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 The Pioneer Times   January - March 2008

Braintaining Class at Fort Boonesborough March 13-16, 2008

Instructor Jim Green

Michelle DeEsch

“Never again will I question the price of an item for sale that is made out of braintan,” said Michelle DeEsch to instructor Jim Green. “This is incredibly hard wark.” And few even looked up from the task at hand as we stopped by the fort to take a few photos. The weather was damp and chilly and there had been on and off rain showers but those that had signed up for the class stayed hard at it.

But spring is just around the corner as various re-enactors in peroid dress put in appearances over the weekend. Cold and rainy or not it was good to see faces at the Fort again after an unseasonably cold winter.


Debby Jenkins

Larry McQuown

Look for more photos of the weekend on The Guest Gallery from Walt Waitkus.


Blue Licks Archaeology

The week at Blue Licks State Park went by all to quickly for the team working there. But despite the rain they covered the ground as planned and even made a few surprising discoveries.

Musket balls from an area near the present day pool and 1/4 of a Spanish Reale coin from the area near Tanners Station. Spanish coins were common in the area before the new United States had a stable currency. Because the coins were made of pure silver, cutting them into pieces was a common practice and did little to decrease their value.

See the article below for more about the finds at Blue Licks.


Battlefield explorers
converge at Blue Licks

The Associated Press


Some 225 years after the Revolutionary War battle at Blue Licks, a Morehead State University historian is leading an archaeological search of the storied grounds where settlers fought British troops and native Americans for the right to live in "Kaintuckee."

The historian, Adrian Mandz, said the findings will be part of an effort to get the battlefield listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Searchers turned up eight musket balls from beneath the once bloodied soil that's now part of the state park system. They also found lots of other less historical items.

"Any time we work in parks, there are a lot of picnic items, like pop tabs," said Dan Sivilich, president of the New Jersey-based Battlefield Restoration and Archaeological Volunteer Organization that assisted in the search.

Park naturalist Paul Tierney said the artifacts helped to determine one possible location for at least a portion of the 1782 battle.

"The location and trajectory appear to indicate the shots were fired from the area of where the pool is now - a little different from what we thought was the direction of the main battle," Tierney said.

Tierney said the musket balls found last week may have been fired during a retreat.

Once the items are cataloged, each will eventually be prepared for inclusion in the Pioneer Museum display at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, which also includes a three dimensional map of the battleground terrain.

Blue Licks in Robertson County is one of two Kentucky parks with ties to the Revolutionary War. The other is Fort Boonesborough in Madison County. Information from: The Ledger Independent,

Information from: The Ledger Independent,

Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park

Soothing a Savage Land

By Charles Hayes

Over two hundred and twenty-five years after the hills above the Licking River were ravished by battle, it sometimes feels as if the emotional trauma of the bloody events of that August 19th morning in 1782 is still attached to the battlefield.

 On other times, nature seems to try to work overtime to heal the psychic breach that man inflicted upon the area. Such a time was the morning of March 31st 2008.  Natures peacefulness is undisturbed by the cautious probing of a team of archeologist led by Doctor Adrian Mantzy, an Associate professor of History at Morehead State University. His team includes college students from Morehead and eight members of BRAVO (Battlefield Restoration and Archeological Volunteer Organization).

 The eight members of Bravo drove 12 hours from New Jersey to participate in the investigation. The land remains peaceful as the investigators gently and cautiously try to seduce secrets from the land through gentle probing and patience. 

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.

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