Tag Archives: Mound Bottom

Dr. Carl Kuttruff, our Tennessee Archaeology Friend, Has Passed Away

Carl Kuttruff

Tennessee Archaeologists Having a Technical Discussion in the Woods Long Ago

Left to Right: Carl Kuttruff, John Broster, and Brian Butler

Our Tennessee archaeology legend and friend, Dr. Carl Kuttruff, passed away on July 23, 2017, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Many people in Tennessee archaeology knew Carl much better than I did. However, I had several fond encounters with him. Carl worked for a number of years at the Tennessee Division of Archaeology in Nashville, Tennessee, and I first encountered Carl while he was leading the Vanderbilt University field school at Mound Bottom circa 1974.

My next encounter with Carl came in 1976 when I visited his massive excavations at the Fort Loudoun site in Monroe County, Tennessee.  That was one really hot summer with no air conditioning and little shade. Carl and his field crew were occupying the old Carson House, a white, 19th century Victorian farmhouse located just off Highway 72S in Vonore, Tennessee. At the same time, our University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) Tellico Archaeology crew was occupying an old church camp a short walk down the road from the Carson house. Members of both field crews visited with each other often that summer. During off hours, Carl and his crew set up a volleyball net at the Carson House, and members of the two field crews had some lively volleyball matches that summer. How they had enough energy to play so much volleyball after long, sweltering summer days in the field was a monument to the enthusiasm of young archaeologists—and no doubt to the socially lubricating powers of tequila.

Carl’s work at Fort Loudoun resulted in his now famous book entitled Fort Loudoun in Tennessee: 1756-1760, a comprehensive, thick, and quite heavy hard cover volume covering the history of the British colonial fort, its archaeology, replications, exhibits, and interpretations.  A very small amount of human skeletal remains were found during Carl’s excavations at Fort Loudoun.  He was kind enough to ask me to analyze them for him, and the results were included in this book.

My fondest remembrances of Carl go back to 1976-1977, or thereabouts, when Carl would make visits to UTK to give talks or conduct research. He often came on winter nights when it was frigid cold outside. Rather than spend a night at an expensive hotel, he would bring his backpack and sleeping bag with him. Dave McMahan and I were sharing a small dormitory room in Reese Hall (Presidential Court Complex) on campus at UTK. Carl would come by for a visit and ask if he could spend the night with us and sleep on the floor of our dormitory room.  We were always glad to see Carl and welcome him into our room for some conversation and a good night’s rest after a long day.

An obituary for Carl was published recently in The Advocate, a local newspaper in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, the last few words of his obituary were not published. We are not sure why. It may have been an editorial mistake or a decision forced by limited publication space. Whatever the case might be, you may read Carl’s obituary by clicking on the following safe link, and when you get there, please notice a clickable button that allows you to leave a personal message of condolence to the members of Carl’s family:

Obituary for Carl Kuttruff

Carl was a nice person who I found to be kind, friendly, and easy to get along with.  We will all miss Carl very much.

Photograph Credit: Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology

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New Book Available: Chiefdom on the Cumberland

The Archaeology in Tennessee blog is proud to announce the publication of a new book on Middle Tennessee archaeology.  After many years of dedicated research and writing, Mr. Donald B. Ball has just completed a book presenting the history and evolution of archaeology in Middle Tennessee and focusing on the Mississippian archaeology of the Middle Cumberland region. The title of the new book is Chiefdom on the Cumberland.  This hardcover book contains 408 pages, including the main text, copious annotations, 12 appendices, more than 65 pages of references, and an extensive index.  The publisher is Borgo Publishing, a full-service, independent publishing company headquartered in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  This is the same excellent company that published Mr. Ball’s recent, 2-volume editorial work entitled Stone Age Man in the Middle South.

