• The Archaeology Research Center (ARC) at Lee University provides archaeological research services on public and private lands in order to better understand and conserve humanity cultural heritage. Our work is largely volunteer work that involves students, in some way, at every level. A major part of  the mission of the ARC is to highlight the service learning emphasis of the university mission statement by providing our students opportunities to work at important archaeological sites in the United States and around the world. We also encourage high standards of ethical and moral behavior in our work and life, believing that Christian values should guide what we do, and how we do it.


    The ARC at Lee is involved in a number of ongoing projects:

    1. Karak Resource Project (KRP):
    Since 1998, Lee University has been involved in the Karak Resources Project in Jordan. KRP is directed by Dr. Gerald Mattingly at Johnson University. KRP has been doing excavations at a Moabite site on the Karak Plateau in Jordan. In addition, regional studies in history, geology, anthropology, soil science, and other areas, have contributed to a holistic picture of life on the Karak plateau from ancient times to modern.
    2. U.S.D.A. Forest Service (USFS):
    Since 2006, the ARC has provided support for various projects with the Forest Service in the Cherokee National Forest. Forest Archaeologist Quentin Bass has allowed us to conduct archaeological field schools involving clearing and mapping cemeteries, and conducting surveys and excavations on important archaeological sites. Some of these sites are linked to the Cherokee removal period (1836-1839 AD) and are nationally important. Our relationship with the USFS is an ongoing one, which will continue to provide opportunities for our students to do important archaeological research.
    3. Bureau of Land Management, Colorado (BLM):
    Since 2009, ARC has been involved in survey and excavations in both eastern and western Colorado. In eastern Colorado, archaeological survey and excavation on a large, privately owned ranch—supervised by archaeologist Dr. Dudley Gardner of Western Wyoming Community College—documented significant prehistoric occupation on the land. That documentation prevented seizure of a significant part of the owner’s land by the federal government under eminent domain. In western Colorado, research on the development of prehistoric agriculture has been conducted in Paradox Valley and at Eagle Rock Shelter on the Gunnison River. This work has also been supervised by Dr. Dudley Gardner, who has been contracted by the Bureau of Land Management. Archaeologist Glade Hadden of the BLM oversees this work. In addition, some work has begun on a prehistoric rock art survey in western Colorado.
    In 2013, the Fort Hill Cemetery Board gave us permission to conduct survey on older parts of the cemetery to answer some specific questions about the locations of burials. Additional ground penetrating radar surveys were conducted in 2015 for the Veteran's portion of the cemetery.
    As the number of our archaeological projects have expanded, so has our need for additional space to properly store and curate the many artifacts we have collected in field work. The initial sorting and cleaning of artifacts takes place in the ARC offices in room 102 of the Mayfield Annex. We also maintain a climate controlled storage facility for artifacts, a documents storage room, and a lab for detailed cleaning and preservation of artifacts.
    ARC gets frequent questions from people in the community about artifacts and unusual features on their land. When time and resources allow, we make every effort to answer those questions. To cite a few instances, we have answered questions about pottery pulled from the Hiwassee River while fishing (turned out to be a fish effigy pot from the late Mississippian period around 1400 A.D.); questions about clay marbles found all over a landowners property (they turned out to be “baking beans” used to make pastry shells); and questions about private collections of artifacts (some turn out to be legitimate artifacts, others are just rocks). We involve students in these investigations to get experience in doing what archaeologists do.  Other projects have included surveying the site of Taylor's spring--location of the founding of the city of Cleveland, Tennessee--and mapping and exploring portions of the storm water drain system of Cleveland, Tennessee.

    Contact Information

    Archaeology Research Center
    1120 North Ocoee Street
    PO BOX 3450
    Cleveland TN 37320-3450

    Richard R. Jones
    Phone: 423-614-8352
    Email: rjones@leeuniversity.edu

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