At the request of the Oaklands Association and James Manning, director of Oaklands Mansion, excavations of the Mansion’s backyard cellar began last weekend, June 8-9, 2019. The 8.5′ x 10.2’ cellar, which has a depth of 4.6’, was in use between 1820-1900. It was partially excavated and then backfilled in 1976 as a part of the Oaklands Associations and the Tennessee Historical Commission Restoration Project.
The current excavation project is co-directed by archaeologists Laura Bartel, M.A. and Zada Law, M.A., who are volunteering their time and representing the Rutherford County Archaeological Society. Due to the small size of the excavation area and related safety issues, the crew consists of only a few archaeologically trained volunteers.
The archaeological project involves excavating and recovering cultural data from the unexcavated portion of the cellar for processing and analysis. In addition, all soil and previous backfill rubble will be removed out of the entire cellar. The exposed cellar, after protection and safety measures are completed by Oaklands Mansion, will then be featured as a part of the Mansion’s tour and public interpretation.
Excavations are being performed on selected weekends and are expected to be completed by the end of July.