Group wants further study of ancient artifacts at ballpark site - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Group wants further study of ancient artifacts at ballpark site

Albert Bender, with the American Indian Coalition Albert Bender, with the American Indian Coalition

Pieces of ancient history have surfaced at the site of Nashville's new ballpark. But most of it will remain buried beneath the outfield, and one group isn't quite satisfied with that idea.

"There is evidence of a huge, huge Native American city - Native American metropolis, ancient American area," said Albert Bender, with the American Indian Coalition.

Archaeologists were excited when some Native American salt vessels recently turned up at the Sulphur Dell construction site.

They would like to see the construction of the new Nashville Sounds stadium put on hold to further study the findings, but that is unlikely.

"That's our priority that they will open up the excavation process so that more field recovery work can take place, because there is a treasure trove of knowledge waiting to be unearthed. And the knowledge is incalculable compared to any type of delay that may result from the construction of a ballpark," Bender said.

The artifacts include broken pottery from a salt factory dating back to 1150 A.D. But the digging to find more artifacts has stopped and construction of the ballpark is moving ahead.

"Now we've capped that with some dirt, and we suspect there are other things out there. But it's not going to be coming into place as part of this construction process," said Ronald Gobbel, with Gobbel Hays Partners, Inc.

Still, the group of Native Americans and archaeologists have met with city leaders and the project manager and say they have a list of demands for the mayor.

"We would like to see an interpreted center, panels depicting life of the people in the ancient city and we would also like to see a scale model of the ancient city along with the interpreted center, and an exhibition," Bender said.

The new baseball stadium is still on track to open in time for spring 2015.

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