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Artifacts discovered at Sulphur Dell site

New Nashville Sounds ballpark

As the Sulphur Dell area once hosted a graveyard, it’s no surprise that historic artifacts were indeed found at the construction site of a new Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) ballpark there.

It was actually expected: archaeologists have been working at the site alongside the construction crew to monitor the possible unearthing of artifacts and remains. Remember, the site was identified by Betsy Phillips as a graveyard before the site was approved for baseball:

Like I said, these graves, if there are still any, have been massively looted. I’ve read descriptions of Nashvillians picnicking near the mound in the 1800s in order to collect trinkets and skulls. And archaeologists, such as the aforementioned Dr. Jones, have been over that ground. Plus, parts of that area used to be a bustling business district.

And, as many predicted, the archaeologists have uncovered pottery, animal bones and ceramics that could be 800 years old:

Archaeologists made an important discovery over the weekend in the area that will become left field, including artifacts that could even hint at ancient human burials.

The state believes the artifacts could be 800 years old, and experts are excavating the area now.

The area was home to American Indians before the settlement of the city, and there were reports in the 1700s about the place being used for burial mounds. After settlement, the area was home to the city graveyard before it was moved. What’s surprising is that no human remains have been found. But there may be a simple set of reasons as to why. First, the city cemetery was moved to a different site, and the existing remains were reportedly disinterred and moved. Second, as the Nashville Scene writer reported in the article cited above, there are plenty of reports that the site was repeatedly looted. We’re not talking about pristine and intact remains here: we’re talking something entirely different. Which is why the ballpark construction won’t be altered even if remains are found: archaeologists are expected to be at the site until next week, when excavation work is done.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first ballpark built on burial grounds; reportedly Angel Stadium was built on the site of ancient Indian burials grounds, as was Wrigley Field.

The new ballpark will open in 2015 and replace Greer Stadium as home of the Sounds.

Rendering courtesy Populous.

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