The Prehistory of the Chickamauga Basin in Tennessee, Volume 1
Lewis, Thomas M. N., and Madeline Kneberg Lewis
Cloth Edition, $50.00s
Cloth ISBN: 0-87049-861-4
Status: Out of Print
Paper Edition, $25.00s
Paper ISBN: 0-87049-863-0
Status: In Print
DescriptionThe two volumes that constitute The Prehistory of the Chickamauga Basin in Tennessee bring together the findings of one of the largest and most exhaustive archaeological digs ever conducted in North America. The excavations were carried out during the 1930s at thirteen archaeological sites now inundated by the Tennessee Valley Authority's Chickamauga Reservoir. The report on only one of the sites, Hiwassee Island, has been previously published. Thus, these volumes represent the first publication of the reports on the remaining twelve sites.
Much archaeology was done in the Tennessee Valley during the Great Depression because of the combined need to put the unemployed to work and to retrieve information about the region's rich and complex prehistory before large tracts were submerged. The Chickamauga Basin investigations were administered through the University of Tennessee, with funds for labor supplied by the Works Progress Administration. Although the reports were not published at the time because of the beginning of World War II, they laid the foundations for subsequent archaeological research in the Upper Tennessee Valley.
While the interpretations in these reports are now somewhat dated, the Chickamauga project developed the first comprehensive descriptions of the Native American cultures that lived near what is now the city of Chattanooga before and at the time of European contact. The investigations recovered a wealth of information about these former residents of the valley, such as detailed descriptions of their settlements, cultural practices, and material culture (including architecture, pottery, and stone, bone, and shell tools and ornaments). Also, by providing insights into the archaeological methods and techniques of the 1930s, these volumes form an important historical document on the status of the discipline more than a half-century ago.
In her foreword and editor's notes, Lynne P. Sullivan places the investigations in historical context, discusses interpretations that have emerged since the Chickamauga project was first undertaken, and describes the process for compiling the reports.
Volume I of The Prehistory of the Chickamauga Basin in Tennessee contains three parts: introductory chapters on the area's prehistory and natural environment; chapters on the typology of the various industries and customs of the Native Americans who populated the area; and chapters classifying and comparing those aboriginal cultures. Volume II brings together the detailed reports on each of the twelve excavation sites.
The Authors: Thomas M. N. Lewis, now deceased, was head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and directed the archaeological investigations of the TVA reservoir areas between 1934 and 1942. Madeline D. Kneberg Lewis, a professor of anthropology at the University of Tennessee, was in charge of laboratory studies in connection with the same investigation. She now lives in Winter Haven, Florida.
The Editor: Lynne P. Sullivan is the head of the Anthropological Survey with the New York State Museum in Albany. She is a native of Cleveland, Tennessee.