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Ginger Rowsey, Narrator (UT Institute of Agriculture)
For seven years, students in the archeology program at Rhodes College have spent their summers digging... sifting... and sorting at the Ames Plantation in Grand Junction... trying to unearth history... one piece at a time. This year, you could say they hit paydirt. 

Dr. Milton Moreland (Rhodes College Archeology)
"This hasn't happened very often, where you're able to find a cabin and trace it to a very particular owner at a very particular time."

Ginger Rowsey, Narrator
Rhodes College archeology chair, Milton Moreland, and his team are uncovering the former home of Fannie Dickins... a 19th century woman who moved to the area in the 1840's and bought her own small plantation... a rarity for a woman of her times.

Dr. Milton Moreland
“Her house was a little more decorative, she painted her bricks for example she has plastered walls, we’re trying to reconstruct that from minutia, if you will, but we’re trying to trace out what life was like on these smaller plantations. It’s hard to know just from the material cultured, but it's our best evidence in some cases.”

Ginger Rowsey, Narrator

Then with the help of Ames Plantation cultural resource manager Jamie Evans, who provided accompaning historical documents... the Rhodes team discovered another piece of the plantation life... the site of a slave cabin.

Jamie Evans (Ames Plantation)
“The fundamental research question that’s being addressed as part of the Rhodes program is the lives of the slaves that were here on this plantation before the Civil War, and we’ve actually confirmed a slave house this year for the first time in seven years of excavation. So that’s very exciting.”

Ginger Rowsey, Narrator
According to Evans, only a handful of upper south slave cabins have ever been excavated in Tennessee. And Moreland says the new site promises to be an exciting excavation that will hopefully provide a clearer historical account of the people who lived in slavery.

Dr. Milton Moreland

“We can begin to see some of the settings where they lived, where they worked… and a lot of information that we can kinda pull from the ground, helps us reconstruct a life.”

Ginger Rowsey, Narrator

The excavation of the slave cabin site has paused for now... the Rhodes team is currently analyzing their findings in the lab... but they'll be back next season... digging for more pieces of the puzzle that is our past.

Jamie Evans
“The more we understand about our past, the more interesting it becomes, the more we know, we can relate to these people on a personal level.”

OF NOTE: The digging will go on at Ames Plantation in the future. Experts say there are some 200 potential sites with historical riches there - many still untouched.