published Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Lee archaeology students work at Fort Armistead

  • photo
    Photo submitted by Lee University Lee student Erin Williamson draws the surface of an excavation square at Fort Armistead.

Six students from Lee University participated in a summer archaeology field school at the site of Fort Armistead, a Cherokee removal fort in Cherokee National Forest near Coker Creek, Tenn.

Anthropology majors Todd Basescu, Cassidy Gallup, Brooke Orist, Pradip Subedi, Jill Veenstra and Erin Williamson took part in the archaeological survey and excavation. Students Tyler Fox and Ward Jones also volunteered time at the site.

For four years, forest archaeologist Quentin Bass and Professor of Anthropology Richard R. Jones have conducted archaeology field schools for Lee students.

“Fort Armistead is a significant archaeological site by virtue of its being part of the Cherokee removal program of the early 19th century that sent the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears,” Jones said.

“This is the only Cherokee removal fort of which anything is left,” said Bass. “All the others are gone, and this one is in pristine condition—archaeologically speaking. It is a national treasure.”

Students dug squares, surveyed, kept records, and screened the soil for artifacts. For two weeks, students worked in near 100-degree temperatures and high humidity.

Interesting artifacts recovered from the site included clay pipes, animal bones, nails, and a refuse pit.

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