Cumberland Chiefdom

You may read more about Chiefdom on the Cumberland and Stone Age Man in the Middle South in the following flyer from the Borgo Publishing Company:

Borgo Publishing Flyer

We believe Chiefdom on the Cumberland and Stone Age Man in the Middle South are must own books for anyone interested in the Mississippian archaeology of the Middle Cumberland region of Tennessee, Middle Mississippi Valley, and Southeastern United States. The Archaeology in Tennessee blog highly recommends both books to you. You may purchase the new book right now at Amazon.com or the Seattle Book Company for the price of just $55.  Stone Age Man in the Middle South is also available from Amazon.com.  Please click on one or the other of the following links to make your purchase of the new book:

http://amzn.to/1BeFURy

http://www.seattlebookcompany.com/chiefdom-on-the-cumberland-the-history-and-evolution-of-middle-tennessee-archaeology/

Donald B. Ball has a B.S. degree in history from Middle Tennessee State University (1970) and an M.A. degree in anthropology/archaeology (1977) from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. Upon completion of his graduate studies, Don accepted a job offer for an archaeologist position with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Louisville District, in Louisville, Kentucky. He managed cultural resources for USACE until his retirement in 2004. Throughout his long career, Don has maintained an unusually wide range of professional interests that include (but are not limited to) prehistoric archaeology, historical archaeology, the history of American archaeology, history of Tennessee and the United States, Southern Appalachian folk culture, grist mills, historic cemeteries, and firearms artifacts. His list of excellent professional publications is both long and formidable. For a number of years, Don was the editor of the Proceedings of the Symposium for Historic and Urban Archaeology. Currently, he serves as the editor of two regional journals, Ohio Valley Historical Archaeology and The Millstone: Journal of the Kentucky Old Mill Association. In addition to being a member of several professional organizations and archaeological societies, Don is a Registered Professional Archaeologist in Kentucky.

Slipping Through the Crevices at Mound Bottom

This is another one of my folksy but true stories about good old times in Tennessee archaeology. It involves a trip I made to Mound Bottom in 1973. Mound Bottom is a large Mississippian Period site located on the Harpeth River in Cheatham County, Tennessee. It is now preserved within Harpeth River State Park. If you need some detailed background information on this site, you can read about it here: http://capone.mtsu.edu/kesmith/TNARCH/MoundBottom.html and here: http://www.nativehistoryassociation.org/moundbottom.php.

I was an undergraduate geology student at Austin Peay State University in 1973. One of my best friends, who lived on my floor in the Ellington Hall dormitory, was Paul Pitt. At that time Paul’s older brother and sister were graduate students on campus, and he introduced me to them. The Pitt family home was in Ashland City, Cheatham County, Tennessee. One of the many things I respected about the Pitt family was their deep interest in and firm dedication to the preservation of natural and cultural resources in Tennessee. Their operative mantra was to “take only pictures and leave only footprints.” Because we were all friends, the Pitt family invited me to accompany them on a Saturday excursion to Mound Bottom. In particular, they wanted to ascend to the top of May’s Mace Bluff and show me the large petroglyph of a Mississippian Period ceremonial mace that the ancient inhabitants of Mound Bottom had incised into a rock at the top of the trail. My eyes had viewed this famous petroglyph in photographs, books, and conservation magazines, but I had never actually seen the real thing. Naturally, I accepted this kind invitation from the Pitt family.

May’s Mace Bluff is a high stone cliff located on the other side of the Harpeth River and immediately north of Mound Bottom. Cedar Hill Road occupies the narrow space between the river and the base of the bluff. In 1973, a trailhead was present along the edge of the road at the base of the bluff.

We began our hike in the early afternoon at the trailhead, and all of us were soon huffing and puffing our way up the steep trail to the top of the bluff. When we arrived, the ancient mace petroglyph was waiting for us on the face of a huge limestone rock. Figure 1 is an image of this rock and the petroglyph incised into it. Under normal conditions at this location, the mace petroglyph is the same color as the background rock, but red coloration was added to this photograph to highlight the mace and the two iconographic motifs (possibly feathers) dangling from it.

