Geoarchaeological Investigation of the Coats-Hines Site (40WM31), Williamson County, Tennessee



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The Coats-Hines site (40WM31) is a potential pre-Clovis site located in Franklin, Tennessee. The site rests, geographically, at the convergence of the Central Basin and Western Highland Rim. The site was discovered during the construction of a nearby golf course when a salvage team uncovered a mature female mastodon.. The site was later excavated in 1994-1995, during which time two additional mastodons were uncovered, in direct association with lithic artifacts. Preliminary radiocarbon dates reveal the site was deposited during the late Pleistocene epoch at roughly 12,000^(14)C yr BP.

During the summer of 2012, the site was excavated with the goal of determining the depositional setting of the site and geographic region, as well as establishing the antiquity of the archaeological remains. The site geology was determined through field interpretation and texturing, micromorphological analysis, laboratory particle size analysis, and radiocarbon dating. Sedimentation at the site is a combination of cherty colluvium from upslope as well as alluvium. Four chronostratigraphic sequences of sedimentation were determined to have occurred during the last glacial, the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, the Holocene, and modern time periods. The volume, distribution, and composition of the nine defined stratigraphic units are dependent on the fluctuations occurring in the climate during these time periods. The climate changes and rates of deposition occurring at Coats-Hines were correlated to similar sites in the region.

The Coats-Hines site was surveyed along the wet-weather drainage that bounds the site during in the spring of 2013. A channel unconformity was discovered, likely dating to the Pleistocene-Holocene transition and providing context to the 1994/1995 excavation.