TVA Keeping Watch On Artifacts During Blue Ridge Project
July 9, 2010
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Tennessee Valley Authority will work to protect archaeological artifacts during an extended drawdown of Blue Ridge Reservoir beginning in mid-July for repairs and safety upgrades to Blue Ridge Dam.
TVA will lower water levels on the reservoir for about six months, exposing hundreds of acres of TVA-managed property that were once a forested river bottom inhabited by the Cherokee Indians and later Euro-American settlers.
Traces of these campsites, villages and farmsteads remain even today, and are considered archaeological resources containing important information about American prehistory and history.
All remnants from any cultural period are protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. The act imposes criminal or civil penalties for unauthorized digging or collecting of these artifacts, and provides rewards of up to $500 for information leading to conviction or civil fines.
Although arrowheads are exempt from the act’s penalties section, they are protected under other laws. The Theft of Government Property law prohibits the taking or possession of government property. Collectors should be aware that taking arrowheads and any other object considered a cultural resource from TVA-managed property falls into this category and will be subject to prosecution.
TVA Police will be enforcing the act and the Theft of Government Property law against removal of any archaeological resources, including arrowheads, from the Blue Ridge Reservoir bottom during the drawdown. Anyone who observes looting, destruction or any other illegal activity on an archaeological site on TVA-managed land should report it to the TVA Police at 800-824-3861.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities and supplies up to 36,000 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA’s service territory are below the national average.
Barbara Martocci, Knoxville, (865) 632-8632
Media Relations, Knoxville (865) 632-6000