New Sounds Stadium Could Uncover Ancient Nashville History
by Adam Ghassemi
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Archeologists working on the new Nashville Sounds Baseball Stadium project are paying very close attention to what's being dug up. It could open a window to Music City history.
Crews broke ground on the new Nashville Sounds Baseball Stadium in late January. The site will replace current streets and parking lots near Bicentennial Mall in time for the team's 2015 season.
The project is just blocks from the Cumberland River and important to Music City's very first settlers. That's why some archeologists are curious what could be underneath all that dirt?
Right now crews are digging large test pits to look beneath the surface and catalog anything they find. Metro has hired an archeological firm to monitor everything crews bring to the surface.
"That might be that concrete they poured on the original stadium," a worker said Thursday pointing to some samples.
Mark Tolley with the Tennessee Ancient Sites Conservancy calls the process "opening a window" to early Nashville history.
"Any area near downtown is rich with archeological treasures," Tolley said. "Whether there are any left there is yet to be seen, but you can go back thousands of years."
The area has been a hub for centuries. It slowly grew from basically nothing just north of the Capitol to the birthplace of Music City baseball.
Tolley said the possibility of what crews could find is endless. There could be remnants of the original Sulphur Dell Ballpark, pieces left over from a former landfill, artifacts dating back to the Civil War era, Native Americans or even the Mastodons.
It's all a real possibility because of where Sulphur Dell gets its name.
"The Sulphur spring here is what brought the animals here that brought early hunters and the first people that were ever in Nashville were right around here," Tolley said looking at the new gated site.
While baseball fans await a new connection to the sport's Nashville history, Tolley and many others are more excited to see what making that connection uncovers.
"We don't know what's there. There may be nothing. We don't know yet," he said. "It's highly likely there's plenty there."
A spokesperson for Metro Mayor Karl Dean said Thursday the only thing crews have found so far is debris from the old Andrew Jackson Hotel that was torn down in 1973 to fill-in the Sulphur Dell ballpark.
We're told archeologists, who are working with developers, are watching closely to see what's coming next.
For more information on the Tennessee Ancient Sites Conservancy, visit their website.