Sounds Stadium Construction Unearths 'Ancient Nashville'

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Sounds Stadium Construction Unearths 'Ancient Nashville'

CREATED Apr 3, 2014

by Adam Ghassemi

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Sounds are supposed to play in a brand new stadium next season, but the construction has given archaeologists a peek at something they never get to see.

By this time next year, a muddy construction near Bicentennial Mall site should be the home of the Nashville Sounds. Now it's all noisy machines and a special archeological firm hired to study what the construction unearths.

MTSU's Dr. Kevin Smith has been studying prehistoric archaeology in Middle Tennessee for nearly 30 years.

"That was one of the main entertainment areas for the city," Smith said Thursday.

Smith said the site was once a thriving community long before present day and referred to it as "Ancient Nashville."

"We don't often have a chance to get any information about what that town was like 800 or 900 years ago," he said.

Smith was working at the site last week, alongside a crew from the hired firm, TRC. He said they found pieces of pan shaped pottery that likely went on top of discovered burn pits to boil water from the spring and extract salt.

They also found pieces of charcoal, which could pinpoint the artifacts' age between 1150 and 1250 AD, Smith said.

The site excavation is now complete, but Smith said luckily whatever is deep beneath the surface won't be disturbed even with the new stadium on top of it.

"They're not destroying what they've left behind. They're burying it. We won't have access to it maybe in our lifetimes, but it's still going to be there at some point," he said.

Smith said a few months before crews broke ground, he proved someone found a Mastodon tusk in the area in 1887. This project, he said, won't go deep enough to reach remnants from the Ice Age.

Anything found technically belongs to Metro Nashville. It's not clear if the items will ever end up on public display.

The project's general contractor, Ron Gobbell of Gobbell Hays Partners, Inc., told NewsChannel 5 he expects TRC to give him a report detailing what they found very soon.

A spokesperson for Metro Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said so far no human remains have been found, which could halt construction.

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