SAAarchaeologicalrecord - Society for American Archaeology

SAAarchaeologicalrecord - Society for American Archaeology




Charles D. Hockensmith

Charles D. Hockensmith is a staff archaeologist at the Kentucky Heritage Council in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Jason McCool Fenwick died March 13, 2000 at Georgetown

University Hospital after a short battle with liver disease.

At the time of his death, Jason was an architectural historian

with the historic rehabilitation tax credit program

for the National Park Service (NPS) in Washington,

D.C. A funeral service was held in

Kosciusko, Mississippi, and memorial services were

held in Louisville, Kentucky and in Washington,

D.C. The Louisville Historical League has established

the annual Jason M. Fenwick Lecture in Historic

Preservation as a memorial in his honor.

Jason was born October 21, 1947 at Kosciusko, Mississippi,

the only child of Edward Coleman Fenwick

and Mary Maganous McCool Fenwick. He received a

B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Mississippi in

1970, and in 1980 was awarded his M.A. in Anthropology

from the University of Kentucky. Between 1967 and the late

1970s, Jason was involved in diverse archaeological fieldwork.

His first experience was a field school operated by Mississippi

State University in 1967, in which he also participated during

the summers of 1968 and 1969. In 1969, he also served as

a field assistant at an University of Mississippi field school. In

the summer of 1970, his experience was broadened as he participated

in University College’s South Cadbury Castle excavations

in Somerset, England. Between October 1970 and

August 1971, Jason worked for the Ministry of Public Buildings

and Works in Great Britain on various archaeological and

restoration projects ranging from Iron Age hill forts to

Roman villages and Medieval buildings.

In the fall of 1971, he returned to the U.S. to enter graduate

school in anthropology at the University of Kentucky. His

fieldwork included excavations at Eagle Creek Reservoir in

Kentucky during 1972 and at Normandy Reservoir in Tennessee

during 1973 and 1974. In 1975, Jason supervised an

archaeological survey of the Yatesville Reservoir in northeastern

Kentucky and test excavations at selected sites. During

1976, he conducted archaeological surveys for the Lexingtonbased

consulting firm Ohio Valley Archaeological Research


In February of 1977, Jason joined the staff of the Kentucky

Heritage Commission as an archaeologist, where he conducted

countywide archaeological surveys. Jason transferred to the

Restoration Grants Program at Kentucky Heritage

Commission in 1978. Through the years, he became

increasingly interested in historic buildings. In his

new role, he worked with archaeological projects

and with historic buildings that were being rehabilitated

for investment tax credits. Occasionally, he

conducted limited test excavations around historic

structures. From late 1981 through 1983, Jason

served as state curator and coordinated the restoration/rehabilitation

of the Kentucky Executive Mansion

for Governor John Y. Brown and First Lady

Phyllis George Brown. Between 1984 and 1997,

Jason served as a preservation specialist at the Kentucky Heritage

Council. In this role, he reviewed projects and provided

technical assistance for investment tax credit and state grantin-aid


During his career as an archaeologist, Jason authored several

publications and a number of CRM reports. Most of his publications

focused on Kentucky sites and topics, but at least two

early reports focused on excavations in Mississippi. His Master’s

thesis and some of his other research focused on the heat

treating of chert.

The final phase of Jason’s career before his untimely death

was a position with the NPS in Washington, D.C., where he

worked with the historic tax credit program as an architectural

historian. This position is a tribute to Jason’s determination

and ability to master new skills, for he was trained as a prehistoric

archaeologist but became a self-taught architectural

historian. That Jason changed disciplines and became so

competent that he was recruited for employment by the NPS

is a testimony of his knowledge and skills. Jason will be

missed by his archaeological and architectural associates.

Acknowledgments. I am indebted to colleagues Becky Shipp

and Richard Jett for sharing information about Jason. Also,

Guy Lapsley with the NPS provided information on Jason’s

time with the Park Service. Richard Jett graciously shared the

photograph of Jason taken during his NPS employment.

38 The SAA Archaeological Record • May 2002

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