A River in Name Only: Assessing Submerged Historic Resources in Kentucky Lake

Tiffany L. Goldhammer

           The Tennessee River Valley has a long and storied history, but by the 1930's, the region was poverty stricken and its nutrients depleted. The federal government created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to renew the region. The TVA constructed several dams along the Tennessee River. During these projects, archaeologists surveyed the land noting sites they deemed significant. This survey is sadly lacking by today's standards, as little to no historic sites were recorded. This project utilized the remote sensing technology of side scan sonar and magnetometer equipment to survey portions of Kentucky Lake in an effort to locate, assess, and identify submerged historic resources. The results include the foundations of historic structures and the potential for more discoveries. This information combined with oral history helped to recreate elements of the historic landscape of the western portion of the Tennessee River Valley.