News from OAC

Remembering Kevin Gibbs

 Kevin Gibbs, Ohio Archaeological Council member, died unexpectedly on August 28.  Kevin was employed at ASC Group for 20 years, where he was a supervising archaeologist, lithics lab supervisor, curation manager, and information technology manager.  Previously, he was briefly employed by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and David R. Bush, Inc.  Kevin’s career in archaeology began with an undergraduate degree in Anthropology at Ohio University in 1987.  He also took graduate level classes at Kent State University.  Kevin authored or co-authored more than 170 Phase I, II, and III archaeological investigation reports for ASC Group.  Kevin’s vast knowledge about prehistoric and historic material culture and information technology will be greatly missed, as will his wonderful sense of humor and wit.  He loved science and the quest for knowledge.  Helpful in so many ways, his generosity will be greatly missed.  Contributions may be made to Perkins Observatory, 3199 Columbus Pike, Delaware, OH 43015, St. Timothy Catholic Church, 1088 Thomas Lane, Columbus, OH 43220, or Lifeline of Ohio, 770 Kinnear Rd., Suite 200, Columbus, OH 43212, in Kevin’s memory.  Kevin gave the gift of life.

A Response to "The Lost Civilizations of North America" DVD

  The Skeptical Inquirer has published Brad Lepper and colleagues' response to the recent "Lost Civilizations" DVD.  Check out the notice on OHS's Ohio Archaeology Blog.
 

SAA Career Info On-line

What DO archaeologists do in the 21st century? What kinds of jobs and careers ARE they working at? This special issue of the SAA Archaeological Record provides 12 personal accounts of careers in archaeology that prove that archaeology is about MUCH more than digging. This issue can be accessed for free through this link: http://goo.gl/B0z2f

Strategies for Protecting Archaeological Sites on the Web

A very useful web site titled "Strategies for Protecting Archeological Sites on Private Lands" has been developed through the joint efforts of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Archaeological Conservancy, the Society for American Archaeology, the Society for Historical Archaeology, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, and two National Park Service Cultural Resource offices (Heritage Preservation Services and the Archeology Program). Please visit at --http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/pad/strategies.html.

 

"Strategies continues to be a popular guide to the wide variety of tools available for protecting archeological sites on private lands. The site contains information on strategies currently being used throughout the U.S., case studies, keys to success, contact information, and links to other sources of useful information. Key strategies include -- Land Ownership, Financial Strategies, Development Regulation, Laws Specific to Archeology, Voluntary Strategies, and Site Management."--Susan L. Renaud, RPA, Senior Resource Planner, Heritage Preservation Services, National Park Service

 

OAC Comments Again on NAGPRA Final Rule

On behalf of the OAC, President Jarrod Burks has submitted comments on the final rule related to culturally unidentifiable Native American human remains.  Read the letter.

OAC Government Affairs Committee Report, May 2011

May 13, 2011 OAC Membership Meeting Government Affairs Committee Report

Al Tonetti, Chair

Brad Lepper, Jeff Reichwein, and Marilyn Orr, Committee Members

 

State Issues 

Ohio General Assembly.  The General Assembly is considering two bills of interest.  The thrust of both bills was incorporated into HB 153, the state’s two-year operating budget (July 2011-June 2013).  HB 153 passed the House on May 5 and is now before the Senate.  The two bills are HB 104, providing an individual income tax check off on Ohio’s income tax form funding an OHS-administered grant program, and HB133/SB108, permitting oil and natural gas drilling on state land.  The OAC testified in favor of HB 104 in the House, and against HB 133/SB108 in the House and Senate.  The OAC is not opposed to oil and gas drilling on state land.  We oppose HB 133/SB 108 because neither bill considers the impact of the industry on archaeological resources.  We submitted language to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to amend HB 133 so that impacts to archaeological resources are considered.  It was not included in HB 153, and it is unlikely the Senate will do so as it considers the budget bill.  A substitute/amended HB 133 should be released next week.  Whether or not it contains language as we suggested remains to be seen, but if it does not we may have to plead with ODNR to include such language when they write rules governing oil and gas drilling in state parks, but we are not optimistic about being successful if that is the route we need to take.  ODNR has previously told the OAC and the OHPO that they will not consider impacts on archaeological resources unless the General Assembly expressly permits them to do so.  Following our testimony, OHPO met with the sponsors of HB 133/SB108.  OHPO did not seem optimistic about getting language in HB 153 that would consider the impacts of drilling on cultural resources.  The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) also discussed the OAC’s concerns in their testimony opposing drilling on state land.  The OAC is a member of the OEC.

HB 153 also includes small ($60,000) increases in funding for the OHPO and OHS’ education and collections division, while cutting OHS’ outreach and partnership line item from $490,000 to $90,000, most of which OHS hopes to make up from private revenue sources.  Although the amount of contributions to the new income tax check off are uncertain, other annual income tax check off returns (ODNR wildlife and natural areas, and military injury relief) range from $300,000 to $600,000.  Hopefully, the Governor will not line item veto the OHS income tax check off, and we will begin to see grants to local and statewide history, archaeology, and historic preservation organizations next year.

 

Statehood Day 2011 (Tuesday, March 1).  Due to protests at the Statehouse on March 1concerning SB 5, the bill gutting collective bargaining for Ohio’s public employees, Statehood Day was cancelled.    

 

Legislative Commission on the Education and Preservation of State History. 

Sen. Widener may introduce a bill incorporating some of the recommendations contained in the Commission’s final report (issued September 1, 2010) later this year.  Recommendations of interest to the archaeological community include:

·         Creating an OHS income tax check-off, generating revenue for a local history grant program.

·         Creating an “Ohio History” license plate generating revenue for local history programs.

·         Creating a task force to study issues dealing with Ohio’s prehistoric and historic cemeteries.

·         Governor should issue an Executive Order directing state agencies to work with the Ohio Historic Preservation Office to identify, evaluate, and protect state-owned historic properties, but mandatory reviews of state actions should not be required.

·         Repealing Ohio Revised Sections dealing with designating archaeological and historical landmarks.

·         Next capital improvements budget should include funds for OHS to build a new collections storage facility.

 

Revise Ohio’s call-before-you-dig law.  SB 152 died in last year’s Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.  It has not been reintroduced.  Last year we were promised by the President and Executive Director of the Ohio Utilities Protection Service that the OAC would be invited to participate in future discussions about the matter.  We have not heard anything more about this matter.  SB 152 would have placed archaeologists working in Ohio in jeopardy of being classified as “habitual or willful non-compliers” and subject to fines of $10,000 per violation for violating notification and marking protocols of excavations, regardless of their depth.

 

Section 106 Consulting Party.  The OAC is a consulting party on a number of projects including a sewer project in Chillicothe that will likely affect the remnants of the Adena Mound.  A meeting about this project was held at OHPO last Friday and will be reported on elsewhere during the business meeting.  Another Section 106 project which we have been consulting on is improvement of restrooms at Serpent Mound.  Consulting on these projects primarily concerns commenting on research designs for archaeological investigations. 

 

Federal Issues

OSM/ODNR/OHPO AML PA.  The OAC submitted comments on renewal of the PA governing the impacts of AML actions on archaeological resources.  Our comments urged amending the PA by providing meaningful ways for the public and other consulting parties to participate in the review process, by including open bidding for the hiring of AML qualified professionals, by replacing the project summary form with a survey report meeting OHPO’s 1994 Archaeology Guidelines, and by making sure that all AML projects are performed by qualified professionals, not by unqualified project officers.  We have yet to receive a reply.

 

ACRA CRM Day.  Recently, Al Tonetti went to Capitol Hill with other ACRA members to discuss the importance of Section 106.  The group met with approximately 50 Representatives and Senators and/or their aides.  ACRA is planning a local CRM Day during the Congressional recess in August.  It is critical that all CRM firms and their employees participate in this effort, as Section 106 is increasingly threatened in Congress, particularly in the House.  Efforts are underway to exempt certain federal projects or types of projects from compliance with Section 106.  There are many ways Section 106 can be undermined without actually repealing Section 106 of the NHPA.

 

SAA Government Affairs.  Recently, Al Tonetti was appointed to the SAA’s Government Affairs Committee.  One emphasis of the SAA’s GAC will be to work more closely at the state and local level to address concerns with government policy and actions affecting archaeology.  If you know of a state or local issue that you think the SAA could/should help with, contact me.  A number of state governments are trying to cut the authority of government agencies to regulate activities adversely effecting archaeological resources.  This trend is likely to continue for the near future as governments look to rid themselves, and private industry, from regulations seen as unnecessary.