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Rear yard of Main house and detached kitchen.

Riverside – The Farnsley-Moremen Landing

Site ID: 15Jf531

Plantation; Slave House
Voyageur Media Group
Unless specified, we cannot provide site location information.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Riverside – The Farnsley-Moremen Landing is an historic site along the Ohio River about 13 miles from Louisville in Jefferson County. Open to the public, the site features a restored nineteenth-century farmhouse and detached kitchen, gardens, a visitor’s center, and numerous special events and educational programs.

Archaeology has played an instrumental role in the restoration of the site's 1837 main house and a detached kitchen. Since 1989, archaeologists with the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey have conducted excavations throughout the grounds, focused on outbuildings. 

Excavation of a nineteenth-century slave or tenant house at Riverside.


Archaeological research at Riverside has focused on the numerous outbuildings that once surrounded the main house - in particular, the buildings where the enslaved lived and worked.  Artifacts from these buildings have shed some light on the “hidden” lives of the enslaved during the Antebellum period. Identification and interpretation of the Riverside outbuildings have been an important part of telling the story of the people who lived and worked at Riverside during the nineteenth century.  

Archaeologists sometimes find objects believed to be associated with the personal and spiritual lives of the enslaved at plantation sites throughout the southeastern United States.  These artifacts include X-marked objects, pierced coins, blue beads, crystals, artifact caches, and animal sacrifices.  X-marked artifacts are thought to represent an ancient spiritual symbol from West Africa - the Bakongo cosmogram. 

Pewter spoon handle marked with an “X” (ca 1850) recovered from the detached kitchen at Riverside.

What's Cool?

Authentic Reconstruction

​Oral history and written records provided no descriptions of Riverside's detached kitchen as it looked in the 1840s during Gabriel Farnsley’s time​.  Thus, archaeological research furnished the information critical to interpreting​ the building's size and identifying what it was built from, what kind of roof and floor it had, and where the windows and doors were located​.  

Based on the types and sizes of nails, researchers determined that the kitchen was a wood, timber-framed building with wood siding, shake roof, and flooring.  Window glass fragments - found in two main concentrations - signaled where windows had likely been located.  Door hardware, such as a doorknob and lock assembly, was found in an area where the door had likely been.

T​​​he use of archaeological data and the attention to detail in the building's  reconstruction make the Riverside detached kitchen one of most authentic reconstructions of its kind.  Furthermore, the project's focus on public participation, programming and education made the research and reconstruction of this building an interactive experience.  Since the building is a functional kitchen, nineteenth-century cooking demonstrations take place there, continuing the educational focus at Riverside.

Riverside's reconstructed detached kitchen.

Related Materials

Students participate in public archaeology programs at Riverside.

​​Riverside's excellent website (Riverside – The Farnsley-Moremen Landing website) provides detailed information about the site's archaeology programs, history, visitor's center, and special events. 

Other information about Riverside can be found on the Kentucky Archaeological Survey's website (Riverside the Kentucky Archaeological Survey website​) and in a segment of a video on KET (Historic Archaeology Beneath Kentucky's Fields and Streams).​

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