Mace Petroglyph at Mound Bottom

Figure 1. Mace Petroglyph on May’s Mace Bluff

I stopped at the mace, examined it closely, and found myself drawn into deep thoughts about how it was incised, why it was there (and not somewhere else), and how it might have been integrated with the ancient Mississippian ceremonies and rituals at Mound Bottom. All of a sudden, I popped out of my intellectual trance and noticed something a little frightening. My hiking companions were nowhere in sight. Not knowing where they had gone or what to do, I yelled out, “Where are you guys?” A close-by voice, seemingly from out of nowhere, replied, “Tracy, we’re down here!!!” I thought, “Down here? What down here? We’re on the top edge of a rock cliff 46 m above Cedar Hill Road!”

Most of us have a few Halloween bugaboos living within us, and one of mine is a fear of heights. That voice was coming from somewhere just a few steps away, and it sounded as if it came from the cliff edge. I bit my lower lip and carefully moved my feet toward the high edge of the bluff. The edge of May’s Mace Bluff was crenulated with narrow crevices that ran roughly perpendicular to the edge of the bluff, crevices just barely wide enough to accommodate a slim human body. Through one of these crevices, I spied something that looked like a secure, traversable dirt and rock floor. I yelled out, “Are you guys down there on this floor-looking thing?” A voice replied, “Yes, watch your step and climb carefully down through the crevice.” Well, for some odd reason that escapes me, I was feeling really brave that day and slipped through that crevice into a truly amazing place. It was a long rock and dirt shelf that was inset into the top wall of May’s Mace Bluff―basically forming a high rockshelter.

Memories dim with time, and 1973 was a long time ago. To the best of my recollection, this rockshelter was approximately 3 m front to back, 12 m wide, and 2.5 m high. Having an archaeological frame of mind, my first inclination was to visually scan the dry floor of this shelter for signs of ancient human activity. No artifacts were apparent, not even one flake of worked chert. A perusal of the rock walls and ceiling revealed no evidence of ancient paintings or petroglyphs. However, because I was a junior-level geology student, one truly striking natural feature in this rockshelter caught and held my attention.

This natural feature was a long layer of rock in the back wall of the rockshelter. It was situated at about human eye level and was approximately 0.6 m thick. This layer was composed of numerous smaller layers that appeared to be about 6.5 cm thick, and these smaller layers had numerous vertical fractures in them. The overall color of these layers, as they appeared that day, might best be described as a dusty, dark indigo. Many of the observed surfaces were flat, and they exhibited a natural patina from many years of weathering. The observed rock was extremely finegrained and dense, looking as if a quick tap from a rock hammer would yield a conchoidal fracture, and it was nothing like the layers of bedrock immediately above and below it. After staring at it for a moment, I said, “My gosh guys. This layer of rock looks very much like the descriptions of bedded tabular chert I have read about in geology textbooks and reference sources. I bet this is a seam of Fort Payne chert.” Until that moment, I had never seen a bed of native tabular chert in the field.

As I stood on the floor of this rockshelter, the pot simmering on the back burner of my mind held the following words: “Will I be able to slip back through that crevice and get out of this rockshelter alive?” Two other things were boiling on the front burners:

1) Because this layer of dusty indigo material was about at eye level, fractured into good-sized chunks, and easily susceptible to simple removal by hand, I wondered if the inhabitants of Mound Bottom had occasionally quarried tabular Fort Payne chert at this location. Unfortunately, at that point in time, I had never taken an archaeology course and did not know the tell-tale signs of ancient chert quarrying activities. No signs of initial lithic reduction activities were observed in this high rockshelter. The Mound Bottom site was only a few meters from the base of the bluff, so lithic reduction activities on the rockshelter floor might not have been necessary in ancient times―just pull out a few tabular chunks of chert with the hands and take them home in a fiber-mesh bag―very simple.

2) The mace petroglyph was located only a few human steps away from the vertical crevice that provided access to this high rockshelter on May’s Mace Bluff. This petroglyph was obviously linked to Mississippian ideology, social structure, and ritual at the Mound Bottom site. Its specific location was clearly no random occurrence. Perhaps the mace petroglyph and this unusual rockshelter were functionally and ritually related? What might the nature of such a relationship have been?

