Alcoa donates artifacts to McClung Museum

Deborah Joy (center) watches as students sift through dirt from the dig site for artifacts.

Photo courtesy of Alcoa Tennessee Operations

Deborah Joy (center) watches as students sift through dirt from the dig site for artifacts.

Archeologist Deborah Joy, with shovel, collects a soil sample.

Photo courtesy of Alcoa Tennessee Operations

Archeologist Deborah Joy, with shovel, collects a soil sample.

Deborah Joy (center) watches as students sift through dirt from the dig site for artifacts.

Photo courtesy of Alcoa Tennessee Operations

Deborah Joy (center) watches as students sift through dirt from the dig site for artifacts.

Thirteen boxes of artifacts gathered from the four Tapoco reservoirs and accompanying records have been donated to the Frank H. McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

The donations include all cultural material recovered from archaeological investigations conducted on Tapoco property owned by Alcoa Power Generating Inc. between 2001 and 2008. The Tapoco project consists of four hydroelectric dams on property in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Artifacts from the Archaic, late Archaic, Woodland, Prehistoric and Historic periods are included in the donation and include items such as glass beads, ceramic sherds, and stone tools.

“Notable resources documented during the 2001 survey included the historic Cherokee village known as “Tallassee,” an historic railroad tunnel and a workers’ camp,” said Deborah Joy, an archaeologist with Legacy Research Associates in Durham, North Carolina.

“Surveys conducted at Santeetlah Reservoir in 2003 and 2004 unearthed prehistoric ceramic and lithic (stone) scatter sites, historic homesites and farmsteads”, Joy added. In addition, as a result of the 2008 survey conducted during the Chilhowee Reservoir drawdown, an Early Woodland period hamlet was recommended as being eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

“It was only natural that the Frank H. McClung Museum be the recipient of this donation,” said Bill Bunker, VP and Operations Manager of APGI. “Over the years, archaeologists from UT have conducted extensive research in the area. We are pleased that with this recent donation, artifacts from the area are now housed in one central location.”

The Tennessee Historical Commission and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians agreed that the material should be housed and displayed at the museum.

“Since the reservoir sites are no longer available for study, these records and artifacts are a great way for our researchers (scholars and students from all over the world) to learn more about the ancient peoples who once lived in the area,” said Lynne Sullivan, curator of archeology for the Frank H. McClung Museum.

APGI is also donating curation fees to help underwrite the purchase of storage cases for the materials and supply the necessary manpower to prepare the artifacts and records to be added to the museum’s collections.

Tapoco is a division of APGI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcoa Inc. The Tapoco Division of APGI supplies electric power to Alcoa’s Tennessee Operations, an aluminum rolling mill, located in Alcoa, Tennessee.

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