Archaeologists dig 200 years into the past at East Knox Co. site

Archaeologists dig 200 years into the past at East Knox County site

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People living in Corryton near Harbison Crossroads have been curious about a TDOT work site near the intersection of East Emory Road and Tazewell Pike. People living in Corryton near Harbison Crossroads have been curious about a TDOT work site near the intersection of East Emory Road and Tazewell Pike.
Their work has led to several discoveries including sorghum furnace locations, a couple of privys and several pit cellars where pieces of everyday life in the early 1800's have been recovered. Their work has led to several discoveries including sorghum furnace locations, a couple of privys and several pit cellars where pieces of everyday life in the early 1800's have been recovered.
"We're finding a lot of broken ceramics, tea cups, plates, bowls, whole lot of animal bones, primarily pigs. They were eating a lot of pigs," said Alan Longmire. "We're finding a lot of broken ceramics, tea cups, plates, bowls, whole lot of animal bones, primarily pigs. They were eating a lot of pigs," said Alan Longmire.

By GENE PATTERSON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

CORRYTON (WATE) - People living in Corryton near Harbison Crossroads have been curious about a TDOT work site near the intersection of East Emory Road and Tazewell Pike.

People have been wondering what's going on there and what they've found. 6 News visited the site to find out.

For the past year, TDOT archaeologists, have worked this plot of land, first with a Bobcat to clear the site of modern day trappings so that more delicate hand work can scrape its way 200 years into the past.

"As far as we can tell, there was a house built here in 1799," said Alan Longmire, a TDOT archaeologist.

Longmire and other TDOT contractors have been working on this site for a year now. The property had been continually occupied since the 1800's until last year.

Their work has led to several discoveries including sorghum furnace locations, a couple of privys and several pit cellars where pieces of everyday life in the early 1800's have been recovered.

"What we have here is some things found in a cellar under the cabins," explained Longmire.

Those cabins are what makes this site so important historically. They are slave cabins and there is little information about slavery in rural Knox County.

"We're investigating because we don't know that much about slavery in this part of Knox County with this class of people.  This was not a big plantation house. This was a two-room log cabin," Longmire said.

What the TDOT archaeologists have found will add to the historic record of the people who lived and died here and what they did in between.

"We're finding a lot of broken ceramics, tea cups, plates, bowls, whole lot of animal bones, primarily pigs. They were eating a lot of pigs," said Longmire.

No human remains have been found.

Longmire says the artifacts located at this site will be cleaned, archived and securely stored.  A report will also be written so that we may know more about the people who lived here more than 200 years ago.

TDOT archaeologists also say despite the age of the dig site, no Civil War era artifacts have been located.

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