Dr. Albert Einstein was in love with the utility of imagination in the conduct of scientific inquiry.  Consider the following statements (Great-Quotes 2013:1-3) by this physicist:

1) “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

2) “Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world.”

3) “Your Imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”

If it is not allowed to flow too rapidly or go too wild, causing it to outrun its evidential headlight beams, imagination can be quite useful for formulating testable hypotheses in American archaeology.

With regard to Mississippian ideology and cosmology, Carol Diaz-Granados (2011:92) has noted that “…the bilobed arrow and mace, being two of the major attributes of the Hawk Being (or “Birdman”), belong primarily to the Upper World realm of the cosmos.” According to Reilly and Garber (2007:5), most scholars of Mississippian iconography have come to recognize that the mace motif and the often accompanying severed head motif link the mythological Birdman with warfare.

The presence of the mace petroglyph on the high rim of May’s Mace Bluff was probably locative in nature, identifying the high points along the bluff rim as part of the actual Upper World or as a symbolic manifestation of that Upper World at Mound Bottom. If the mace petroglyph and close-by rockshelter on this high bluff were functionally related, the rockshelter may have been used as a theater stage (for lack of better terminology) where ritual activities and mythological narratives about the Upper World were reenacted for the benefit of people assembled below on the Mound Bottom site. Indeed, much like the story board sequence for a modern motion picture, these high-theater-stage activities may have been logistically coordinated to carefully fit in with and/or punctuate ritual activities underway in parallel on the large plaza below at Mound Bottom.

While poised high on May’s Mace Bluff in 1973, it occurred to me that the ancient vegetation distribution in Mound Bottom was probably very different from what we see today. Because of on-site firewood and construction imperatives, the Mound Bottom site and its immediate environs were most likely devoid or nearly devoid of tall trees. This means the site would have been more open in nature than it is today, and human visual lines of sight would not have been disrupted by curtains of trees, including trees along the banks of the Harpeth River and at the base of May’s Mace Bluff. Given the overriding importance of Mississippian ideology and ritual in the daily lives of the people at Mound Bottom, it is at least possible that unwanted vegetation growth on the face of May’s Mace Bluff was selectively (and very dangerously) pruned to support ritual activities of life and death importance to the Mound Bottom population—if some of those rituals did indeed require a clear visual line of sight from the Mound Bottom floor to the top of the bluff. If May’s Mace Bluff did have ritual significance, maintenance of this clear visual field would have been absolutely necessary to assure completion of the ritual experience for the Native American people on the valley floor. It should be noted that May’s Mace Bluff is located almost due north of the large plaza area at Mound Bottom, and it was potentially visible from this plaza, the main mound to its immediate west, and the smaller mounds surrounding it to the north, east, and south (O’Brien and Kuttruff 2011: 71-72).

It is now both possible and practical to begin testing this hypothesis in the laboratory and in the field.  The techniques and technical approaches necessary to initiate testing are commonly used in the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).  During preparation of an EIS, the potential impacts of a proposed action and its alternatives on the visual environment are assessed. This is often done in the laboratory where Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques and other approaches are used to support line-of-sight studies. These studies are used to determine whether a proposed action (e.g., construction and operation of a new industrial facility) and its alternatives would adversely affect the visual environment in areas of potential effect. These same GIS techniques and technological approaches could be used to assess the visibility of ritual and narrative reenactments in the rockshelter to ancient people standing on the ground surface at Mound Bottom. Such studies would have to account for average human eye level on the ground at Mound Bottom, how eight centuries of sedimentation in this tight bend of the Harpeth River may have elevated eye level at various locations, the visibility of the rockshelter from the mound tops, and its visibility from various other locations on the Mound Bottom site. If one were to select enough line-of-sight points on the ground surface, these techniques and approaches could be used to define spatial zones on the Mound Bottom site where ritual and narrative activities in the rockshelter would have been visible, obscured, or invisible.

