Scenic USA - Tennessee

Old Stone Fort State Park

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Old Stone Fort Museum - Manchester, Tennessee

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   Unable to explain what lie before them, early Tennessee settlers simply called an ancient Native American ceremonial site the "Old Stone Fort." Now estimated to be 2000 years old, the 50 acre enclosure is the largest of its kind in the South. Placed at a narrow neck between the Duck and Little Duck rivers, parallel mound walls point to the summer solstice sunrise. It was typical of ancient societies to recognize the height of summer, and center their rituals and ceremonies on fertility and nature's bounty.
   It wasn't until 1966 that the secrets of the Old Stone Fort were discovered. Blue Hole Falls - Duck River Led by a team from the University of Tennessee, excavations indicated the structure to be of Native American origin during the Woodland Period from 30 to 430 CE.
   Today, the mound walls, averaging four to six feet high, are covered in vegetation and earth. With walls varying in length from 1000 to 2000 feet, it's now believed the Old Stone Fort was built over a period of a few hundred years.
   The Old Stone Fort Museum, built into the hillside, features exhibits of the fort's builders, archeological excavations and early Native America culture. With the park's ancient ceremonial ground, three powerful waterfalls, whitewater rapids and a beautiful woodland setting, the Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park has all the makings for a memorable experience.

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