The Tennessee Division of Archaeology maintains a database of all archaeological sites recorded within the state of Tennessee. As of January 1, 2009 this catalog contains more than 22,000 sites, including both prehistoric and historic resources. In Tennessee, Prehistoric is generally defined as the time between the appearance of the first people in the region (c. 12,000 BC) and the arrival of the first European explorers (c. 1540 AD). The Historic period begins after the arrival of those Europeans and continues to the present. Both these periods are further divided into subperiods and phases using established archaeological conventions for the region.
The following list of archaeological sites in Tennessee encompasses sites that have either contributed substantially or have the potential to contribute substantially to research regarding people who have lived in what is now Tennessee. Note that a historical site is not necessarily an archaeological site. According to the Tennessee Division of Archaeology Site Survey Record, official site numbers are generally assigned to historic sites only if artifacts and/or historic documentation for that site support a pre–1933 date. Historical sites are included in the following list only if actual field work has been conducted at the site.
The term cultural affiliation refers to the archaeological period when a site was created and/or occupied. Many sites were occupied during more than one archaeological period, and are therefore known as multicomponent. An example of a multicomponent site would be American Civil Warearthworks constructed at the same location as a prehistoric Mississippian village. The cultural affiliation category in the list below refers only to periods in which the most significant occupation or event (e.g., a battle) took place at the site.
Archaeological sites recorded in Tennessee are assigned State Trinomials consisting of letter and number combinations that indicate the state and county where the site is found, and includes a sequential number identifying the specific site. For example, the trinomial 40DV11 designates the eleventh archaeological site recorded in Davidson County(DV) , Tennessee(40) .
The Holliston Mills site, a Mississippian town in Upper East Tennessee, is located on the north bank of the Holston River south of Kingsport in Hawkins County, Tennessee. The site was excavated by members of the Tennessee Archaeological Society between 1968 and 1972. It was excavated in ten-foot blocks using six-inch levels, revealing a large late prehistoric (and perhaps protohistoric) town represented by at least two palisades, more than 660 burials, a large public structure, and several smaller domestic structures. The excavators initially reported the recovery of what they believed to be Cobb Island pottery in the plow zone and much Dallas material from the level excavations, but they also noted that the site had been looted prior to their excavations. There is little, if any, Cobb Island pottery, but there are some Pisgah ceramics.
^Although the Wikipedia entry for Paleoindian inserts a hyphen into the word, accepted scientific and archaeological nomenclature omits this punctuation; see links under Resources below for correct usage.
^Don W. Dragoo Archaeology of Eastern North America Vol. 1, No. 1 (SPRING 1973), pp. 1-56 Published by: Eastern States Archeological Federation Article Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40914129