Digging Kentucky

Mar 18, 2013

There’s still a lot of ground to cover when it comes to archaeology in Kentucky.  Kentucky Heritage Council Archaeologist Nick Laracuente  says Kentucky excavations have been going on since the 1930’s.  But, he says only five to ten percent of Kentucky has undergone archaeological study.  Laracuente cites the distillery business as just one example.  “There were thousands across Kentucky and we have, what, 30 operating today, but remains of many, many more that could tells us a lot about what’s going on in that industry in the past.

  That’s just an example, if you can imagine it, if it’s in a history book there’s probably some material remains left of it that archaeologists can look at,” said Laracuente. Certain tools are always going to come in handy when digging for artifacts.  But, knowing where to dig in the future may rely more and more on technology.  Laracuente  says scouring the landscape takes on a whole new meaning today. “Things like laser mapping have become big lately where you can fly a plane or something over a field map down to a quarter of an inch the surface of the land.  You can see things like earthworks and what not,” added Laracuente. Archaeologists from across Kentucky gathered in Lexington over the weekend for the Kentucky Heritage Council’s 30th annual conference.  Laracuente says his profession is interested in getting more involved in social media and helping to facilitate voluntary digs across the state.