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Mid-19th Century Foundations Exhibited
at Henry Clay Estate Excavations Open House

By Ralph Derickson

Molly Duncan, an Anderson County high school student, clears the dirt away from a mid-19th century sidewalk at an archaeological excavation site at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, in Lexington.

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Holsinger said the archaeological excavations at Ashland are further proof of the continually improving "town/gown" relationships between UK and public entities such as the city of Lexington and the Henry Clay Foundation which manages Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate.

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Oct. 7, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Mid-19th century barn piers, a sidewalk, a cellar foundation and artifacts from archaeological digs at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, were exhibited today during an excavation "open house" at the estate.

Included in the artifacts shown during the open house was a piece of china table setting probably used by John Bowman, a former resident of Ashland who was the founder of the school which eventually became the University of Kentucky.

James Holsinger, senior UK vice president and chancellor of the Chandler Medical Center, told visitors to the open house that early students of the Kentucky Agricultural and Mechanical College were housed in dormitories at Ashland.

Holsinger said the archaeological excavations at Ashland are further proof of the continually improving "town/gown" relationships between UK and public entities such as the city of Lexington and the Henry Clay Foundation which manages Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate.

Among those participating in the open house activities and the actual explorations at Ashland today were about 100 students from the Anderson County High School and an anthropology class from Pikeville College.
More than 3,000 students have participated in the explorations at Ashland since a joint excavation project began there three years ago.

Kelly Hall, Ashland Estates director, and Kim McBride, UK adjunct assistant anthropology professor and co-director of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, said the students participate in the excavations with professional supervision and help clean and wash artifacts such as the china which was found in a privy on the estate.

The archaeological project has received joint funding of $257,700 from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Keeneland Foundation, the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation and in-kind support from the University of Kentucky.

The Kentucky Archaeological Survey is a joint undertaking of the UK anthropology department and the Kentucky Heritage Council. Its primary mission at Ashland is to research plantation layout and 19th century cultural material at the Henry Clay Estate, located just east of downtown Lexington on Richmond Road.

Also speaking at Monday's event was David Morgan, director of the Kentucky Heritage Council and the state historic preservation officer. Morgan said, "This partnership between state government, the University of Kentucky and a historic house museum, is especially exciting because it provides educational opportunities for students while enhancing our understanding of life at Ashland."

For more information about Ashland, click here.

For information about UK's anthropology department, click here.

For information about the Kentucky Heritage Council, click here.


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