Native American Data to be Computerized

Contact: Ralph Derickson

Photo of Archaic Period projectile points from the Indian Knoll site, Ohio County, Ky.
Archaic Period projectile points from the Indian Knoll site, Ohio County, Ky.

Photo of reconstructed Adena Plain vessel from the Morgan Stone Mound site in Bath County, Ky.
Reconstructed Adena Plain vessel from the Morgan Stone Mound site in Bath County, Ky.

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More than 54,000 artifacts from the Green River sites and 16,000 artifacts from the Adena sites were described in a series of 20 reports. These materials, which form the core of the Webb Museum’s collection, are nationally recognized for their archaeological significance, said Crothers.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2004) -- A new $96,314 grant will allow the University of Kentucky’s William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology to computerize a card-based catalog of 60,000-artifacts related to Kentucky’s Native American societies.

The Webb Museum is a part of the UK Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Museum director George M. Crothers said the first material should be available online by March 2006 with the project scheduled for completion in October 2006. The two-year grant, titled “Museum Collections for the Public: Facilitating Lifelong Learning in Kentucky,” is from the Institute of Museum and Library Service.

“The work will involve an inventory and re-housing of the museum’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) collection. In addition, an interactive database and two companion booklets, one on the Green River Archaic and one on Adena/Woodland Native American sites, will be produced,” Crothers said. The booklets, Crothers continued, will be for a general audience and will summarize the archaeological significance of the material.

Archaeological crews, working in WPA-sponsored projects under the direction of the museum’s namesake, William S. Webb, conducted archaeology at an unprecedented scale in Kentucky during the Great Depression.

From the 1920s until his retirement in 1957, Webb concentrated the Kentucky work on the Green River Archaic Shell Mounds (dating from circa 3,000 to 5,000 years ago) in west-central Kentucky and the Adena Mound sites (circa 1,800 to 2,500 years ago) in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky.

More than 54,000 artifacts from the Green River sites and 16,000 artifacts from the Adena sites were described in a series of 20 reports. These materials, which form the core of the Webb Museum’s collection, are nationally recognized for their archaeological significance, said Crothers.

Crothers and David Pollack, director of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, will share overall responsibility for the project. Combined, they have more than 40 years of archaeological experience in Kentucky; Crothers’ major research area is the Green River Archaic.

Crothers will take the lead on all museum-related aspects of the project and will help prepare and edit the Green River Archaic booklet and companion guide with the primary authors. Pollack will coordinate the educational activities associated with the project and will help prepare and edit the Adena Mound booklet and Web database companion guide with the authors.

“We propose to computerize the paper-based catalogue to allow material to be sorted by multiple variables, such as site, excavation unit, depth below surface, and artifact type, just to mention a few,” Crothers added.

“This will greatly enhance the exploratory data capability of the catalog as an aid for designing new research and for teaching scientific classification methods in archaeological research,” he added.

For more information about the Webb Museum, go to the Web Site.


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