Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Tuckaleechee Cove: A Passage through Time

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Tuckaleechee Cove: A Passage through Time

Article excerpt

Tuckaleechee Cove: A Passage through Time. By Boyce N. Driskell and Robert J. Norrell. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2015. Pp. xvi, 125. Paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-62190-167-9.)

Tuckaleechee Cove is one of several small valleys in East Tennessee adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 1999 the Tennessee Department of Transportation began a project to widen the narrow road through the cove to accommodate an increasing number of visitors. The project came to a halt, however, when early surveys revealed an extensive number of important archaeological artifacts. This discovery eventually brought together more than a half dozen state and federal agencies, as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Chickasaw Nation, to craft a memorandum of agreement that specified how the project should proceed. The agreement also stipulated that the resulting archaeological reports should be compiled and prepared so as to be accessible to the general public. The result is Tuckaleechee Cove: A Passage through Time, an informative and highly readable book. In addition to interpreting the archaeology for a general readership, authors Boyce N. Driskell and Robert J. Norrell provide a true "passage through time" that traces the history of the cove and its human occupants from approximately 13,000 years ago until the present.

The "Big Dig" (as the project was informally known) ultimately became one of the largest archaeological projects ever undertaken in Tennessee. Focused on a nearly five-mile-long section of the cove that covered about 175 acres, the dig included more than 250 archaeologists, historians, and other specialists and unearthed more than a million artifacts. Those artifacts that relate to the cove's earliest inhabitants are discussed in the first two chapters. …

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