Part of our in-depth series exploring Southern Early American Forts
The Old Stone Fort is a 2000-year-old American Indian ceremonial site. It consists of mounds and walls which combine with cliffs and rivers to form an enclosure measuring 1-1/4 miles around. The 50 acres enclosed seem to have served as a central ceremonial gathering place for some 500 years.
The entrance way to the Old Stone Fort consists of mounds, ditches and in-turned walls. The in-turned walls show signs of having been oriented to the summer solstice sunrise.
The two forks of the Duck River cut into the edge of the Highland Rim Plateau at the site of the Old Stone Fort. These rivers provided a beautiful and dramatic setting for the ceremonial enclosure, then as they do now. The natural gathering place formed by the high tableland which the rivers almost totally surround could have been an important assembly ground long before the walls were built which seem to formalize it as sacred ground.
This State Archaeological Park is dedicated to the preservation, protection, study and interpretation to the public of this significant survival of ancient culture. The park offers educational and entertaining programs which increase understanding of the Old Stone Fort, archaeology, and Native American cultures.
Old Stone Fort is located off U.S. Highway 41 in Manchester, Tennessee. From 1-24 turn southwest at the Highway 53 exit and follow the signs 1-1/2 miles to the entrance. All Manchester exits have signs directing you to the site.
Visitors Center and Museum
The office and exhibit hall complex includes exhibits relating to the history, archaeology, and legends surrounding the Old Stone Fort and its builders.
Programs can be scheduled for school and other groups that provide insight into the significance of Old Stone Fort, the culture or lifestyles of Woodland Indians, and the goals and techniques of archaeology. There are scheduled programs for weekend days during the summer months.
Hours of Operation
The Park is open from 8 a.m. until sunset, year-round.
Museum is open from 8 - 4:30.
Tour buses are welcome.
The park campground is accessible to persons with a disability.
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