Meeting the Challenge of Public Archaeology

Who knew that the meeting Kary and I would have with the folks at the Capitol City Museum in downtown Frankfort, Kentucky on Day of Archaeology 2012 would be such a pregnant one! and actually, as our picture shows, Kary IS pregnant…


Kary Stackelbeck and Gwynn Henderson just before we left for our incredible Day of Archaeology 2012 meeting

Our meeting was about planning an education project for school students to be held on National Archaeology Day in October at the site of an historic dairy atop Fort Hill in Frankfort. But by the time our meeting was over, 2.5 hours later, all of us in attendance (Kary, me, John, and Mike) had laid the foundation for a much longer-term project. It included a survey for all prehistoric and historic sites on the city park; and the development of a long-term research, education, interpretation, and management program for the sites.

For 2012, there will be visits to the local schools with artifacts already recovered from historic sites on the park to show students tangible remains of their local history; and tours will be held at the park, to engage the public and to kick-off the project.

WOO HOO!!!! This is what public archaeology is all about!! Archaeolgists and community members collaborating for the benefit of everyone and for the resource, too.

It just goes to show you, that in ANY aspect of archaeology, in the field or out of it, you don’t always know what you’ll find, and you need to be prepared for anything!!!

Hope everyone’s Day of Archaeology 2012 was as productive as Kary’s and mine!


One thought on “Meeting the Challenge of Public Archaeology

  1. Scott Clark says:

    I run a relatively popular metal detecting blog in KY and am pretty well known in these circles. I have been enjoying the hobby responsibly since the 1990s and hunt on private land pretty much every weekend. I never sell items and enjoy sharing and researching my finds.

    I believe that some state-owned sites should be off limits to detectorists. Some should be open to certified/permitted users and the rest open to general detecting. Since artifacts are being found on state-owned property, the public should be able to enjoy the finds stories of these finds, either through a central collective or a long-term loan approach. I think that a public-access online gallery (not University controlled) should be made available, as well as physical collections available for loan to schools. Detector users should have the ability to become “legendary” for their efforts in preserving finds (patriotic motivation to not “dig and dash.”)

    I also have frustrations that current laws are heavy-handed and result in a net loss of historical information (to development, human activity and ravages of time.) Many sites currently off limits have a well-established historical context and will never be excavated because of their lower priority – so thousands of remaining artifacts are lost. I can tell you first hand that even 50-75 years can make a huge difference in the usefulness of a copper or bronze item for education. These items dissolve in soil. Could we amateurs fill a void by rescuing these items? Where could we collaborate?

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