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Boonesborough Unearthed: Frontier Archaeology at a Revolutionary Fort

by Nancy O'Malley

Availablepaperback$26.95 978-0-8131-7761-8
224 pages  Pubdate: 06/25/2019  6 x 9  31 figures, 1 table

Throughout the Revolutionary War, Fort Boonesborough was one of the most important and defensively crucial sites on the western frontier. It served not only as a stronghold against the British but also as a sanctuary, land office, and a potential seat of government. Originally meant to be the capital of a new American colony, Fort Boonesborough was thrust into a defensive role by the onset of the Revolutionary War. Post-Revolutionary attempts to develop a town failed and the site was abandoned. Yet Fort Boonesborough lived on in local memory.

Boonesborough Unearthed: Frontier Archaeology at a Revolutionary Fort
is the result of more than thirty years of research by archaeologist Nancy O’Malley. This groundbreaking book presents new information and fresh insights about Fort Boonesborough and life in frontier Kentucky. O’Malley examines the story of this historical landmark from its founding during a time of war into the nineteenth century. O’Malley also delves into the lives of the settlers who lived there, and explores the Transylvania Company's dashed hopes of forming a fourteenth colony at the fort. This insightful and informative work is a fascinating exploration into Kentucky’s frontier past.

Nancy O’Malley is a professional archaeologist specializing in early settlement and Revolutionary War Kentucky. She is well known for her extensive research on the frontier experience and pioneer residential sites. She is the author of Stockading Up: A Study of Pioneer Stations in the Inner Bluegrass Region of Kentucky and other publications, including a chapter in The Buzzel about Kentuck (edited by Craig Friend).

LISTEN: NPR interviews Nancy O'Malley on her book Boonesborough Unearthed Listen online here.

Nancy O’Malley focuses the unique perspective of historical archaeology, blending documents, oral tradition, and the material culture record preserved in the ground on one of the most famous pioneer sites in Kentucky. This highly readable work offers more than new insights on the Boonesborough fort and community, providing fascinating perspectives on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century life in all of Kentucky. It will appeal to a wide audience. -- Kim A. McBride, University of Kentucky

“Boonesborough is a historically significant American site that is part of American frontier mythology. O’Malley has done it justice while unraveling many loose ends found in the received oral history by looking at a wide variety of materials, ranging from geology and botany to the political machinations of land-hungry easterners on the dangerous fringe of the new United States. -- Lawrence E. Babits, author of A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens