About Us

Mission:  The Rutherford County Archaeological Society serves to educate and foster a deeper appreciation of archaeology, to demonstrate the importance of archaeological research, and to promote the stewardship, preservation, and protection of our cultural resources.

The Rutherford County Archaeological Society (RCAS) 501(c)(3) welcomes all who are interested in the realm of archaeology, history, and related fields here in Rutherford County and beyond. 

Originally founded as a Facebook group in November 2014, we held our first meeting in January 2015.

We are a diverse group of varying ages, folks from all walks of life, college students, and professional archaeologists and historians. We are all volunteers and serve the community with educational programs, special events, archaeological research, and projects

We recognize the significance of the past and the lessons it provides. We provide an important presence in the community and work together to promote the preservation of our historic and prehistoric archaeological resources and the cultural heritage that we all share.

Our  free public meetings  are held at noon on the 4th Saturday of the months of  February, April, June, August, October, and early December  at the MTSU Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.  Meetings feature a guest speaker and myriad topics are covered, including prehistoric and historic archaeology, anthropology, history, Native American culture, and other related fields. We also welcome members of the public who would like to share their encounters with archaeology, history, and other cultures. through study, travel, or volunteerism.

 In 2015, we began the first “Archaeology Day” event held in Middle Tennessee. Our free event held annually offers a day of fun and learning through  archaeology displays, activities, crafts, and games.

  In an agreement with the Parks and Recreation Commission of the City of Murfreesboro, we  have “adopted” Murfreesboro’s Old City Cemetery which includes the archaeological remains of the original 1820 First Presbyterian Church and its burying ground. We are leading an ongoing community volunteer project for its conservation, restoration, and public interpretation. 

We follow the principles and ethics of professional archaeology as outlined in the Society for American Archaeology and the Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology.

RCAS Organization (All Volunteers)

Founder/Executive Director:  Laura Bartel, M.A.


  • President: Clelie Cottle Peacock
  • 1st Vice President:  Olivia Thompson
  • 2nd Vice President: Christopher Lane
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Joey Lena O’Dell 

Advisory Board

  • Dr. Kevin E. Smith
  • Dr. Carrol Van West 
  • Dr. Tanya Peres Lemons
  • Dr. Shannon Chappell Hodge
  • Dr. Lydia Simpson
  • Dr. Michael Fletcher
  • Phillip Hodge, M.A.
  • Toye Heape, (Native American Advisor)
  • Michelle Willard (Public Relations)

Old City Cemetery Project  (Ongoing)

  • Director: Laura Bartel, M.A.
  • Assistant Directors:  Olivia Thompson, Clelie Cottle Peacock 
  • Genealogy Research: Peggy Paulson
  • RCAS and Community Volunteers 

RCAS Committee Chairs:

  • Old City Cemetery: Peggy Paulson
  • Archaeology Day Event:  Clelie Cottle Peacock, Chris Lane

Social Media/Website Coordinators

  •  Peggy Paulson
  •  Laura Bartel