Somewhat similarly, noise measurement and assessment techniques could be combined with GIS techniques to assess the relative audibility of various sounds (human voices at various levels, cane pipe music, drum sounds, rattle sounds, etc.) emanating from the rockshelter activities and traveling various distances to points on the ground surface below at Mound Bottom.

If it turns out that no good lines of sight existed between rockshelter activities and the floor of Mound Bottom during ancient times, the hypothesis would be negated. Sound-related results would be a little more problematic to the extent that sound might not have been an important aspect of any ritual or narrative activities conducted on the hypothetical rockshelter stage. However, if certain kinds of ancient sounds emanating from the rockshelter were clearly audible at certain areas on the ground surface and those areas coincided within positive on-site locations defined by the visibility data, it would lend credence to the hypothesis that the rockshelter functioned as a viable theater stage for reenacting activities of ritual and narrative importance that reflected the nature of the Upper World.

The Archaeology in Tennessee blog would like to end this post with a warning to artifact dealers and looters. This rockshelter at the top of May’s Mace Bluff is on state property. Unpermitted digging for artifacts on state property is illegal and punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment under Tennessee law. Violation of Tennessee archaeological resource protection statutes that prohibit illegal artifact collecting will get you into simultaneous trouble under the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. Can you say double-barreled shotgun? As clearly noted in the text above, no ancient Native American artifacts of any kind were visible anywhere in this rockshelter during my visit in 1973, not even a single flake of worked chert.

I would also add that navigating the tight crevice we slipped through to enter this high-precipice rockshelter was very dangerous.  I am a fairly nice professional archaeologist who wishes you no physical harm and knows that your wife, son, and daughter would love to see you arrive home safely every night. That being the case, my best advice to you is to stay away from these dangerous crevices on May’s Mace Bluff.

References

Diaz-Grenados, Carol, 2011, “Early Manifestations of Mississippian Iconography in Middle Mississippi Valley Rock-Art.” In Visualizing the Sacred: Cosmic Visions, Regionalism, and the Art of the Mississippian World, edited by George E. Lankford, F. Kent Reilly III, and James F. Garber, 64-95. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Great-Quotes, 2013, “Quotes by Albert Einstein.” Great-Quotes.com, pp. 1-3.  Accessed at: http://www.great-quotes.com/quotes/author/Albert/Einstein, October 13, 2014.

O’Brien, Michael J. and Carl Kuttruff, 2011, “The 1974 Excavations at Mound Bottom, A Palisaded Mississippian Center in Cheatham County, Tennessee.” Southeastern Archaeology 30: 70-86.

Reilly, F. Kent III and James F. Garber, 2007, “Introduction.” In Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography, edited by F. Kent Reilly III and James F. Garber, 1-7. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Dave McMahan: Tennessee Archaeologist and Alaska Archaeologist

An ancient verse of scripture says “…there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)  For the past 41 years, I have been lucky enough to have such a friend.  Although we do not get to see each other that often because of the vast geographic distance between us, the feelings are nonetheless there.  His name is Joe David McMahan (Figure 1), better known to my two children as Uncle Dave because he occasionally helps them with their homework across a gulf of 4,122 miles.  Among those of us who know him really well, I would hazard to say that Dave is not only a close friend but actually something of a living archaeological legend.

Dave-4

Figure 1.  Dave McMahan on Okhon Island in Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)

Late last year, Dave mentioned to me that he was giving some consideration to retiring from his job.  In spring 2013, he turned in his resignation and did indeed retire. Dave is now the owner and head of his own archaeological consulting firm.  This firm is called McMahan Consulting.  Some of you who were close to Dave a long time ago but lost touch with him over the years can catch up on his illustrious archaeology and forensic anthropology career by reading the latest version of his curriculum vitae and viewing the website for his new firm.  Just click on the following PDF file and URL:

Dave McMahan Curriculum Vitae

http://mcmahanconsulting.com/home

Dave McMahan has deep family roots in Tennessee and deep roots in Tennessee archaeology.  He is a native Tennessean who grew up in Ashland City, Tennessee, which is a small town near Nashville.  Back in his teenage days (late 1960s and early 1970s), Dave, members of his nuclear family, and some of his many friends were active in the old Cheatham County Chapter of the Tennessee Archaeological Society. He was also an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.  His membership in these two organizations sparked his interest in becoming a professional archaeologist.  I was first introduced to Dave on a warm summer evening in 1973 when he and a couple of his friends attended a local archaeological society meeting at The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee.  The speaker that evening was either Mack Prichard or Joe Benthall.

