• The meeting will take place Friday, April 29, from 9-1 in the Auditorium of the Main Branch of the Columbus Public Library, 96 S. Grant Ave. This event is free and open to the public. The business meeting from 12-1 restricted to OAC members only.
• The Main Library’s attached garage, accessible from Library Park North, offers free parking for the first hour, with hourly rates after that. • The morning presentations will be live-streamed and curated on the OAC YouTube Channel.
• If you are an OAC member and cannot attend the business meeting in-person, please use the separate zoom link that was sent out.
Presenters, Titles and Abstracts, in Program Order
Demography and Settlement Patterns from Archaeological Site Files – Assessing Uncertainty from Archaeological Periodization
Patrick Druggan, Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University
Archaeologists have long been interested in reconstructing long term human population trends and diachronic settlement patterns. State databases of archaeological site files such as the Ohio Archaeological Inventory have been used for these objectives; however, there are a number of limitations to this approach. One important limitation is the chronological uncertainty of archaeological periodization. In this paper, I employ a combination of Bayesian chronological modeling and Monte-Carlo simulation of data from the Ohio Archaeological Inventory to produce demographic curves and estimates of diachronic settlement pattern change which incorporates chronological uncertainty in order to explore the limitations intrinsic to the process of archaeological periodization and suggest avenues to address these concerns.
Petroglyphs of Ohio and Serpent Mound: Shared Iconography, Shared Stories
Bradley T. Lepper (Ohio History Connection); Carol Diaz-Granados (Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis); James R. Duncan (Independent Scholar)
James Swauger’s study of Ohio’s rock art, Petroglyphs of Ohio, has been the definitive guide to the subject since its publication in 1984. Swauger concluded that the Indigenous American Indian petroglyphs were created during the Late Precontact period and proposed that the makers of the designs were “proto-Shawnee.” He deliberately avoided, however, making any attempt to attribute meanings to the various designs. Building on Swauger’s work, we consider Ohio rock art through the lens of our previous research on Serpent Mound and the rock art of midcontinental North America, particularly the unique suite of pictographs at Picture Cave, as interpreted through the lens of Dhegiha Siouan oral traditions. We argue that several Ohio petroglyph sites include configurations of motifs that represent episodes from an ancient and widespread Indigenous creation story featuring the Great Serpent, Lord of the Beneath World, and First Woman, the mother of all living things. This conclusion provides further evidence that Serpent Mound makes the most sense as a Late Precontact production.
Community on the Fringes: Updates on Recent Developments
Megan Schaeffer, Summit Metro Parks
This presentation is an update on work conducted by Summit Metro Parks in the Wheelock Cuyahoga Acres Archaeological Landscape, which was a small integrated neighborhood from the late 1940s through the 1970s between Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. The neighborhood falls within the boundaries of SMP’s Cascade Valley Metro Park. In 2017 and 2018, SMP conducted archaeological excavations at the foundation of one of the homes in this neighborhood, the Prather Home Site (33-Su-676). In 2022 we were able to contact relatives of the Prather family and learn much more about the family and the neighborhood. In August of 2022 we worked with Citizen Science volunteers to conduct visual survey across the whole neighborhood, mapping in extant structures and cultural materials. The additional work has shed light particularly on the character of Black settlement and property ownership in the mid-20th century at Wheelock Cuyahoga Acres and the surrounding area. We have been working on ways to incorporate the story of this neighborhood into the development of the park and its trails and amenities. In the future, the hope is to see this work become part of a larger body of knowledge on Black lives, communities, and histories in Ohio.
Human Perseverance: A Case Study of Two Rare Dislocations
Tara Rose Cassano, Giuseppe Vercellotti, David Hubin
The Harrison Township Cholera Cemetery, located in central Ohio served as both a family and community burial ground from 1804 to 1859. (Van Cleaf, 1906) As the name suggests, local history reports that victims of nearby cholera outbreaks were also buried there. Some of these victims would have been the immigrant workers constructing the Ohio-Erie Canal located immediately adjacent to the cemetery. Their low social status meant that nothing about their deaths was recorded, not their names or even how many died of the disease. Due to limited archival materials and the significant vandalism of the site over the years, little is known about the majority of individuals interred there. One such individual is USK 6085, an adult male estimated be 35 to 45 years old. USK 6085 exhibits two rare pathological conditions, both of which involve dislocation. The first is the permanent, lateral dislocation of the right patella and tibia resulting in the fusion of the tibia at a right angle posterior to the femur. The angle is so severe that when viewing the femur from an anterior perspective the tibia disappears entirely. The other notable pathological condition is the chronic recurrent dislocation of the mandible. (Sharma et al, 2015) Both conditions forced this individual and their body to adapt, creating a series of significant, systemic changes in the skeleton. These changes in behaviour and function may even be partially to blame for what appears to be a chronic lung infection.
Current Research and Management of Black History Sites on the Wayne National Forest, Southeast Ohio
Andrew Tremayne (Wayne National Forest), Jason Herrmann (University of Pennsylvania), Cory Crawford (Ohio University), Joe Gingerich (Ohio University), and Nancy Tatarek
This presentation will discuss the results of recent geophysical, non-intrusive archaeological investigations at the historic 19th Century free Black settlement of Paynes Crossing and Payne Cemetery. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) was used to search for unmarked graves at the cemetery, while magnetic gradiometry and electrical resistance were used to explore portions of a Paynes Crossing farmstead. Ongoing research into the archival records are revealing interesting stories about the lives of some of the people interred at the cemetery. The Wayne National Forest is working to preserve, protect and interpret sites related to the Underground Railroad and Civilian Conservation Corp era construction across the forest and intends to nominate the Payne Cemetery to the National Register of Historic Places.
You will Do Better in Toledo: Urban Archaeology in the Glass City
Robert Chidester, The Mannik & Smith Group, Inc.
From 2014 through 2016, The Mannik & Smith Group conducted Phase I and Phase III investigations of two partial city blocks in the UpTown neighborhood of Toledo, Ohio. The Phase I survey identified a total of 29 features dating from the late 19th through mid-20th centuries, including building foundations and utility features associated with domestic occupations, commercial enterprises, and a hospital. Phase III data recovery excavations focused on 12 of these features, dating primarily to the first half of the 20th century. These excavations represent the first time that urban historical archaeology had been conducted in Toledo, and provide a baseline and several hypotheses that can be tested by future projects in the Glass City.
Prepared by Al Tonetti, Chair
Andy Sewell, Megan Shaeffer, and Mike Striker, Committee Members
Columbus Public Library, Main Branch
Meeting Presentations are free and open to the public.
The latest update (December 2021) of the OHIO811 Excavator Manual
On March 23, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service announced the formal nomination of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This April the OAC is pleased to announce that we will make a return to in-person meetings, while also continuing the practice of live-streaming the content to make it accessible to everyone.
It’s time again to support Ohio archaeology by designating a portion of your Ohio income tax refund for the Ohio History Fund.