A quick road trip to celebrate the Tennessee State Artifact

Around lunch time Dr. Peres and Field Assistant Kate McKinney headed up to Nashville to participate in the ceremonial bill signing for the Tennessee State Artifact. Dr. Peres is the President of the Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology (TCPA), and Kate is the student liaison to the Board.

You can read more about how this idea came about (thanks to TCPA Board Member Jared Barrett) and the process of idea becoming law on the TCPA website. More info on “Sandy” can be found here, and the most thorough media coverage is here. Sandy is housed at the McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture at the University of Tennessee, and is on permanent exhibit as part of  “Archaeology & the Native Peoples of Tennessee.”

Of course while we were away there were some exciting developments at the Magnolia Valley site. Several features started to appear in levels 2 and 3 of a few units, some interesting artifacts were recovered, all which will be shared in upcoming blog posts. Maybe Dr. Peres should go to Nashville more often?!?




Mississippian stone statue “Sandy,” from Wilson County Tennessee. Photo by David H. Dye.


The official bill.


Andrew Brown (Board member), Aaron Deter-Wolf (Secretary/Treasurer), Phil Hodge (Board Member), Kate McKinney (Student Liaison), Kelly Ledford (Member), Tanya Peres (President), and Jared Barrett (Board Member) at War Memorial Auditorium for the signing ceremony.


Safety first!

— post by field school student Jared T.
The Archaeological Field School isn’t only about digging in the dirt and learning about the lives of people long gone. Much of the course is designed to train us to be professional archaeologists –which means we need to know how to act on-site and how to respond to a classmate/future co-worker that might have an emergency.

On Friday we arrived on site a full hour earlier than usual to make up for spending that afternoon on campus. Dr. Peres arranged for us to have instruction in CPR and First Aid, as there is always potential for accidents in the field, as in any work place. It is essential that we are all prepared to act should an accident happen.  We learned the kew CPR rule of 30:2;


Field school students practicing  CPR.

Field school students practicing CPR.


how to help a choking person;

Helping a (pretend) choking person.

Helping a (pretend) choking person.

and how to wrap up a bleeding wound:

Field Assistant Joey wraps a (pretend) gash on Dr. Peres's forearm. The students are amused.

Field Assistant Joey wraps a (pretend) gash on Dr. Peres’s forearm. The students are amused.


However, we can prevent most accidents in the first place if we are prepared and use common sense. Here is a quick checklist of prevention that we follow daily:

  • drink plenty of water to stay hydrated;
  • sun block is a must (Dr. Peres actually requires sunblock use as part of the course);
  • always do a tick check when you get home;
  • handle tools  with care;  shovels should always be placed on the ground parallel to the excavation unit with the blade down.
  • do not run with a trowel in your hands.

Being safety-minded goes a long way in preventing most accidents, but we should still be prepared anyway.  The first aid class prepared us on what to do in many non-life-threatening situations, so now we know how to act if an emergency happens. It also taught us when a situation may be more than we are trained to handle, and when it is best to call in the professionals.