The next time I saw Dave was in the summer of 1974.  Vanderbilt University was conducting its archaeological field school at Mound Bottom.  H.C. “Buddy” Brehm was going over to the bottom one morning to take a look at the excavation work, and he asked me if I would like to tag along with him.  When we arrived, Dave was doing excavation work as an undergraduate student in the field school.  Dr. Carl Kuttruff and Michael J. “Mike” O’Brien, now in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri (Columbia), were the leaders of the field school that summer.  It was a short day for the field crew, and Buddy had to leave early.  I stayed at Mound Bottom for a while longer, and Dave gave me a ride back to the archaeology laboratory at Vanderbilt University, which was in an old house at that time.  Several of us were really hungry, and Mike O’Brien took us over to Ireland’s Restaurant on 21st Avenue South for a really nice lunch.  We must have spent a couple of hours that afternoon chatting and laughing about assorted archaeological adventures and other subjects.  It was a really fun time for all of us.

I went off to study archaeology as an undergraduate at The University of Tennessee (Knoxville) [UTK] in winter 1974.  Later that year, while walking across the interior courtyard at the huge Presidential Court dormitory complex, my eye caught a familiar figure.  It was Dave.  He too had shown up to study archaeology.  I had a dormitory room in Reese Hall but no roommate, and Dave was looking for a new place to live on campus.  So Dave and I roomed together in Reese Hall during our undergraduate years, and we eventually moved with a couple of our buddies over to Andy Holt Apartments during our early graduate school days. Dave and I grew really close during our student years and had assorted archaeological and recreational adventures together, including going on a long beach vacation trip to South Carolina with my family.

Dave worked on the archaeological field crew at Fort Loudoun in 1976 and was later a very active participant in the upland archaeological survey work on the Tellico Archaeological Project.  He became deeply interested in paleoethnobotany and eventually wrote his M.A. thesis on the paleoethnobotany of the Late Woodland Mason phase for the Normandy Archaeological Project.

In 1980-1981, Dave and I wrestled with some unusual paintings of ancient bison and human figures on the walls and ceiling of the Cave of the Medallions near Smyrna, Tennessee.  The two bison were painted in profile with a combination of black and reddish brown pigments. We suspected the paintings were fakes because the depicted even-toed ungulates were not American buffalo (Bison bison) but rather a species of bison dating to the Late Pleistocene epoch in Europe.  Nonetheless, we decided to do a little deeper research after Dave collected a sample of the black paint, took it back to the paleoethnobotany laboratory at UTK, and quickly discovered that it contained ground up eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) charcoal.  This was during the early years of Charlie Faulkner’s ground-breaking work on mud and rock art in Tennessee caves, and he came along with us on one of our trips to the cave.  Dave and I excavated a small test unit beneath the first bison painting (on the cave ceiling near the main entrance) and found no evidence of prehistoric or recent human activity.  No evidence of ancient human activity was apparent at other locations within this short, narrow cave.  My later background research on recorded and unrecorded speleological visits to the cave indicated rather clearly that the paintings were indeed fakes.  They had been applied to the interior surfaces of the cave between 1955 and 1962. Someone had taken significant time, energy, and care in recreating an ancient European ritual atmosphere in this cave.  Unfortunately, early personal attempts to definitively identify the contemporary artists who executed the paintings proved futile, but our friend H.C. “Buddy” Brehm later took up the search with some eventual success.

