This exhibition traces the last 12,000-15,000 years of Native American occupation of Tennessee, using many of the artifacts from the collections, along with photographs, artists' renderings, and models. The exhibition is arranged chronologically by archaeological culture period: PaleoIndian (10,000+ to 8000 BC), Archaic (8000 to 1000 BC), Woodland (1000 BC to AD 900), Mississippian (AD 900 to 1600), and Historic (AD 1600 to 1839).

How Now Brown Chief!


This high status individual (the chief) wears replica costume and objects based on archaeological research. The original beads were manufactured from marine conch shells, as were the ear pins and large carved gorget. The spaghetti-like figures on the gorget are abstract representations of two dancing bird impersonators. In the chief’s right hand is a cast of a chipped Dover chert blade carried on ceremonial occasions and a symbol of status. In his left hand is a clay smoking pipe.

The designs on the chief’s body are tatoos. European explorers observed that tatooing was widespread among the Southeastern Indians, and the decorative technique is assumed to have occurred in prehistoric times as well.

To Death or not to Death!
Friend "Indian{a}" Rick tells the chief HOW!  (11/30/97)

On the warpath -- the pen is mightier than the spear!  (07/19/98)

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