NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 8, 2018) – Archaeologists Jordan McIntyre and Valerie McCormack hosted an “ArchaeoMyth Busters” table for Tennessee Archaeology Day today at Bells Bend Park to encourage the public to preserve the past.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District manages 336,106 acres of public lands, 3,800 miles of shoreline and 201,385 water acres in the Cumberland River Basin, where it’s the government’s responsibility to preserve and protect cultural resources.
McCormack and McIntyre focused on myths and misconceptions during the event with a myth-busters game to make it fun for the public to interact and learn.
One misconception McCormack shared is people think that archaeologists primarily study dinosaurs, but archaeologists broadly study past people and cultures through material remains, she said.
“Some people also think it’s o.k. to keep any artifact they find,” McCormack added. “We have the responsibility to inform the public that it’s not o.k. to collect artifacts and it may even be a crime under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.”
The Corps’ archaeologists encouraged the public to take photos of artifacts they find for a memory, but to leave it undisturbed or return the artifact to where they found it.
“The event helps bring awareness to the public about archaeology and our shared heritage,” McIntyre said.
More than 600 people attended the event organized by the Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology and the Tennessee Division of Archaeology, including local students and home school groups.
Greta Robinson, seventh grader at Croft Middle Design Center, said, “The day was a fun experience because I got to learn more about archaeology and what archaeologists do than what is taught in school.”
Stella Robinson, fourth grader at Crieve Hall Elementary, added, “It was fun because I got to map like an archaeologist and learn about prehistoric activities.”
The event featured lots of fun activities that covered a range of topics about history and archaeology in Tennessee. More than 20 public, private, and academic organizations hosted exhibits where the public participated in mock excavations, artifact mapping, pottery making, archery, and atlatl throwing. The experiences helped the public understand how archaeologists study the past.
Fort Campbell Archaeologist Ron Grayson explained that “regardless of the main purpose of public land, federal land is held in trust. The ability to tell the public about archaeology benefits everyone.”
Jared Barrett, president of TCPA and an archaeologist for the Louisville District, said a goal of the event is to have the public walk away with the knowledge that the federal government owns and manages archaeological sites.
“It’s important to let the public know that the Corps has archaeologists on staff and the Corps protects natural and cultural resources,” Barrett said.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.