The LAW Press Kit distills information about the Living Archaeology Weekend program in one convenient location. It contains background information about LAW, fun facts, quotes from visitors and demonstrators, photos and video clips, logos, and team member bios.
The LAW Press Kit is available as a downloadable-hyperlinked pdf (4.8 MB), or individual components are accessible and downloadable below.
THEIR LEGACY. YOUR HERITAGE. OUR STORY.
At Living Archaeology Weekend, we challenge stereotypes about American Indians and Pioneer people through lifeways demonstrations based on real archaeological evidence. We explore the contributions our ancestors made to our lives today, and we honor their legacy by preserving their technologies for future generations.
Building bridges to the past through technology since 1989
Living Archaeology Weekend is an award-winning, immersive experience in Kentucky's famous Red River Gorge, home to many nationally significant archaeological sites and historic properties.
From flintknapping to pottery making, cooking to weaving, dancing to gaming, our event uses archaeological and other evidence to inform diverse demonstrations of the region's Native and Pioneer technologies and lifeways. By watching experts and trying hands-on activities, visitors of all ages learn about the area's rich cultural traditions and gain insights into past people's lives and experiences, and how they continue to influence us today.
This free event is held every year on the third weekend in September at the Gladie Visitor Center, and we are thrilled to celebrate our 35th anniversary in 2023. Friday is reserved for pre-registered school groups and Saturday is open to the public. Our wide range of supporting educational materials, including a new video series featuring LAW demonstrators, is available online to promote learning year-round.
Until 2007, the United States Forest Service sponsored the event with the help of state agencies and local organizations. Since 2007, LAW has been co-organized by the US Forest Service, the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists, and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey. A Steering Committee composed of members from these three organizations, and the Kentucky Heritage Council, plans the event and prepares the supporting educational resources.
annual event since 1989
developed by US Forest Service with help from Red River Historical Society and Kentucky Heritage Council
co-organized by three groups since 2007 – US Forest Service, Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists, and Kentucky Archaeological Survey
LAW Steering Committee plans event and prepares supporting educational resources
over 54,000 visitors hosted over 35 years
annual Friday attendance is 1,000 fifth-grade students plus 120 teachers and chaperones from 30-35 pre-registered schools and home school groups
target counties for school registration are Bath, Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Menifee, Morgan, Powell, Rowan, and Wolfe; also serving schools from Elliott, Fayette, Madison, Magoffin, Montgomery, and other counties as space allows
event is one of few opportunities for high-quality “outdoor classroom” experiences in eastern Kentucky, fostering knowledge of and pride in local heritage
annual Saturday attendance is 800-1,200 public visitors from across Kentucky; from adjacent states like Ohio and Tennessee; from other states like Georgia, North Carolina, and Illinois; and from Germany and other countries
Signature Site for National Public Lands Day
USFS Southern Region’s Interpreter and Conservation Educator of the Year Award (2007)
nominated for Society for American Archaeology’s Public Education Award (2008)
Preservation Kentucky’s Bingham Excellence in Preservation Education Award (2014)
Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation’s Service to Preservation Award (2015)
“Learning about the past is like walking down a beautiful road with knowledge trees.”
“Visitors compare the two experiences. The amazing experience of the Indians. Also the very meaningful experience of the Pioneers. Which one would you like better?”
“You should try to save history because it is fun for kids to learn about it.”
"There’s so much to discover at that wonderful place. How they made food, pottery, clothes, plants, and weapons. So you could really learn a lot of things.”
“If we destroy artifacts you won’t see how hard it was to live back then … no one will see the beauty of it.”
"You can see how hard they worked, how much they had to know to survive.”
“The people who lived before us are so interesting.”
“The presenters were phenomenal. They knew how to hold the audience attention. It was so very well organized! The group I was with was amazed!”
“My students see that if we don't preserve the region and the cultural resources found, that it would be difficult to understand the past culture there.”
“One student told me that the visit made what we were studying much more real because she could do and see these things herself.”
“Throughout our Native American unit we are constantly referring back to the field trip, discussing the artifacts that we saw and relating those artifacts to specific cultural regions in which the Native Americans adapted to each of their specific surrounding environments.”
“Many students talked about how intelligent the people from the past were. How today we take so much for granted based upon the things these people figured out the hard way."
"Had it not been for someone preserving information for us, how would we have known about the past. Students want their children to experience the same awe that they felt.”
“I was impressed with the entire event! This was my first year going, and I can't wait to return.”
from the PUBLIC
“Demonstrators allowed hands-on interaction – great for adults and kids.”
“Excellent, enjoyable, informative.”
“We are only here for a short time and it is important to preserve these ancient technologies for future generations.”
“These skills are fundamental to being human.”
"It is very important for our children to learn about our cultural heritage.”
"The needs of past cultures are very similar to our needs today.”
“People need to appreciate how tough things used to be and how easy they have it now.”
"This is a nice way of preserving history for our children to enjoy.”
“We must not forget our history. We are shaped by our pasts.”
"We are all from these people and we can learn so much from them.”
“Young people need to be told about the older ways of living. They led to the modern way of life.”
"LAW builds a stronger connection to my community.”
“Nowhere else will you find a program with the knowledge and quality of Living Archaeology Weekend.”
"LAW really isn't so much about me, but about getting people interested in history and archaeology enough so they will care about preserving it.”
“I hope that during their visit to LAW, people take away a feeling of responsibility to help protect archaeological sites that are endangered.”
"I really enjoy speaking to young people and bringing history alive for them. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and generating interesting discussions regarding the past.”
“I learn something new each time I participate in the program.”
PHOTOS AND VIDEO CLIPS
Pioneer Technology Demonstration Area
Darlene Applegate, 1.1 MB, pdf
Visitors Learn to
Darlene Applegate, 153 KB, pdf
Visitor Learns to Throw a
Spear with an Atlatl
Karen Stevens, 1.3 MB, pdf
School Children Use Pump Drills to Make Pendants
Darlene Applegate, 478 KB, pdf
Native Technology Demonstration Area
Karen Stevens, 2.1 MB, pdf
Dancing Demonstration by the Cherokee Nation
Karen Stevens, 8.7 MB, pdf
School Group Touring Historic Gladie Cabin
Darlene Applegate, 368 KB, pdf
Visitors Learn to Weave a Mat
Karen Stevens, 835 KB, pdf
Living Archaeology Weekend Event Overview
Kentucky Living | KET, 7:58 min
American Indian Textiles: Cultural Connections
LAW Steering Committee, 1:31 min
American Indian Textiles: Weaving a Slipper
LAW Steering Committee, 3:52 min
Pioneer Textiles: Demonstrators' Reflections
LAW Steering Committee, 2:43 min
THE LAW STEERING COMMITTEE
Since 2007, three groups have worked collaboratively to plan and deliver Living Archaeology Weekend: the United States Forest Service-Daniel Boone National Forest (USFS-DBNF), the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists (KyOPA), and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey (KAS). Representatives of these groups, as well as the Kentucky Heritage Council, comprise the LAW Steering Committee, which works year-round and meets monthly to plan the event and to create supporting educational materials.
US Forest Service – Daniel Boone National Forest
Matt Davidson is the District Archaeologist for the Cumberland District.
Megan Krietsch is the Heritage Program Manager and Tribal Relations Program Manager for the Forest.
Ann Wilkinson is the Red River Gorge Archaeology Technician for the Cumberland District.
Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists
Darlene Applegate is Chair of the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology at Western Kentucky University.
Christina Pappas is Archaeologist/State Cultural Resource Specialist for the Kentucky office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Christy Pritchard is Operations Manager/ Cultural Heritage Program Manager for Environmental Research Group.
Kentucky Archaeological Survey
Gwynn Henderson is the Education Director for the Survey.
Kentucky Heritage Council
Tressa Brown is Historic Preservation Coordinator at KHC.
Karen Stevens is Historic Preservation Database Coordinator at KHC.