Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Zada Law's Archaeological Inventory of the Bell's Bend Development

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 6:41 PM

So, I got my hands on it and I read it.  And I spent all evening trying to think of a song we could all sing.  I could be all "There are over sixty sites in the Bend!" and you could wiggle around and raise your hands over your heads.

"That we have mapped out."  And some of you would swoon and throw your underwear at me.

"But there are probably many more..." And now we're all bopping along, some of you are singing, too.

"We don't know about."  And now the horns come in.

"I've got the 'No one has done a comprehensive survey of the Bend' archaeology blues."

Because, folks, I just don't know how many times a girl can read an archaologist or historian say that, and then report it back to you, and keep it interesting.  Musical numbers are all we have left.

Shall we hear directly from Law's report? (Keep in mind, she did this report for an earlier Bell's Bend project, but the land they wanted to use is pretty much the same land the current Bell's Bend project would sit on).

"No archaeological sites have been recorded in the project area; however, no systematic archaeological studies have been conducted north of Old Hickory Boulevard. Since no archaeological investigations have been conducted in the project area, data from nearby archaeological sites located in similar physiographic and land use settings, historic maps, and local histories were analyzed to develop expected types of archaeological remains that may potentially occure in the development tract."

Is Law's report the fabled "extensive study"?  Hard saying.  I asked Joe Hall, of Hall Strategies, who is doing PR for the May Town Center project.  He declined to answer.

Two things argue against it.  One, she locates the African American cemetery in a different spot than the May Town Center literature does. 

And two, in her study she says "Background research alone cannot suffice as an assessment of whether archaeological remains are present in a given area."

And certainly, you wouldn't use a report that states up-front that it is an insufficient tool to use to assess the presence of archaeological sites as the basis for your claim that you have done an extensive study of the archaeological sites in the area, right? I mean, you wouldn't deliberately mislead people, right?

But, if not this inventory, then which?

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