March 31 – April 4 2008 Archaeological Survey of Blue Licks Battlefield
Battlefield Archaeology in the Bluegrass
A group of archaeologists and historians are attempting to shed new light on one of Kentucky’s most famous battlefields. Fought in the summer of 1782, Blue Licks was the last battle of the American Revolution. In what is today northeastern Kentucky, a group of Native Americans and their British allies defeated a group of American colonists. Among the legendary figures that fought at the battle were Daniel Boone, who lost his son in the battle, and Levi Todd, the grandfather of Mary Todd Lincoln. Today, the battlefield is part of the Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park in Robertson County, Kentucky.
The battlefield is about to receive first class treatment thanks to a groundbreaking cooperative venture between state agencies, a public university and private volunteers. Led by Dr. Adrian Mandzy, Associate Professor of History at Morehead State University, local university students will join members of the Battlefield Restoration and Archaeological Volunteer Organization, otherwise known as BRAVO to conduct a survey of the battlefield from 31 March to 4 April 2008. Many may be familiar with the work of Dan Sivilich, military archaeologist and President of BRAVO, and the team members as they have been featured on the Discovery and History channels excavating other Revolutionary War battlefields. The students hope to gain valuable field knowledge from their more experienced counterparts. The joint team felt that the battle fought at Blue Licks needed a close examination, and the Kentucky Department of Parks agreed. The team hopes to use many of the newest battlefield technologies to recover and record possible musket balls, uniform buttons and other artifacts relating to the battle.
Dr. Mandzy feels that there is a good chance that some artifacts from the Revolutionary War will be recovered and he is happy that his students get to work with the more experienced BRAVO personnel. The work the archaeologist will be doing will be open for public viewing and interested persons are invited to visit the park and observe while the surveying and digging is being conducted. Not only will you get a chance to see how modern archaeology is performed on an actual battlefield, but you just might be a part of history. This project was made possible through the generous support of the Kentucky Humanities Council, the Robertson County Tourism Commission, and Morehead State University. State Parks is hoping the survey and dig will help map out and define the parameters of the battlefield as well as give the museum at Blue Licks artifacts to display from the battle. The final report will also be used by the park to help manage the historic resources there and as justification to hopefully get the battlefield on the National Register of Historic Places.
Note: it is illegal to remove artifacts from this historic site without proper authorization. For more information about the project, please contact: Paul Tierney, Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, (859) 289 5507.
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park is located on highway US 68 in Robertson County between Paris and Maysville. The lodge at the park has “Hidden Waters Restaurant” and a gift shop. The park also has a museum, campground, mini golf, pool and playground facilities, hiking trails and a boat ramp on the Licking River.