Webinar: Dispelling the Myth – The Archaeology of Kentucky’s Ancient Peoples

Preservation Kentucky celebrated Archaeology Month in September with a webinar that featured the rich archaeological record of our native inhabitants with ancient Native American archaeologist Gwynn Henderson, PhD, whose research has corrected the mistaken narrative that Native peoples never lived permanently in Kentucky – when, in fact, they did.


Native peoples have lived in what we know as the Commonwealth beginning around 9,500 B.C. and they are still citizens of Kentucky today. Drawing from the rich archaeological record of these ancient people, this webinar reviews what archaeologists have learned and inferred about their diverse lifeways, technologies, settlements and ritual sites prior to the arrival of Europeans.






Photo credit: Kentucky Before Boone poster by Jimmy A. Railey (1990) details all aspects of KY prehistory from the earliest hunter-gatherers to the most recent native farmers with time-specific, activity and technology scenes.

Meet your instructor:  A. Gwynn Henderson, PhD


A native of Delaware, Dr. Henderson has been interested in old things, dinosaurs, and in being an archaeologist since she was young.  She received her B.A. in Anthropology from the Universtiy of Delaware; her M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Kentucky; and, her Ph.D. in Anthropology with a minor in Native American History from the University of Kentucky.


Dr. Henderson is currently Staff Archaeologist/Education Coordinator at the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky.


An ancient Native American archaeologist, Dr. Henderson has conducted field research in Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia and Mexico. She is particularly interested in researching the lifeways of the ancient Native American farming cultures of the Ohio Valley and the history of mid-18th century indigenous groups in that region. She has written, presented and published many professional reports and papers describing the results of her research, and with archaeologist David Pollack, PhD, directed the UK undergraduate field school in archaeology from 2009-2011.


As an archaeology educator and public archaeologist, Dr. Henderson works with archaeologists, teachers and museum educators to develop content, lessons, booklets, video programs, and workshops that make information about Kentucky’s rich archaeological heritage accessible to a wide audience. She serves as State Coordinator for Kentucky Project Archaeology; her book for adult literacy students, Kentuckians Before Boone, is used in elementary school classrooms; and she has published several nonfiction articles in dig, an award winning archaeology magazine for children ages 9-14.


Dr. Henderson is a member of the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission. She has lived in Kentucky since June 1977, when she joined an excavation in Jefferson County directed by University of Kentucky archaeologists.