Monday, August 14, 2023

TVA and mounds in Tennessee

I lived in Tennessee as a kid and I've been back several times. Lots of interesting archaeology still, but much of it was flooded by the TVA.

This tweet from Greg Little is a good example.

In the 1930s the TVA & WPA excavated many mounds in the Tennessee Valley prior to new dams flooding hundreds of ancient sites. This "structure" was found at the bottom of a large mound that was 130 x 110 feet in diameter near Speedwell, Tenn. They found that a series of 8 different large buildings had been made on this spot over a vast time period. When a building was burned, burials were made, it was then covered by a layer of dirt and then a new building was built. When it burned burials were made and a new building was made. The "first" building (shown here) was made from huge logs (the post holes are along the sides) tilted inward. It was a 55 x 27 feet building (1,485 sq. ft). The mound, which they asserted had been plowed down to only half its original size, was one of several there and a large village with at least 1000 residents was located around the site. From: Bulletin 118; Smithsonian BAE (1938).

(click to enlarge)

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