The Cherokee of the Nolichucky River

Nolichucky Archaeology

Big NOli


The last few days I have had the luck to tag along with Dr. Katheryn Sampeck and her crew from Illinois State as they surveyed Late Mississippian/Cherokee sites along the middle Nolichucky River Valley.  It’s amazing how little is known about the Cherokee presence in upper East Tn.  Dr. Sampeck introduced me to a couple of different massive Cherokee Town sites.  Dr. Sampeck, along with Dr. Jay Franklin and others, are starting to lay the foundation to discovering the full extent of the Cherokee population along the Nolichucky River.   Most of these sites are best described as town sites rather than using the terminology of “village”.

A typical town site on the Nolichucky River would have encompassed an area of 8-15 acres which is in clear contrast to Pisgah Village types (2-5 acres) of prior centuries.  What, if anything, triggered the emergence of these town sites during the 16th and 17th centuries remains unclear…

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