Slack Farm

Slack Farm is an archaeological site of the Caborn Welborn variant of the Mississippian culture. Slack Farm is located near Uniontown, Kentucky close to the confluence of the Ohio River and the Wabash River. The site evidently included a Native American mound and an extensive village occupation dating between 1400-1650 CE. Although Slack Farm was long known to be one of the major villages of the Caborn-Welborn people, it became famous when it was very seriously damaged during amateur excavation in 1987. The looting of Slack Farm contributed to the passage of more stringent laws in the state of Kentucky relating to the protection of burials, sacred grounds, and indigenous/archaeological sites. The damage done to Slack Farm attracted worldwide attention and was written about in National Geographic Magazine, prompting widespread outcry against illicit removal of antiquities.

The ten amateur excavators of Slack Farm paid $10,000 dollars to a new landowner of the Slack Farm property in 1987 for the right to dig at the site. After renting a tractor, the ten individuals spent two months destroying hundreds of Native American graves, preserved Mississippian culture houses, and unknown other sacred artifacts. Local complaints by the people of Uniontown led to the arrest of the perpetrators on the misdemeanor of "desecrating a venerable object" (a charge which is now a felony, in part due to the controversy over Slack Farm). Prosecution on this charge was difficult in the late 1980's, in part because this predated the passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and related state legislation, which made it more clear that such activities were illegal.

The hundreds of broken bones were reburied by Native American groups. As of May 2007, Native American groups still meet in the area to commemorate the site and mourn the damage done.


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