Phase I Archaeological dig
at Coal Creek’s historic
Militia Hill
June 26 -- 30, 2006

See photos of the
week's dig below

List of volunteers shown at end of page

Newspaper and television stories:

Clinton Courier News

Live at Five -- WBIR-TV

Knoxville News Sentinel
Appalachian Journal


First Militia Hill historic markers installed!!

As the first step in restoring Militia Hill so it can be enjoyed by the public, the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation contracted with the Archaeological Research Laboratory (ARL) at the University of Tennessee to conduct a Phase I Archaeological study of the site during the week of June 26-30, 2006.   Militia Hill was the site of Fort Anderson during the Coal Creek War of 1891 and 1892.  The battle between the Tennessee Militia and the Coal Creek miners was credited with abolishing the corrupt convict lease system throughout the southern United States. 

Coal Creek free miners during
the Coal Creek War

Archaeologists Dr. Elizabeth Kellar
DeCorse (L) led the Phase I study.  Here she directs Coal Creek Scholar Cassie Phillips
in measuring off a square meter to study.

Volunteers including Coal Creek Scholars, teachers from Sevier and Loudon Counties, Bearden High School, citizens, history buffs, students from a summer archaeology camp at UT, and others worked alongside the archaeologists.  Volunteers paired up with an archaeologist to create teams.

Volunteers helped with shovel testing (small holes spaced every 5 to 10 meters), screening soil, helping to map with a transit, and excavating units or features depending upon what was found during testing. 

Red bandanas were distributed and worn in honor of the Coal Creek miners who fought in the Coal Creek War.  The miners were known to don bandanas as their uniforms.

Click on images to enlarge

Read Phase I Study

Digging in the dirt is
educational and fun!!

Unfortunately, relic hunters had previously entered the historic site that has been privately owned by the Camp family for over 100 years and used metal detectors to help themselves to historic relics left by the Tennessee Militia in 1891 and 1892.   Relic hunter Larry Keyes visited the site and brought boxes of relics he had taken.  We hope Mr. Keyes and other relic hunters will turn the relics over to the property owner, the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, so the relics can be inventoried and documented in the archaeological study and be preserved for the public as part of the amazing Coal Creek mining history in the Coal Miners' Museum. Relic hunter Larry Keyes with remnants of history from Militia Hill
Coal Creek War relics
taken from Militia Hill
Glass and ceramic relics found by the archaeologists during the contracted dig

Reporter LaSaundra Brown and Videographer Brian New filmed a segment of the dig

We believe the press is essential if we are to educate the public and improve the quality of life in the Coal Creek Watershed.  The publicity reaches a large audience and more of the public learn about the rich coal mining history.  We had some wonderful interest from the press including a television segment by NBC WBIR-TV's Live at Five show.  Reporter LaSaundra Brown and Videographer Brian New filmed a segment of the dig.   Bill Landry and videographer Doug Mills from WBIR's Heartland Series will be producing a show that will be televised later in the summer.  Writer Fred Brown and photographer Paul Efird from the Knoxville News Sentinel spent some time at the dig for an Appalachian Journal story published in the newspaper.  Managing Editor Ken Leinart from the Clinton Courier News visited the site and published photographs. 

Doug Mills (L) and Bill Landry are producing a Heartland Series segment on the dig.  Bill is pictured (Far right) talking with Coal Creek miner Owen Bailey who recently turned 91 years old.  The itinerant Fraterville miners are buried in Mr. Bailey's back yard.
Clinton Courier News' Ken Leinart (in blue rain poncho) documented the dig with photographs
Writer Fred Brown discussed the dig with archaeologist Jennifer Kirkmeyer for his Appalachian Journal feature
News Sentinel photographer Paul Efird (L) had archaeologist Charlie Susano hold a piece of historic glass found on the site up to the sun so the lettering on the bottle can be read.
The workers had a very special moment on the site when volunteer and musician Bob Fulcher brought out his banjo and played the old song written during the war, "The Coal Creek March". 

Barry Thacker gave a history lesson to the volunteers

Coal Creek Scholars Tyler Vandergriff and Kyle Leinart volunteered

Coal Creek Scholar Phillip Smith (in red bandana) worked every day

Surveying the site

Teachers from Loudon & Sevier counties worked on the project under a NASA grant

Modern technology

Paul Efird and Charlie Susano stand in one of the newly discovered lower trenches

Cassie, Jacob and Jared Phillips helped out as part of their on-going community service efforts in Coal Creek

Volunteers and workers included:

Breeden, Stacy
Burgin, Bobby
Campbell, Paul
Cook, Faye
Dickinson, William
Elston, Stuart
Fulcher, Bob
Graves, Bill
Grouge, Stephanie
Hardison, Alison
Haygood, Howard
Kellar DeCorse, Elizabeth
Ketteringham, Desiree
Kirkmeyer, Jennifer
Leinart, Kyle
McCulloch, Drew
Moore, Carol

Morgan, Mark
Mounce, Justin
Philips, Charlotte
Phillips, Cassie
Phillips, Jacob
Phillips, Jared
Pohl, Nick
Presnell, Nicole
Robbins, Jill
Smith, Phillip
Susano, Charles
Swallows, Rhonda
Thacker, Barry
Tyler, Vandergriff
Watson, Veronica
White, Stephanie
Wilson, Morgan

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