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Kentucky Project Archaeology History

Kentucky Project Archaeology began in the Summer of 1999. That’s when we jointly held facilitator training (with Indiana's program) at the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Twelve Kentucky people (eight educators and four archaeologists) underwent three days of facilitator training in June, hosted by the Falls of the Ohio State Park and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey.

In 1999, we announced our program to Kentucky's teachers in the October Issue of Kentucky Teacher, a publication that goes out to every teacher and retired teacher in the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System.

We held our first Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Past workshop a few months later, in February 2000, at Wickliffe Mounds in Ballard County. Western Kentucky Educational Cooperative and Wickliffe Mounds Research Center (at that time a program of Murray State University, but now a state historic park) joined KAS in holding the workshop. Among the eleven participants were Kentucky public elementary, middle, and high school teachers; environmental educators from Mammoth Cave National Park; and a Murray State university professor.

Since that first workshop, we have held 12 two- or two and a half-day Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Past workshops.

Over 175 people have attended Kentucky Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Pastworkshops since our program began in 2000. Counted among past participants are public elementary, middle, and high school teachers; parochial school teachers; Montessori and other private school teachers; museum educators; university professors; and environmental educators.

Over the years, workshop co-sponsors also have been diverse and have included state and federal agencies, museums, public schools, and universities.

In 2001 and in 2006, we trained additional facilitators. Our active facilitators currently number 13: three professional prehistoric archaeologists, two professional historic archaeologists, and eight educators.

Our initial plans called for us to offer three Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Past workshops each year, one each in the western, central, and eastern parts of the state. However, due to dwindling support funding and changing teachers’ workshop attendance habits, over the years, we have reduced the number of workshops we offer.

We currently offer one summer (usually in late June) Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Past workshop in Louisville at Riverside, The Farnsley-Moremen Landing. However, on request, we will work with interested organizations to plan and carry out a Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Past workshop anywhere in the state. Contact the State Coordinator for more information.

After 2002, the number of people attending our workshops dwindled, so Kentucky Project Archaeology facilitators and program coordinators began to focus their energies on getting the word out. For a three-year period (from 2006 to 2008), Kentucky Project Archaeology made a commitment to hold Intrigue teaser workshops/presentations at a variety of state teacher conferences, such as the Kentucky Council for the Social Studies, Kentucky Science Teachers Association, Kentucky Art Educators Association, and Kentucky Environmental Educators Association.

From the beginning, Kentucky Project Archaeology program personnel have adapted Intrigue lessons to Kentucky content, but in a piecemeal fashion. In 2008, they made plans to programmatically develop Kentucky-focused content for Kentucky teachers and educators to reflect what we know about Kentucky prehistoric and historic archaeology, either by adapting Intrigue lessons, or developing entirely new ones.

Examples of “Kentuckyized” adaptations of Intrigue lessons we've already prepared include ones that consider ethics and preservation (Loving the Gorge to Death), archaeology concepts (Experimental Archaeology Making Cordage), links between the environment and historic archaeology, and distinctively Kentucky kinds of sites (caves) and indigenous art (Prehistoric Kentucky Cave Art).

We have prepared booklets about selected topics in Kentucky prehistory and history, and companion guides for teachers for the video programs in the Kentucky Archaeology Video Series. These guides consist of eight classroom-tested, cross-curricular activities. Grade level varies from middle school to high school, depending on the video's subject matter.​