Dr. Kenneth Carstens, adjunct professor of history and professor emeritus of anthropology and archaeology at Murray State University, was recently chosen by the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) to receive this year’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented to him in March in Frankfort, Ky.
Carstens joined the MSU faculty in 1978 and directed the on-campus anthropology and archaeology program until his retirement in 2007. Throughout that time, Carstens received numerous teaching recognition awards, chaired many significant committees on campus, and conducted a number of research grants and the MSU contract archaeology program. He published nine books and is currently under contract for another six books. He has written and presented more than 220 technical and conference papers, and has published an additional 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, book reviews and encyclopedic entries.
Carstens has conducted archeological and historical research at a number of locations, including Mammoth Cave National Park and George Rogers Clark’s Fort Jefferson, the first Anglo-settlement in western Kentucky. He has been involved in historic site preservation and the listing of archaeological and historical sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and has done field studies at the Civil War site of Fort Smith/Star. He is a member of the Kentucky Heritage Council board and advises the board of directors of Locust Grove Historic Home in Louisville. Those activities and his and many other historical and archaeological professional studies were paramount in his recognition with the KHS Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.
Carstens regularly serves as a grant proposal reader for the National Endowment for the Humanities. His Fort Jefferson research project is regarded as a model study by individuals interested in the American Revolution in the West, and he is now in the process of helping develop a large historical site at Fort Jefferson Park and an interpretive center with associated nature/historic trails in Ballard County, Ky.
Hundreds of MSU undergraduate and graduate students over the last 31 years at MSU have received field, laboratory and archival research experience and training while participating in the Fort Jefferson research project. His recognition by the Kentucky Historical Society is, Carstens said, “A direct result of the dedication and high caliber of the MSU student, and Murray’s administrative support of that student-based research.”