April 11, 2019
Dr. Eli Capilouto, Dr. David W. Blackwell
Office of the President Provost and Chief Academic Officer
101 Main Building 105 Main Building
University of Kentucky University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0032 Lexington, KY 40506-0032
Dr. Capilouto and Dr. Blackwell:
The Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology (TCPA) is writing today to ask that you
reconsider the decision to close the Kentucky Archaeological Survey (KAS) and the Program for Archaeological Research (PAR). We understand that as of May 29, 2019, all 12 staff positions associated with the KAS and PAR will be eliminated. As an organization representing archaeological research in the state of Tennessee and the promotion of archaeological awareness and stewardship of our past, TCPA is writing to voice our opposition to this move to eliminate KAS and PAR. As a public land grant university, the mission of the University of Kentucky is dedicated to improving people’s lives through excellence in education, research, and creative work. All of these elements are currently being met by the mission of both KAS and PAR. KAS educates the public about Kentucky’s rich archaeological heritage and provides a service to other state agencies and nonprofits. PAR is responsible for training many archaeologists with hands on, real world experience who have either continued to work in Kentucky as archaeologists or have moved on to other states, including Tennessee, to continue to teach or work in the field of archaeology.
TCPA also understands an external review of the University of Kentucky’s Department of
Anthropology conducted last year praised both KAS and PAR. The external review of the
department found that both KAS and PAR represent “some of the strongest and best-known
portions of the University of Kentucky’s Department of Anthropology,” according to the February 2018 review (Lexington-Herald article entitled “External review of UK archaeology praises two recently eliminated units” March 19, 2019). The same article also goes on to state that both KAS and PAR have “trained virtually all of the professional archaeologists in the state, and have created innovative educational and outreach programs and activities.” Given this strong public recognition, public education and outreach, and archaeological training, TCPA finds that by shutting down KAS and PAR, it would hamper the University of Kentucky’s mission of improving people’s lives through excellence in education, research, and creative work.
TCPA is asking the University of Kentucky to reconsider their decision to eliminate KAS and PAR.
TCPA agrees with many other archaeological organizations, including the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists and the Society for American Archaeology, who have stated publicly that by eliminating these two programs, the university would be eliminating a leader in public archaeology in Kentucky and would be removing one of the department’s strongest public assets.
Jared Barrett, MA, RPA
President, Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology