Could Oracle’s new campus sit on old burial sites?

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – As progress continues on Nashville’s future, some are concerned about its past.

“A thousand years ago, you had tens of thousands of Native Americans here raising families who, like families today, had children,” said Albert Bender, Tennessee Ancient Sites Conservancy activist and president. of the American Indian Coalition in Nashville. Over a million Native Americans inhabited the area that is now Nashville, Tennessee.

He said activists feared the Oracle construction site was based on ancient Native American burial sites and artifacts. To find out, they would like construction to be delayed for an advanced archaeological dig.

Oracle Corporation

Rendering of the potential Oracle hub in Nashville.

“Further archaeological digs have highlighted the fact that Native American culture and habitation in this area dates back 12,000 to 13,000 years,” Bender said.

He points to the artifacts discovered during the construction of Nashville Sounds Stadium. “They found the remains of a huge salt-making industry that was engaged by Native Americans in this region, which resulted in the export of salt from Native American communities throughout the Southeast.”

Oracle sent us a statement as follows: “Oracle will work closely with the State Archaeologist to take appropriate steps during project design, permits and the construction process to verify that there is no Native American burial sites on property. “

But Bender said, “If the proper precautions are not taken, a huge, huge aspect of Nashville’s Native American cultural resources will be irretrievably lost.”

If human remains are found, state law requires all work to stop.

A representative from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said: “About 700 years ago, the east bank of the Cumberland River was the location of a large Native American town that encompassed most of the area. development of the North River and extended east to roughly where McFerrin Park stands today.

TDEC is in the process of collecting archaeological archives in the area to share with Oracle at their request. TDEC has not asked Oracle, or any development occurring along the east side of the Cumberland River in the River North Development Area, to halt development due to the potential for archaeological discovery. We understand that Oracle has also retained the services of an archaeological consultant. If human burials are discovered, state law requires all work to be stopped. Beyond this, TDEC’s only implication is to provide information to ensure that development is planned and can proceed in a manner sensitive to the natural and cultural resources of the region. “

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