What is Archaeology?
Archaeology is the scientific study of past peoples through the objects they have left behind. It is about exploring the patterns and processes of how people lived long ago. To do this, archaeologists use scientific methods and techniques, analyze objects, and look for patterns reflected in those objects. The artifacts left behind at the places where people once lived and the archaeological sites they created contain a record of the past.
Some Kentucky archaeologists study the diverse Native American peoples who lived here in ancient times, before European Americans and African Americans arrived. Others study groups who have lived in Kentucky since the late eighteenth century.
Whether investigating a 10,000-year-old Native American camp, a 2,000-year-old Native American cave glyph, a 500-year-old Native American village, historic-era farmsteads, Civil War battlefields, or a 100-year-old mining town, archaeologists are contributing to our understanding of the Commonwealth’s rich heritage.
Today, Kentucky archaeologists are investigating the many fascinating questions that still have not been answered about Kentucky’s past cultures. These individuals are sharing what they have learned and working to preserve and protect the fragile places where past peoples once lived.