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EKU archaeology students working to find artifacts in Daniel Boone National Forest

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 5:14 PM EDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - For several years, rock shelters within the Daniel Boone National Forest have been illegally looted by people looking for valuable artifacts.

But in many cases history of the first indigenous people remains, which is why forestry officials have teamed up with archaeologists from EKU to excavate and research these areas so they can learn more about these shelters’ historical significance.

“In 2016 the shelter that we excavated, we were finding pit features dating back 9,000 years. Some of them had the ancestors of the first plants Native Americans domesticated in the Ohio River Valley,” said Dr. Jon Endonino, associate professor of anthropology at EKU.

While these students have only been here a few weeks, they have already found several artifacts and even traces of the people who used to first inhabit this area.

“The really cool thing here is this oven. We have this different color of soil and sediment and stuff that also has big lumps of charcoal in it and then we have three or four flat rocks looking Intentionally stacked on each other that they probably would have used for preparing food etc.,” EKU student Jessie Rice said.

And students say it’s not only exciting getting real world experience, but also uncovering the history of the first inhabitants in these regions.

“Here I am sitting in a hole with something that can literally be scientifically dated, and it’s amazing that we’re finding all of this stuff even though the sad thing is it’s already been thoroughly gone through, but we’re still finding so much,” Rice said.

Dr. Endonino says their findings so far at their site is believed to be from the Woodland Period, which occurred sometime around 200 A.D. to 1,000 A.D.

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