Archaeologists uncover former Knoxville mayor's foundation

Archaeologists uncover former Knoxville mayor's foundation at garage site

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Crews have begun excavating for a parking garage for TVA. Crews have begun excavating for a parking garage for TVA.
Some of the artifacts recovered from the dig. Some of the artifacts recovered from the dig.
"I feel like this is something that is very significant, not only to archaeologists, but to people who live here from Knoxville to know and be able to better understand the history of Knoxville and where they're from," said Marianne Shuler. "I feel like this is something that is very significant, not only to archaeologists, but to people who live here from Knoxville to know and be able to better understand the history of Knoxville and where they're from," said Marianne Shuler.
Bricks are all that remain of the historic structures. Bricks are all that remain of the historic structures.
Many of the items were from the home of former Knoxville Mayor Peter Kern. Many of the items were from the home of former Knoxville Mayor Peter Kern.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Archaeologists are giving Knoxville residents a glimpse into the past as they dig up a downtown lot.

It's located at the corner of Locust and Summer Place. It will eventually be a 800 to 1,000 space parking garage for TVA employees and other downtown dwellers and patrons.

In recent years, it served as a street level parking lot, but below the surface sat so much more.

"As humans we like to knock things down and build right over them," said Jessica Stanton, the archaeologist in charge of the dig. "What we're doing is basically taking the reverse of that. We're breaking through the concrete. We're looking at the bricks. We're looking at the floor underneath them to see what was there originally."

Federal law requires TVA to check into the archaeological and architectural history of land it plans to use for future projects it is associated with.

"The first thing we have to do is determine if there are any resources at that location and that's what's called a Phase 1 Archaeological survey," said Marianne Shuler with the TVA.

Phase 1 revealed several foundations of buildings that once stood at the site including the home of the late former Mayor Peter Kern that dates back to the late 1800s.

"I feel like this is something that is very significant, not only to archaeologists, but to people who live here from Knoxville to know and be able to better understand the history of Knoxville and where they're from," said Shuler.

Crews will remain at the site for a couple more weeks until all of the ground is examined and excavated. Once all is uncovered, the data and artifacts will head to Alabama to be curated and then eventually come back to Knoxville and put on display permanently.

If you would like to get an up close look at the artifacts you will have a chance this Saturday July 13. The public is invited to an open house at the site from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information click here.

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