Volunteer Recruitment is Ongoing—You May Sign Up at Any Time! See Application Below.
WELCOME TO THE JACK JOUETT ARCHAEOLOGY PROJECT!
The Jack Jouett Archaeology Project (JJAP) is a community archaeology project that welcomes everyone with an opportunity to participate as a member of a team dedicated to the archaeological study of Kentucky’s early distillery industry.
In many ways, Kentucky’s identity is built on the historic success of the distilling industry. In pioneer Kentucky distilling corn whiskey was not a luxury; it was an economic necessity. Gallons of whiskey were traded in place of money to purchase goods, labor, and property. Before the 1820’s the transportation infrastructure in many areas of Kentucky made it impossible to get corn to market before it spoiled. Distilling the corn into whiskey preserved the product until it made it into the market and sold for more money by volume.
As an early Kentucky settler and successful agriculturist, Jack Jouett would have participated in this economy. Jack operated a distillery and mill on Craig’s Creek from the late 1700’s to the early 1800’s when he traded the distillery to Charles and Peter Buck in exchange for one thousand gallons of whiskey. Fortunately for us, he was never paid. The documents from the resulting litigation list landmarks that led us to the location of his distillery.
During our 2014 and 2015 seasons, we learned that the distillery begun by Jack lasted through the 1800’s, ending production sometime before Prohibition. In the field, JJAP Team members located where the distillery workers ate and where they burned their trash. We gained inklings into the story of Jack Jouett the distiller. In order to fill in the gaps, in 2016 we are exploring two different distilleries that operated during the 1800’s. Data from these sites will provide a comparative frame of reference for the early distilling landscape of WoodfordCounty.
Members of the JJAP team will be able to participate in every stage of archaeological investigation. From archival research, through excavation and artifact analysis, team members will have an active role in reconstructing forgotten stories from our history. Through an understanding of how fragile remnants of the past are, we will all be stewards of the past. Everyone who wants to participate regardless of physical ability will be included. The only requirement is that you are interested in archaeology, history, and/or whiskey.
This project is sponsored by the Woodford County Fiscal Court and The Woodford County Heritage Committee, with additional support from The Kentucky Distillers’ Association and The Kentucky Heritage Council. We are grateful for the support of the families who own the land that we will be crossing and working on during this project. None of this would be possible without their permission. All of the artifacts recovered during this project remain their property and will be presented to them once the analysis has been completed.
This is the first phase of the broader Bourbon Archaeology Project that will examine early distilling throughout Kentucky. The Jack Jouett House Historic Site is excited to be a founding partner because we will learn more about Jack’s role as a leading Kentucky agriculturalist and the stories of the people with whom he worked. WoodfordCounty is the epicenter of Bourbon Archaeology. Since 2014 we have been learning about the early distilling industry and the best methods to gather and analyze the materials associated with them. Our experiences will inform the next stages of the project and guide investigations of the industry throughout Kentucky.
Welcome to the team!
Nick Laracuente Janice Clark
Project Director Executive Director
Jack Jouett Archaeology Project Jack Jouett House Historic Site
Click on About Us/Press Room/2014—02-14 and About Us/Press Room/2015--02-07 to read press releases about the Jack Jouett Archaeology Project. Click on the links below to access the Jack Jouett Archaeology Team volunteer application packet. In addition to the project application, each Team Member is required to sign a liability waiver, which can be completed on the Team Member’s first day on the project. Team Members under the age of 18 are required to have their liability waivers notarized, so they should contact the Jack Jouett House Historic Site to obtain a waiver prior to their first day on the project.