeological displays, artifacts, and hands-on activities, crafts, and games!
If you can’t make it to these events, you can always visit a Tennessee state park anytime throughout the year. Many of our state parks feature historical events throughout the year and many feature archaeology front and center including Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park, Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park, Dunbar Cave State Park, and Fort Loudon State Park just to name a few.
Whether you follow along with the blog fest daily, join us for one of the many archaeology themed events, we hope you come away from TAAM with a better understanding of the depth, richness, and diversity of Tennessee’s archaeological record, the settings in which professional archaeologists work in the state, and the important roles their institutions, agencies, and firms play in documenting and preserving archaeological sites in our great state. So be sure to check in each day for a new post. You can read each post on our blog or you can follow us on Facebook to get each post in your daily news feed. We encourage you to share each post on social media and to reach out to the authors if you have questions or would like more information about a specific topic. Also, make sure to check out all the blog entries from the last four years of our Tennessee archaeology blogfest (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Also be sure to check out TCPA’s Facebook page where you’ll find a comprehensive list of archaeological activities, lectures, and other events during Archaeology Awareness Month and throughout the year. Also please consider becoming a member of TCPA. Membership is only $20 and $10 for students and you help support great programs including our blogfest! At the end of the month, I’ll be back to recap the blog fest and let you know what other TCPA events we have in store, including the Current Research in Tennessee Archaeology (CRITA) held each year in January at Montgomery Bell State Park. Until then, welcome to Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month and let the blogfest begin!