Kentucky Heritage Council
24th Annual Kentucky Heritage Council Archaeology Conference
Kentucky Heritage Council
24th Annual KY Heritage Council Archaeology Conference
convenes this weekend at Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Release Date Contact: Diane Comer
IMMEDIATE 502-564-7005, ext. 120
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 email@example.com
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Research about the Woodland Period in Kentucky (1000 B.C. to A.D. 1000) utilizing archives from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) era of the 1930s and ‘40s will be among the topics presented at the 24th Annual Kentucky Heritage Council Archaeology Conference this weekend, March 2-4, at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Slade. The conference is co-sponsored by the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, a joint program of the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office and the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology; the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology at UK; and the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists.
In conjunction with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the William S. Webb Museum, which is being used to create a digital catalog of the museum’s WPA collections, research papers on the Woodland Period were solicited in context of the WPA to encourage use of the archives to address new research questions and build upon excavations dating to this era. The grant will also be used to prepare and publish a public-oriented booklet highlighting results of Early and Middle Woodland Period research in Kentucky, The Adena People: Woodland Period Moundbuilders of the Bluegrass Region, and to create lesson plans that utilize the museum’s collection of Woodland artifacts and documents.
“Using WPA resources as a starting point not only gives us an opportunity to explore many things we have learned about the Woodland culture since then, but it also is a way of drawing on this body of research to present new ideas, new concepts and new ways of looking at old data,” said Dr. David Pollack, Heritage Council interim executive director and state historic preservation officer. “This is another reason why museum collections are so important. When people ask questions about the past, the historical documentation is there, and if we don’t keep and maintain this information this history is lost to future generations.”
On Friday, conference participants will go on a hiking tour of the Red River Gorge area of Daniel Boone National Park. In 2004 the region was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of rich cultural resources that range from hundreds of prehistoric archaeological sites to historic sites and buildings. Habitation of the gorge dates back more than 11,000 years with evidence encompassing some of the earliest farmers in the region, Woodland Period settlements, saltpeter miners who contributed gunpowder to the War of 1812, moonshiners who took advantage of the gorge’s isolation to make their product, and Depression-era laborers involved in civil works projects.
On Saturday, presentations will focus on the Woodland Period research, with the remaining sessions addressing other archaeological issues and current research being undertaken in Kentucky.
The Woodland Period is marked by the introduction of pottery and a greater investment in food production. Woodland gardeners grew a variety of plants that produced edible greens, and most important, seeds that are high in starch, protein and oils. Among the plants they grew were sunflower and what we consider today to be weedy annuals, such as goosefoot and maygrass. Woodland peoples also hunted a variety of animals, collected wild plants and tended to build bigger houses and live in larger communities than their predecessors. Throughout the state, Woodland religious and ceremonial life is reflected in large, circular earthen enclosures and mounds, remainders of religious ceremonies and burial mounds constructed over several decades.
The Works Progress Administration was the largest agency of the New Deal domestic policy program implemented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 through 1943, designed to pull the United States out of the Depression by creating jobs through direct government funding. The program was manifested in capital improvement projects such as schools, courthouses, bridges, dams, roads and parks built in partnership with various New Deal agencies – including the WPA, Civilian Conservation Corps, Civil Works Administration, Federal Emergency Relief Administration, National Youth Administration, Public Works Administration and Tennessee Valley Authority.
The Kentucky Archaeology Conference is open to anyone interested in Kentucky history. Registration is $20. For information, contact Yvonne Sherrick at the Kentucky Heritage Council, 502-564-7005, ext. 112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Kentucky Archaeological Survey and Kentucky’s prehistoric cultures, see the Heritage Council Web site, www.heritage.ky.gov.
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An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of historic 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.