Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park Hosting a “Celebration of Archaeoskills“

Sunday, April 29, 2007 | 07:00pm

Manchester, Tenn. – Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park will host its annual Celebration of Archaeoskills May 4-6, 2007. The event celebrates the tools and skills used by Native Americans and people around the world for thousands of years. This year’s festival will take visitors back more than 10,000 years and is free and open to the public.

A special feature of the celebration includes a mastodon bone that shows butchering marks more than 10,000 years old, as well as hunting tools used in the time period. The mastodon bone is part of remains excavated in Williamson County. It is owned by the Hines Corporation and is part of an exhibit at the McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, which is providing the bone for display at the Celebration of Archaeoskills festival. The tools to be featured include stone points, blades, and cores also found in Tennessee, and are being provided for display at the event by the Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Archaeology.

The Celebration of Archaeoskills will also emphasize flintknapping, which is the art of making stone tools. Flintknappers of all skill levels will begin arriving at the park on Friday and will set up on the roof deck of the museum to exchange ideas and materials and demonstrate their craft to the public.

There will also be atlatl competitions throughout the weekend, with opportunities for everyone to try this ancient skill. Atlatls are spear propulsion devices, used for thousands of years before Native Americans began to use the bow and arrow. Atlatls were used all over the world and aided hunters by adding to the velocity of the spear and the impact of the spear on the target.

Other demonstrations featured at the Celebration of Archaeoskills include pottery, native plants, pine needle basketry, fingerweaving, gourd work, and other prehistoric skills. Demonstrations and programs by guest archaeologists will also take place on Saturday, May 5.

The Old Stone Fort is a 2000 year-old Native American ceremonial site. The hilltop enclosure mound site consists of mounds and walls that combine with cliffs and rivers to form an enclosure measuring one-and-a-quarter miles around. The enclosure was used for approximately 500 years and includes the remains of parallel walls oriented to the summer solstice sunrise.

The state archaeological park and museum are located on U.S. Highway 41 about halfway between Nashville and Chattanooga, in Manchester. From I-24, take Exit 110 and follow the signs to the park entrance. For more information about Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park, visit the Web site at: www.tnstateparks.com/OldStoneFort or call 931-723-5073.

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