The Kentucky State Project Archaeology Program began in June 1999. KAS and Indiana’s state Project Archaeology Program jointly sponsored facilitator training for three days at the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Jeffersonville, Indiana in June that year. Eight Kentucky educators and four Kentucky archaeologists attended. The Falls of the Ohio State Park and KAS hosted the training. KAS announced the beginning of the Kentucky State Project Archaeology Program in the October 1999 issue of Kentucky Teacher, a publication that goes out to every teacher and retired teacher in the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System.
Kentucky’s first Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Past workshop was held a few months later, in February 2000, at Wickliffe Mounds in Ballard County. Western Kentucky Educational Cooperative and Wickliffe Mounds Research Center (at that time a program of Murray State University, but now a state historic park) joined KAS in holding the workshop. Among the eleven participants were Kentucky public elementary, middle, and high school teachers; environmental educators from Mammoth Cave National Park; and a Murray State university professor.
Since that first workshop, the Kentucky State Project Archaeology Program has held 16 one- two- or two and a half-day Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Past workshops. Over 175 people have attended workshops held all across Kentucky. Counted among participants are public elementary, middle, and high school teachers; parochial school teachers; Montessori and other private school teachers; museum educators; university professors; and environmental educators. Workshop co-sponsors have been similarly diverse: state and federal agencies, museums, public schools, and universities.
In 2001 and in 2006, the Program trained additional facilitators. Facilitators currently number 13: six professional ancient Native American Era archaeologists, two professional Historic Era archaeologists, and five educators. Three Kentucky facilitators have been trained at the national Project Archaeology Summer Leadership Academy in Bozeman since 2014. Three KAS staff members are currently Project Archaeology curricula facilitators.
In the beginning, the Kentucky State Project Archaeology Program planned to offer three Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Past workshops annually – one each in the western, central, and eastern parts of the state. PD credit was available to workshop participants.
This plan changed after 2001, however, because of dwindling funding support and changing teachers’ workshop attendance habits. Beginning in 2002, the State Program offered one summer Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Past workshop each year (usually in late June). From 2002-2006, workshops were held in various venues. From 2009-2011, Riverside, The Farnsley-Moremen Landing sponsored Intrigue of the Past workshops in Louisville, and Riverside defrayed registration costs to participants. However, when approached by interested organizations, the State Program partnered with them to hold Project Archaeology Intrigue of the Past workshops.
With dwindling workshop registrations, from 2006 to 2008, the State Project Archaeology Program refocused its energies – from attempting to hold multiple workshops each year to getting the word out about the materials and educational opportunities and assessing the best Kentucky teacher venues for Program materials.
State Program facilitators held Intrigue teaser workshops/presentations at a variety of state teacher conferences. These included the Kentucky Council for the Social Studies, the Kentucky Science Teachers Association, the Kentucky Art Educators Association, the Kentucky Association of Environmental Educators, the Kentucky Library Association/Kentucky School Media Association, and the Kentucky Association of School Administrators.
After this work, the Program identified three organizations that were particularly interested in archaeology content: the Kentucky Council for the Social Studies, the Kentucky Association of Environmental Educators, and the Kentucky Library Association/Kentucky School Media Association.
From the Program’s beginning, KAS personnel had adapted Intrigue lessons for Kentucky. Initially, this was carried out in a piecemeal fashion. But in 2008, KAS made plans to programmatically develop Kentucky-focused content for Kentucky teachers and educators about Kentucky’s ancient Native American era archaeology and historic era archaeology, either by adapting Intrigue lessons, or developing entirely new ones.
Working with KET, in 2009, KAS explored the feasibility of making lessons and content materials about Kentucky archaeology – some of which were also linked to the State Project Archaeology Program – available for easier access through KET’s PBS LearningMedia platform. The result was two PBS LearningMedia learning objects developed to be used as educational extension for the Survey’s award-winning documentary Historic Archaeology: Beneath Kentucky’s Fields and Streets. These lessons include Historic Archaeology at Ashland: Artifacts in a Privy (for grades 6-12) and Historic Archaeology at Camp Nelson: Shedding Light on Undocumented Lives (grades 5-12).
Other noteworthy Program activities and events KAS was a part of in the 2000s are the following: