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What's been dug up in Sullivan County

Staff Report • May 24, 2013 at 12:35 PM

S.D. Dean, an archaeologist who has spent his career excavating and researching sites in East Tennessee will speak on “Archaeological Investigations in Sullivan County, Tennessee” during an upcoming lecture at the ETSU and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitor Center at the Gray Fossil Site.

The free lecture will begin at noon, Saturday, June 1. Guests are invited to bring their lunch.

Before Dean’s excavations there had been little work done by the professional archaeological community in upper East Tennessee.

His career has included several meticulous excavations from salvage efforts at Linville Cave to research investigations at Eastman Rockshelter, both in Sullivan County.

“My salvage excavations at Linville Cave revealed several intact deposits that were dated from the Woodland Period, which ranged from 1000 B.C. to 700 A.D. as well as some deposits from the late Pleistocene, which ranged from 2 million years ago to 12,000 years ago,” said Dean.

Dean is recognized in the scientific community for his work at the Eastman Rockshelter, where he processed more than 250 tons of sediment.

“That was a very successful excavation because I found various stone and ceramic artifacts as well as animal deposits, which were ranging from the Early Archaic through the Mississippian Period, or from about 8,000 B.C. to 1,600 A.D.,” said Dean.

Dean will have on display a small collection of artifacts he has found in Sullivan County, including numerous arrowheads and ancient pottery.

Dean’s presentation is part of the lunchtime lecture series hosted by the museum and is sponsored by the ETSU Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology. For more information, visit www.etsu.edu/naturalhistorymuseum.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (866) 202-6223.

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