Kentucky Heritage Council
The Prehistoric Farmers of Boone County, Kentucky, now available for purchase
Kentucky Archaeological Survey’s newest publication now available
The Prehistoric Farmers of Boone County, Kentucky, is 8th volume in educational series
Release Date Contact: Diane Comer
IMMEDIATE 502-564-7005, ext. 120
December 8, 2006 email@example.com
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Long before Europeans arrived in the New World and Daniel Boone blazed a path through the Cumberland Gap, Kentucky was home to many indigenous cultures, including hunter-gatherer-farmers who settled in Boone County beginning around A.D. 1000. A new booklet about this culture with information gleaned from extensive research and archaeological investigations has recently been published by the Kentucky Archaeological Survey (KAS), a joint program of the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office and the University of Kentucky Department Of Anthropology.
The Prehistoric Farmers of Boone County, Kentucky, the eighth volume in the KAS Education Series, is authored by Dr. A. Gwynn Henderson, KAS education coordinator and editor of the series. Information for the publication came from Dr. Henderson’s extensive knowledge of Kentucky’s prehistoric farming peoples and from findings during archaeological investigations of a prehistoric village in Petersburg in 2004, uncovered during construction of a basement.
At 48 pages and printed in full color, the booklet is the longest and most ambitious volume in the series. In it, Dr. Henderson relates the history of prehistoric inhabitants of the Petersburg region, focusing on the 700-year history of the hunter-gatherer-farmers whom archaeologists call the “Fort Ancient” people. She describes evidence of their houses, the layout of their villages, food production, diet and health, diseases, technology, social and political organization, what they traded, burial customs and religious beliefs.
Ancestors of the Fort Ancient people arrived in Boone County more than 14,000 years ago. Archaeological studies have shown that through the centuries many cultures of native people descended from these earliest settlers, including Paleoindians, the first prehistoric hunter-gatherers in the region; the Archaic people, who flourished in Boone County for 7,000 years; and the Woodland people, who were less nomadic than their Archaic ancestors and tended small gardens near their base camps. Their descendents, the Fort Ancient people, thrived along the Ohio River until the early 18th century.
“This research proves that we’ve been wrong for decades about this culture, and now we have proof of this booming Fort Ancient community and know a great deal about the folks who lived there,” said Matt Becher, rural/open space planner for the Boone County Planning Commission. “What was most surprising was finding that Petersburg was on par with some of the other more well-known communities in the region. It was not just a backwater place but a sophisticated society with a well-developed domestic and religious culture.”
Dr. Henderson wrote the booklet at the request of the Boone County Historic Preservation Review Board, who received a federal grant through the Certified Local Government program of the Kentucky Heritage Council to support its preparation. The Kentucky Archaeological Survey also received funding from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for its printing. Schools and libraries throughout Northern Kentucky have received copies of the publication, and according to Becher, the Boone County Public Library is planning an exhibit about this new research.
The purpose of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey’s Education Series is to make information about the results of prehistoric and historic archaeological research carried out in Kentucky more widely available to Kentucky’s citizens. The series was initiated 10 years ago with the publication of a booklet about prehistoric farmers in western Kentucky. Other titles in the series include Hunters and Gatherers of the Green River Valley, authored by Dr. Henderson and Rich Burdin and published in 2006. Proceeds from sales go back into the series to support reprints and updates.
The Prehistoric Farmers of Boone County, Kentucky is available for $7 through the Kentucky Archaeological Survey by calling 859-257-5173 or through its Web site, www.heritage.ky.gov/kas.htm.
KAS publications are just one of the many ways the program achieves its mission to educate the public about Kentucky’s rich archaeological heritage. Other initiatives include sponsorship of Project Archaeology programs and training, a national archaeological curriculum for teachers; involving students and the public in archaeological excavations; preparing lessons and curriculum units for Kentucky schools; and classroom visits and public presentations. For more information, contact Dr. Henderson at the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, 859-257-1944.
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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. www.heritage.ky.gov