Kentucky Heritage Council
Gov. Steve Beshear proclaims September as Kentucky Archaeology Month
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed September as Kentucky Archaeology Month, to commemorate the contributions made through the professional practice of archaeology toward the public’s understanding of – and appreciation for – the Commonwealth’s rich cultural heritage.
The designation also recognizes the success of Living Archaeology Weekend (LAW), Kentucky’s oldest and largest public archaeology event, which has taken place since 1989 in Red River Gorge. The 26th annual event will be Sept. 19-20 at Gladie Visitor Center.
The proclamation credits the Kentucky Office of State Archaeology (OSA), located within the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology, and the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office for maintaining an extensive and growing database of thousands of archaeological sites across the state, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or designated National Historic Landmarks.
“This remarkable archaeological record documents more than 12,000 years of Kentucky’s past, from Native American hunter-gatherers and farmers, to colonial European farmers and African slaves, to their more recent descendants who farmed, mined, and ran industries and businesses,” the proclamation reads.
“Our understanding of Kentucky’s indigenous history is still incomplete, many myths about it persist, and professional archaeologists working with the public are continuing to provide new insights into our collective past and greatly expand our knowledge about the cultural traditions of our ancestors,” said Gov. Beshear.
According to Dr. George Crothers, director of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and OSA, the proclamation affirms both the abundant quantity of archaeological resources and the important research these have yielded and have yet to yield about Kentuckians’ collective past.
“The prehistory and early history of Kentucky and the archaeological research that is conducted in the Commonwealth are on par with what others are doing around the world,” he said. “The declaration of Kentucky Archaeology Month significantly recognizes this work, and we hope its observance will encourage greater public awareness of the need to preserve these sites so that this tangible evidence of our ancestors can be studied and preserved for future generations.”
The gubernatorial proclamation was championed by the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists (KyOPA), which works to strengthen the identification of archaeology as a profession, encourage high standards in the training of archaeologists and support ethical behavior and responsible archaeological practice. For a calendar of Archaeology Month events, visit www.kyopa-org.org.
The designation of Kentucky Archaeology Month is a precursor to International Archaeology Day, which will be observed Saturday, Oct. 18.
During Living Archaeology Weekend, hundreds of preregistered school students will take part in demonstrations Friday, Sept. 19, including how to tan animal hides, weave baskets, make pottery, mill corn, throw spears with an atlatl, and flint knap (make spears and weapon points). The public is invited to attend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20. Admission is free.
LAW is presented by the U.S. Forest Service/Daniel Boone National Forest, KyOPA, and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, a partnership of the Kentucky Heritage Council and UK Department of Anthropology. For more, see www.livingarchaeologyweekend.org.
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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of archaeological resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens. This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, heritage tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life. www.heritage.ky.gov