SAA Statement in Support of Kentucky Archaeology (2019)

Mar 12, 2019

The Society for American Archaeology is disheartened by the termination of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey (KAS), the Program for Archaeological Research, and their entire staffs as part of a reorganization of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky, effective May 29, 2019. The elimination of a leader in public archaeology and one of the department’s strongest programs is a setback in the museum’s mission to disseminate anthropological knowledge. We encourage the University of Kentucky to reconsider this decision.

In its 20-year history, KAS education, outreach, advocacy, and training efforts have made a large positive impact on the archaeological community. Many of our Kentucky colleagues developed their professional skills through the unique opportunities provided by KAS projects. They brought hands-on learning to students through local school visits, curricula development, and educator partnerships. KAS provided dedicated service to the people of Kentucky by collaborating with state agencies to manage cultural resources and to share research results with the public.

In 2018, SAA honored KAS and the Davis Bottom History Preservation Project with its Award for Excellence in Public Education. Their extraordinary contributions to documenting the archaeology of an entire working-class neighborhood included historic preservation, conservation archaeology, cultural resource management, and a broad outreach strategy including curriculum development. They produced an outstanding body of work on Davis Bottom, including curriculum directed towards “Project Archaeology: Investigating a Kentucky Shotgun House.”

SAA recognizes the work and long-term service to the discipline by KAS and their contributions to the field of public archaeology. Their work and dedication to advocacy and education is an admirable model for all archaeologists and organizations to follow. We support our colleagues in the Kentucky Archaeological Survey and appreciate the influence that they have had on our discipline.

Susan Chandler, RPA
President, Society for American Archaeology

The Society for American Archaeology is an international organization dedicated to the research, interpretation, and protection of the archaeological heritage of the Americas. With more than 7,200 members, the Society represents professional, student, and avocational archaeologists working in a variety of settings, including government agencies, colleges and universities, museums, and the private sector.