Technology and Archaeology

Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of archaeological investigation. Not only can it provide us with an aerial perspective, but also allows us to locate archaeological features without digging, thus saving time, money, and precious cultural resources. Luckily for us, through the power of the technologies available such as aerial imagery either from aircraft or drones, geophysical survey, and geospatial analysis, among others, we … Continue reading Technology and Archaeology


We all know our world is increasingly interconnected. Basic items such as bread and milk can come from a couple states over, our clothing from the country north or south of ours, and even something as simple as a hammer sitting under your sink is manufactured in a country an ocean and several thousand miles away. Truly though, this type and scale of trading material … Continue reading WHY IS ARCHAEOLOGY IMPORTANT?


As time goes by some things that were difficult to recognize, to see, to comprehend, become visible and understandable.  The past requires us to look backwards.  Archaeologists in particular spend a lot of time looking backwards.  When I reflect on my career path and look back from the beginning until now, some important things come into relief.  My aim with this blog for “30 Days … Continue reading Perspective.

Archaeology and Documentary Art at Davis Bottom

Why Documentary Art? Documentary art is created to represent lifestyles or events of the past, provoke lively discussions, and generate questions. Teaching Through Documentary Art: Lessons for Elementary and Middle School Social Studies Teachers ( is an on-line resource of innovative lessons linked to documentary art: two murals featured in the award-winning documentary Davis Bottom, Rare History, Valuable Lives. Developed with Kentucky teachers in mind, … Continue reading Archaeology and Documentary Art at Davis Bottom

Whiskey, Archaeology, and Things That Will Never Be Excavated

Ivor Noel Hume once found 47 wine bottles filled with cherries during an excavation of a tavern at Colonial Williamsburg. While it is fun to think about, I’m fairly sure that I will never find a jug of whiskey on an early Kentucky farm distillery (sealed “dusties” from industrial distilleries are a different story). At the Jouett / Buck distillery (beginning around 1790), Jack was … Continue reading Whiskey, Archaeology, and Things That Will Never Be Excavated

History and Archaeology

I am a historian first and foremost. I spend my time in libraries and archives; I read through deed books and city directories; I survey buildings and structures (and yes there is a difference). But, I also have experience in the field as an archaeologist, albeit somewhat minimal. There is no need for me to outline the countless differences between the methodologies of these disciplines … Continue reading History and Archaeology

Appalachian Stereotypes and the Case of Cosmopolitan Coal Camps

Stereotypes about Appalachia, the largely mountainous region stretching 420 counties from New York to Mississippi, have abounded in the media for the past 150 years. Appalachia has been portrayed as a totally rural, homogenous region: a backwards, backwoods colony of poor white hillbillies lagging behind the rest of America in terms of moral, material, and social development. In truth, Appalachia is a diverse region, and … Continue reading Appalachian Stereotypes and the Case of Cosmopolitan Coal Camps

Iron Furnaces of Kentucky

Did you know during the 18th and early 19th century Kentucky was the 3rd largest producer of iron in the country? The first iron making operation in Kentucky began in 1791 with Bourbon Iron Works – before Kentucky was a state! Fig. 1. Rare photograph of a 19th century iron furnace in operation, probably from eastern Kentucky.  Photo undated, on file, Cumberland District Office, Daniel … Continue reading Iron Furnaces of Kentucky