Appletree Archaeological Excavations
Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina, 1999
by Rodney J. Snedeker, FS Archaeologist
Our 1999 archaeological field season at Appletree started May 17 with 15 students from Western Carolina University. The students were from Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina; two others traveled from Wales to join the project. The students worked in an area of the site known to contain mostly Middle and Late Archaic deposits dating to ca. 7,000–3,000 years B.P. This year we uncovered several well-preserved Late Archaic features, with in situ projectile points and materials suitable for 14C dating and ethnobotanical analysis. From June 1 to 12, 44 PIT volunteers joined the effort, contributing 1,306 hours. They helped to locate several Middle Archaic features adjacent to last year’s finds and several more probable ancestral Cherokee structures, dating to ca. 1,000–200 years B.P. We were also able to better document which portions of the site had been occupied and/or plowed prior to FS acquisition.
Everyone got the chance to participate in a ground-penetrating-radar session thanks to Regional Heritage Program Director Kent Schneider. We are all eagerly awaiting our next field season to test the results!
We had many visitors this year, most of whom took the time to get a little dirty. We were very fortunate to have representatives from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee visit.