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In a project funded by the U. S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highways Administration and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), the Jeffrey L. Brown Institute of Archaeology, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), conducted archaeological testing of historic site 40WG60 surrounding a residential structure designated the Hammer-Taylor House. Situated off State Route 34 on the northeastern outskirts of Johnson City, Washington County, Tennessee, the architecturally-unique Hammer-Taylor House was to be rehabilitated on a new site pending highway expansion which would engulf its original setting. The archaeological research was conducted in July, 1989, under a standing agreement between TDOT and the Transportation Center, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The research was carried out in response to a request for proposal from the Environmental Planning Office, TDOT, Nashville. The Jeffrey L. Brown Institute of Archaeology at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, responded to the request-for proposal (RFP) with a technical proposal and budget for the conduct of secondary archaeological testing on the historic occupation site surrounding the Hammer-Taylor house. A contract to conduct the testing was awarded to the Institute, and an excavation permit was issued by the Division of Archaeology, Department of Conservation. Consisting of a single pen two-story log cabin built in the period 1790-1806 joined under one roof with a Federal style double pen two-story brick structure built about 1844, the Hammer-Taylor house was scheduled for relocation and rehabilitation. The house proper was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and therefore the surrounding archaeological site was required under 36 CFR 60.6 to be tested for significance. A program of subsurface testing was developed to intercept closed context features such as wells, cisterns, and privies, in addition to sampling sheet refuse deposits around the immediate environs of the house proper. Archaeological fieldwork in July, 1989, involved hand excavation of eleven test pits situated within a uniform site grid and vertically controlled by semi-permanent transit stations. The fill in approximately half of the eleven test units was sampled by 1/4" screening for uniform artifact recovery, while in the remaining units, artifacts were shovel sorted. Several weeks prior to the testing, two modern additions on the rear and side of the house were removed by heavy machinery, resulting in severe subsurface disturbances (in the form. of truncation and rutting) on three sides of the structure. Excavations in the rear of the house documented truncation of soil horizons after c. 1968, while at the southwest corner of the house site, 19th century sheet refuse deposits were intercepted. Two 20th century pipe lines evidently connected the house with a natural spring south of the structure. A cistern in the rear of the house lot was found to contain debris from the last half of the 20th century, although its construction may have occurred early in the 19th century. An unlined privy vault was also noted, and contained refuse discarded after 1968. A sample of the original builders' trench to the brick unit of the house yielded insufficient numbers of datable artifacts to refine the historically-indicated construction date of 1844. Further controlled hand excavation on the site was not recommended in view of profile truncation and the general absence of undisturbed sheet refuse deposits. Instead, it was recommended that during and after the relocation' of the house, the area around the house be stripped by machine and that documentation and excavation of closed-context features be carried out. This salvage operation would occur in the context of excavations associated with archaeological clearance of the road excavations required to transport the Hammer-Taylor house to its new site. Artifacts recovered during the testing program and all primary site documentation and analysis records will be curated in Nashville by the Division of Archaeology.


Dept. of Social, Cultural, and Justice Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)




Archaeology -- Tennessee -- Washington County; Antiquities; Archaeology; Washington County (Tenn.) -- Antiquities


Washington County (Tenn.)

Document Type



ii, 27 leaves



Call Number

F443.W3 C68 1990


The Hammer-Taylor House site : archaeological testing of site 40WG60, Johnson City, Washington County, Tennessee