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Native Statue Named ‘Sandy’ Becomes Tennessee State Artifact

Sandy, a Native American sandstone statue of a kneeling male figure has been named the official state artifact of Tennessee.
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“Sandy” is an 18-inch sandstone statue of a kneeling male figure that was carved between 1000 and 1350 A.D. during the Mississippian period. The statute is on permanent display at the University of Tennessee McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture. As of March 21 it is now the official state artifact of Tennessee.

“The McClung Museum is thrilled to receive this recognition of Sandy and our museum,” McClung Museum Director Jeff Chapman said in a press release. “Sandy is such an important example of prehistoric Native American art, and we are proud to be the stewards of this piece of Tennessee history.”

Sandy was found in 1939 along with a companion female statue at a farm in Wilson County at the Sellars archaeological site. The museum purchased both statues in 1940.

“They are thought to represent chiefly ancestors, real or mythological, from which this prehistoric community originated,” states the press release. “Similar stone statuary pairs have been found across the South and Midwest at large Mississippian period town sites, but the [ones at the] McClung are particularly noted for their realism and workmanship.”

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