Pickett State Park Opens New Archaeology Museum and Research Station

April 25, 2017  |  Permalink

NASHVILLE – On Saturday, April 15, Pickett CCC Memorial State Park unveiled a new Archaeology Museum and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) field research station. The new facility is a working museum that will display artifacts unearthed on-site from the park, Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area and surrounding areas.

“This addition to the park enhances the interactive local history programs Tennessee State Parks offers,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “Through partnership like this one with ETSU, TDEC is able to make historical tourism and archaeological studies a reality for more Tennesseans.”

The museum boasts archaeological artifacts from 400 to up to 13,000 years ago. An active site excavation is located within a mile from the city. Evidence at the site dates back to the Upper Cumberland Plateau area’s first inhabitants up to 12,500 years ago. 

“This museum and research station represents a big win for Tennessee archaeology,” said State Archaeologist and TDEC Director of the Division of Archaeology Michael Moore. “All of us within TDEC are excited for the future archaeological research that will happen at Pickett CCC Memorial State Park and adjacent areas of the Cumberland Plateau.”

The facility opening also coincides with Tennessee State Parks’ 80th anniversary and marks just one of the events being held statewide to showcase the natural beauty and educational opportunities at Tennessee’s 56 state parks.

In the same facility as the museum, a team of ETSU Anthropology undergraduate students will live and conduct research at the facility on a regular basis year-round. Undergraduate students Lauren Woelkers and Reagan Cornett assisted with the writing and design of the museum exhibits.

“This museum represents community in a number of ways,” said ETSU Professor Jay Franklin. “From the interest and support of Fentress and Pickett Counties to the unique relationship between Tennessee State Parks and ETSU, the museum is a ‘work in progress’ and we hope it remains so. Knowledge about the past changes every day with new discoveries and this museum reflects that. We hope the public continues to visit often to see what’s new here.”

Pickett CCC Memorial State Park lies within the 19,200-acre Pickett State Forest, and is adjacent to the massive 120,000 acre Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. In 1933, the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company donated nearly 12,000 acres of land to the State of Tennessee to be developed as a forest recreational area. Initial development of the area by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) occurred between 1934 through1942. The CCC constructed hiking trails, five rustic cabins, a recreation lodge, a ranger station and a 12-acre lake. The park memorializes and preserves the unique work of the CCC who first developed the park. For more information, visithttp://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/pickett.

 

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Pictured left-right: Tara Wohlgemuth, TDEC Regional Director of External Affairs – Cookeville; Dr. Blaine Schubert, Director Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology, Director and Curator of Vertebrates ETSU Museum of Natural History, Associate Professor; Dr. William R. Duncan, ETSU Vice Provost of Research and Sponsored Programs; Amanda Hicks, Executive Administrative Assistant for Fentress County; Dr. Gordon Anderson, ETSU Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Brock Hill, TDEC Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation; Travis Bow, Interim Park Manager at Pickett CCC Memorial State Park; Professor Jay Franklin, ETSU; Alan Wasik, former Park Manager at Pickett; Michael Moore, TDEC Director of the Division of Archaeology; Dr. William N. Duncan, Chair of the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology, ETSU; Misty Stephens, Director for Tourism at Fentress County Chamber of Commerce; Jim Frielob, President of the Friends of Pickett State Park; Leann Smith, President of the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce

 

Pictured left-right: Dr. Blaine Schubert, Director Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology, Director and Curator of Vertebrates ETSU Museum of Natural History, Associate Professor; Dr. William R. Duncan, ETSU Vice Provost of Research and Sponsored Programs; Dr. Gordon Anderson, ETSU Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Brock Hill, TDEC Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation; Professor Jay Franklin, ETSU; Dr. William N. Duncan, Chair of the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology; Travis Bow, Interim Park Manager at Pickett CCC Memorial State Park

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Kim Schofinski