CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

The site of the Cherokee village of Tomotley (40MR5), prior to inundation during the fall of 1979, was an open habitation site located on the 32,000 year old second terrace (Delcourt 1980:121) of the Little Tennessee River. It lies approximately 790-795 feet above mean sea level at 35o34'20" north latitude and 84o11'30" west longitude. It is situated between Rock Crusher Bluff to the north and Toqua Creek to the south and just west of the northern tip of McGhee Island (see Figures 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3). The following is a report on the excavation and identification of the material recovered from the site in 1967 and 1976 with particular emphasis placed on the Cherokee component.

Historically the site represents an east Tennessee Cherokee village occupied during the late colonial period (ca. 1760-1776). The village was first shown on William Gerard DeBrahm's 1756 map of the region surrounding Fort Loudoun (Figure 1.4) and again in 1762 on Lt. Henry Timberlake's map of the Overhill Country (Figure 1.5). Archaeologically the site contains the residues of day-to-day life in an eighteenth century Cherokee village. As such it provides insights into the Cherokee culture found in the Little Tennessee River Valley during that time.

The 1976 excavations recovered evidence of Early Archaic (Lower and Upper Kirk), Middle Archaic (Stanly/Kirk stemmed and Morrow Mountain), Late Archaic (Savannah River and Iddins), Woodland I (Bacon Bend), Woodland II (Patrick), Woodland III (Icehouse Bottom), Mississippian I/II (Hamilton/Hiwassee Island) (for a discussion of the similarities between these two temporal units see Schroedl et al. 1982), Mississippian III (Dallas), and Mississippian IV (Cherokee) occupations. The primary occupational evidence consists of the basal portion of an apparent burial mound or cemetery and structures dating to Mississippian I/II and Mississippian IV, including a townhouse and summer pavilion.

The goal of this report is to provide three kinds of information. First, it provides contextual information related to the historical setting of the village, the excavation techniques employed during the archaeological investigations at the site, and the artifact identification procedures used to catalog the recovered material. Secondly, it presents detailed tabulations of the artifacts recovered at the site and the subsurface features exposed during excavation. Thirdly, it provides a preliminary interpretation of the site based on the historical and archaeological evidence.

The archaeologically defined time units used throughout this report follow those presented by Larry R. Kimball in his report on the 1977 site survey of the Little Tennessee River valley (1980a). These units and their diagnostic artifact traits are presented in Table 1.1. Their usefulness and validity have been supported by numerous quantitative studies during the past five years (Kimball 1980a, 1980b, 1982; Davis et al. 1982).

Table 1.1. Diagnostic lithic and sherd types for recognized East Tennessee temporal units. (Adapted from Kimball 1980a).

Temporal Unit Diagnostics Age

Paleo Indian
-Clovisca. 11-8000 BC
Early Archaic
- Dalton 7900-7500 BC
  Lower Kirk Lower Kirk corner notched ca. 7500 BC
  Upper Kirk Upper Kirk corner notched 7400-7000 BC
Decatur
  St. Albans St. Albans side notched 7000-6600 BC
  Le Croy LeCroy bifurcated stem 6500-6100 BC
  Kanawha Kanawha stemmed 6500-6100 BC
Middle Archaic
  Stanly/Kirk Stemmed Kirk stemmed/Stanly stemmed 6000-5500 BC
  Morrow Mountain Morrow Mountain I stemmed 5400-5000 BC
Morrow Mountain II stemmed
-Guilford lanceolate ?
-Halifax side notched ca. 4300 BC
-Sykes ?
Late Archaic
-Savannah River stemmed 3000-2500 BC
-Iddins undifferentiated stemmed 2200-900 BC
Woodland I
  Bacon Bend coarse quartz-fabric marked 900-200 BC
coarse quartz-cord marked
Woodland II
  Patrick Greenville 200 BC-AD 350
Camp Creek
Nolichucky
limestone-fabric marked
limestone-checked stamped
medium quartz-check stamped
medium quartz-plain
Woodland III
  Icehouse Bottom Connestee triangular AD 350-900
Bradley spike
sand tempered ceramics
limestone-simple stamped
limestone-complicated stamped
limestone-incised
limestone-punctated
limestone-red filmed
medium quartz-simple stamped
  Westmoreland Barber medium quartz-simple stamped AD 350-900
shell-plain
Mississippian I
  Martin Farm Hamilton AD 900-1000
limestone-cord marked
shell-plain
Mississippian II
  Hiwassee Island Hamilton AD 1000-1300
Madison
Pentagonal
shell-fabric marked
shell-red filmed
shell-rectilinear complicated st.
Mississippian III
  Dallas/Mouse Creek Dallas excurvate AD 1300-1600
Madison
shell-cord marked
shell-modeled
shell-incised
shell-fillet applique
grit-incised
Mississippian IV
  Overhill Madison AD 1600-1819
shell-simple stamped
shell-check stamped
shell-curvilinear complicated st.
shell-fillet applique
grit-plain
grit-cord marked
grit-simple stamped
grit-check stamped
grit-complicated stamped