Clarion County archeologist Burkett receiving some honors

Clarion County archeologist Ken Burkett is being recognized nationally, statewide and locally for his 50 years of work in the field.

Burkett was recently awarded the Society for American Archaeology’s (SAA) Crabtree Award. The award was presented to Burkett at the SAA’s annual business meeting a week ago.

Burkett, who lives in Fairmount City, is only the second person in the eastern United States to earn the award.

The certificate recognized Burkett for his “five decades long devotion to investigating, preserving and interpreting the pre-contact archeology of western Pennsylvania.”

Kurt W. Carr, senior curator of archaeology of the State Museum of Pennsylvania, nominated Burkett for the award.

Carr said Burkett directed the excavation of a related Late Woodland series of sites known as the Fishbasket Complex in Clarion County in the 1990s. The site is now a Pennsylvania historical site.

Carr wrote that Burkett was the co-author of a 240-page book with Brian Fritz entitled “The Scripture Rocks” in 2014. The book documents more than 160 rock carvings in Jefferson County.

Carr noted Burkett has been the director of the Jefferson County History Center in Brookville.

“With his energy, he has taken this average county historical society to the level of a regional history center and one of the best in the commonwealth,” said Carr. “He has developed regular monthly programs and several annual events.”

“This is a huge honor,” said Burkett. “I am humbled by this award.”

On Wednesday, Burkett was honored on the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate by state senators Cris Dush and Scott Hutchinson.

The certificate noted Burkett graduated from Brookville High School and was a Clarion Hospital paramedic.

In 1983, Burkett earned the “Archey Award” from the Society of Pennsylvania Archeology. He did work at the site of the Parker Petroglyphs and is working on a book detailing similar sites in western Pennsylvania.

“We are really pleased to honor Mr. Burkett,” said Hutchinson. “A local resident, he is a world renowned archeologist and we like to honor those who have attained an outstanding achievement over the years.”

“Ken has done yeoman work around the area,” said Dush. “We are very proud to have him working at the Jefferson County History Center.”

State Rep. Donna Oblerlander recognized Burkett on Thursday with a commendation by the state House.

Clarion County commissioners will honor Burkett with a proclamation at their meeting next week.