One other memorable archaeological adventure came in 1982 when Dave and I performed Phase II archaeological testing at the Marshall site, which was located on Terrace-0 of the French Broad River near Morristown, Tennessee.  It was in the dead of winter—a very cold and wet winter with a lot of wind out on the river flats and a fluctuating high water table.  We would excavate a 5-ft square down to a depth of about 2 ft, come back a couple of days later (after the water table had risen), and find that our square was filled with water.  It rained or snowed every other day. Bailing out test units and fighting against the rising groundwater became a day-in and day-out affair.  We were always cold, wet, and covered in mud.  Somewhere in the testing process, I came down with a really nasty sinus infection and sore throat, one of the worst infections ever.  It persisted for weeks, and my doctor threw tons of medication at it to no avail.  Finally, I had to just go home, crawl into bed, and wait it out.  We finished the fieldwork successfully by early spring, but the very thought of doing winter field archaeology in upper East Tennessee is still not a pleasant one for me. The formal preface to the site report contained a cautionary note to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) about the relative wisdom of doing future Phase II testing in this sort of terrestrial environment during upper East Tennessee winters.  Clearly, Dave was more rugged and adaptable to such difficult field circumstances than me and my immune system.

The first indication Dave might exit Tennessee archaeology came in 1977 and 1978 when he took seasonal jobs with the National Park Service to do archaeological survey work on the Arctic Slope in Alaska.  He brought back numerous color slides of these adventures, and this was the first time I had ever seen survey archaeologists with heads wrapped completely in mosquito netting.  How bad are mosquitoes on the Arctic Slope in warm weather?  Let me put it this way.  Have you ever ventured into a coastal wildlife refuge in South Carolina or Southern Florida in a T-shirt and shorts before a summer sunrise?  Thousands of no-see-ums, mosquitoes, and other flying insects envelop your body in a swarm and eat you alive.  You can multiply that swarming experience by at least a factor of five on the Arctic Slope.  The swarming lasts all day long and consists almost entirely of blood-thirsty mosquitoes.

While I was still an archaeology graduate student, my girlfriend and I got married.  Dave was our wedding photographer, and Wayne D. Roberts (recently retired Chief Archaeologist at South Carolina DOT) was my best man.  Five years later, Dave got married, and I had the honor of being the best man at his wedding.  It was a grand outdoor wedding at Big Ridge State Park here in East Tennessee, and it was my job to pay the clergyman after the service.  Sorry to say, just after the service, I got rather excited by a reconstructed prehistoric structure on the ground surface about 1,000 ft from the wedding site and immediately took off on foot to take a closer look.  After a few moments of gazing at a circle of posts planted in the ground, I happened to look over my shoulder and saw Charlie Faulkner coming towards me in haste with a big smile on his face, “Hey!!!  Did you forget something??!!”  Yes, I forgot to pay the preacher that day.  He did eventually get paid.

Not too long after his wedding, Dave bought a surplus truck at a U.S. Department of Energy excess property auction at the K-25 site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  After helping us move to a new house in 1983,  Dave packed up the used truck with all of his belongings and set out overland on a long one-way trip to Anchorage, Alaska.  This was very much an act of faith and courage on Dave’s part because he did not have an archaeology job or any other kind of job lined up in Alaska.  However, he was determined and persistent in pursuing archaeology opportunities after he arrived, and a very good archaeology job with the State of Alaska did eventually come.  Dave settled in and became a master of doing archaeological fieldwork in the remote Alaska wilderness (where very dangerous brown bears roam) and in the frigid underwater wilderness of coastal Alaska.  He also mastered deep snow that starts in September, winter days that are essentially night all day long, and an occasional bull moose in his back yard.  Dave never came back to Tennessee again except to visit family and old friends.  The rest is now archaeological history in Alaska and Soviet/Russian Siberia.

Dave still lives in Anchorage today.  He is now married to Ms. Patricia Browne, a native of Wisconsin who earned an undergraduate degree in anthropology at the University of Alaska (Fairbanks) and attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin (Madison).  Patty also has significant work experience in the anthropology and archaeology of Alaska.  As a result of his marriage to Patty, Dave has two step-children and a fine grandson.  Dave and Patty also have a couple of lovable Great Danes to keep them company on cold winter nights.