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Kentucky Heritage Council
KET to air new video on historic archaeology over several nights beginning Monday

Press Release Date:  Friday, January 29, 2010  
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

FRANKFORT, Ky. – A new documentary, Historic Archaeology: Beneath Kentucky’s Fields and Streets, will air on KET (Kentucky Educational Television) over several nights beginning at 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1.  The documentary is the third volume in the Kentucky Archaeology Video Series and a partnership of the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office, Kentucky Archaeological Survey, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  The video was produced by Voyageur Media Group, Inc., of Cincinnati, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of public media about science, history, art and culture.

The one-hour documentary explores new archaeological investigations at sites across the state and examines the lives of farmers, slaves, soldiers, laborers, Euro-American settlers and other immigrants during the historic era of Kentucky spanning the 1770s to 1910s.  Interviews with archaeologists are combined with archival images, artifacts, and 3-D animation for a fascinating look into the lives of ordinary people.

Note to media: A screening for invited guests will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4 in the KYTC Conference Center Auditorium, 200 Mero Street, Frankfort.  Speakers will be Marcheta Sparrow, Secretary, Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet; Mike Hancock, Acting Secretary, KYTC; Jose Sepulveda, Kentucky Division Administrator, FHWA; and Tom Law, Producer, Voyageur Media Group.

"While many people are familiar with how archaeology has greatly expanded our knowledge of Kentucky’s prehistory, this video demonstrates how archaeology can also shed new light on aspects of our more recent past, and it showcases the potential of all that may yet be learned from historic archaeological resources across the state," said Mark Dennen, Kentucky Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer.

"Preservation of our cultural and historic heritage is an important part of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s highway construction process," said Acting Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock.  "We are extremely proud of this successful partnership which not only has resulted in this high-quality educational documentary but has also served to identify creative mitigation techniques that allow us to move projects forward."

Upcoming KET air dates for the video (all Eastern Standard Time) are:

9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1
5 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2
8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5
2 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6
3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7
10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13
6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20
KET2: 10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17
KET1: 4 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20

Historic Archaeology: Beneath Kentucky’s Fields and Streets is presented in four segments based on the archaeological periods of Frontier, 1770s to 1820s; Antebellum, 1820s to 1860s; Civil War, 1861-65; and Industrialization, 1860s through 1910s.  Each segment features key scientific discoveries made by some of the state’s top archaeologists over the past decade.

In the video, archaeologists working in the Frontier period describe the role of archival research in efforts to locate hundreds of frontier forts in the Inner Bluegrass region.  Fort Boonesborough, Mammoth Cave and the Arnold Farmstead are featured.

From the Antebellum period, viewers learn about the discovery of a ceramics-filled privy at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate in Lexington, as well as reconstruction of a slave cabin at Farmington Historic Plantation in Louisville, and how x-marked objects are providing insights into slave culture at Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing along the Ohio River in southwest Jefferson County.  Also, physical anthropologists report surprising conclusions from the accidental discovery of a pauper’s graveyard in downtown Frankfort, and Shaker Village is highlighted.
Archaeologists exploring the Civil War period show how field surveys may be used to compare historic plans of camp fortifications to actual evidence in the ground.  Investigations include Camp Wildcat and the Battle of Richmond, and work at the refugee encampment site in Camp Nelson confirms the location of a Civil War tragedy.

For the Industrialization period, archaeologists focus on the lives of immigrant families at Portland Wharf Park in Louisville.  Once a major steamboat port, Portland Wharf vanished due to floods, the expansion of the Louisville-Portland canal and construction of a floodwall. Today, archaeology is being used to preserve the park and reconnect the community of Portland with its past.  Also featured are the U.S. Marine Hospital, the Old State Capitol in Frankfort and the Covington Riverfront.

For more about the video see, or visit the new Kentucky Archaeology video companion Web site at, where scholars and archaeological professionals can post information about their work and teachers can access teaching tools and educational resources.
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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 prehistoric 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, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.


Last Updated 1/29/2010