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Mound Exploration in the Tennessee Valley U.S.A

Nature volume 145, pages 128130 (27 January 1940) | Download Citation



THE operations of the Tennessee Valley Authority in the United States of America, by the erection of dams to collect and control the waters of the Tennessee River and its affluents, will inundate to a considerable depth a vast tract of land, which to the archæologist and the student of the pre- and proto-history of the indigenous peoples of America is one of the most interesting regions of the continent north of the tropics. Unfortunately, in a cultural sense it is still incompletely understood. Though a great part of it, and curiously enough that especially suited to aboriginal pursuits and modes of life, was still unoccupied by surrounding tribes, possibly owing to mutual rivalries, when first visited by the white man in the sixteenth century, nevertheless the whole country abounds in evidence of prehistoric occupation in the form of mounds, shell heaps, stone implements, pottery, old fields, burial caves, and ancient cemeteries. From about 1660 onwards, these vacant lands were occupied successively by Shawnee, Chickasaw, Cherokee and Creeks, with a number of lesser tribes of uncertain affinities.


  1. 1.

    "The American Philosophical Society: Year Book, 1938" (Philadelphia, 1939).

  2. 2.

    "An Archæological Survey of Wheeler Basin on the Tennessee River in Northern Alabama". By . Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Bureau of American Ethnology, Bull. 122; 1939.

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