KHC archaeologist Phillip Johnson recently received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Texas A&M University, where he worked under the guidance of doctors Suzanne Eckert, Mike Waters, Ted Goebel and Dennis James. Dr. Johnson’s research is primarily focused on how the organization of prehistoric stone tool production, distribution, and consumption can inform archaeological interpretations of social complexity. His dissertation was titled "Elemental and Technological Analyses of Basalt Adze Manufacture on Tutuila, Amerika Samoa: Economic Intensification and Specialization during the Monument Building Period." The work explores the potential control by societal elites of stone tool resources and the production of stone tools, called "adzes" (pictured), which were integral for activities such as house carpentry and canoe building. Dr. Johnson’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Archaeological Science and Archaeometry, as well as in the peer-reviewed monograph X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry in Geoarchaeology.
Kentucky Native American Heritage Coordinator Tressa Brown (right) is a long-time steering committee member and presenter at Living Archaeology Weekend , Kentucky’s oldest and largest public archaeology event, which brings hundreds of fifth-graders and others to the Red River Gorge each September for hands-on demonstrations of cultural practices and skills utilized by Native Americans and early Kentucky pioneers. Tressa's demonstration of hide tanning is always a popular draw.
Archaeologist Nick Laracuente (below right) was recently named Archaeology Review Coordinator (previously serving as Transportation Archaeology Review Coordinator).
Nick's work was featured in the Fall 2013 issue of American Archaeology magazine. Titled “The Archaeology of Imbibing,” the article explored the recent surge of archaeological investigation into alcohol consumption, the role of drinking in society, and alcohol history and production. “Though people have consumed alcoholic beverages for centuries, archaeologists have largely ignored the role of drinking in the past. But recently a number of researchers have focused on this topic,” the piece begins.
The article included a photo of archaeology students from the University of Kentucky participating in a dig Nick led at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, and also a photo of the now-defunct yet once-grand Old Taylor Distillery on the banks of Glenn’s Creek in Franklin County. He has led and participated in digs in Kentucky exploring sites of bourbon production, a signature industry in the Commonwealth yet an area of study relatively unexplored. He notes that the archaeology of alcohol production is something generally overlooked by archaeologists, who tend to focus on consumption during feasts or at taverns.
Follow Nick's work on Twitter @archaeologist or visit his blog, http://bourbonarchaeology.blogspot.com
Kary Stackelbeck (bottom left) was appointed Site Protection Program administrator in October 2013. Dr. Stackelbeck has been with the agency since 2008.