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Ohio Archaeological Council Government Affairs Committee Report to Members

State Issues

Human Burial Places Protection.  Nothing new to report, but Ohio History Connection (OHC) Executive Director Burt Logan will retire in 2023, and Todd Kleismit, OHC’s Director of Community and Government Relations, has been appointed Executive Director of the Ohio Commission for the U.S. Semiquincentennial and will be leaving OHC in the near future. Both departures will likely affect efforts regarding human burial places protection legislation. 

Archaeology Guidelines. The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) continues to work on the revised guidelines. We were asked to review the fieldwork section and we submitted extensive comments. We are now reviewing the report format guidelines and will submit comments by May 13.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). We requested information from ODNR about how they consider impacts to archaeological resources during their environmental review processes for grant awardees and their subcontractors. We received a reply that included directing us to their environmental review webpage After review of the webpage, we suggested they update it to include specific information on compliance with federal (Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act) and state (Ohio Revised Code [ORC] 149.53) statutes and include a related link to the SHPOs federal and state reviews webpage

Recently, ODNR acquired the .69 acres of the former Tecumseh Motel and an adjacent property near Xenia, Ohio to develop the site into a new state park educational and interpretive center relating the history of the Shawnee Indians and one of the largest Shawnee Indian settlements in Ohio, Oldtown (Old Chillicothe), listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The village site is immediately west of the purchased property. ODNR is spending nearly $9 million on this project, which included an archaeological investigation of the motel property. The archaeological survey did not identify any evidence of the village. As the main Shawnee village in Ohio during and immediately after the American Revolution, it was the focus of several attacks by American militia. 

Newark Earthworks Litigation. Nothing new to report on the lawsuit before the Ohio Supreme Court regarding OHC’s ability to use eminent domain to cancel and reclaim the lease with Moundbuilders Country Club.

World Heritage and Visitor Center. $730,000 has been approved in the latest capital reappropriations budget, effective July 1, 2022, for development of a World Heritage and Visitor Center in Ross County (see Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, World Heritage Nomination, below).

American Electric Power (AEP), Rarden-Rosemount Area Improvements Project We were asked by the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC), of which we are a member/partner organization, to get involved with this proposed 69 kV electric transmission line project that would impact the Arc of Appalachia’s (Arc) Tremper Mound Preserve A few years ago, the Arc’s Highlands Nature Sanctuary acquired the 600-plus acre property via the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program and the Ohio Public Works Commission’s (OPWC) Clean Ohio Conservation Fund for $2 million and created the Preserve. Heartland Earthworks Conservancy (HEC), for which Tonetti is Vice President and Secretary, was soon after asked by the Arc to get involved. Tonetti contacted SHPO who contacted AEP. AEP told SHPO that the project is still in the developmental phase and although a final route has not been determined their preferred route takes it through the Preserve, fairly close to Tremper Mound and Works, the name under which it is listed in the NRHP. Although much of Tremper Mound and Works was excavated in 1915 by what is now OHC, then “reconstructed”, it retains some integrity as revealed by magnetic gradiometer survey conducted a few years ago by HEC. 

AEP has the power of eminent domain for siting such projects. Because this project is not under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) due to its kV capacity (only projects above 100 kV require OPSB approval), SHPO was not asked to review the project for its impacts on historic properties. On February 28, 2022, Tonetti participated in a meeting with AEP, the Arc, Ohio EPA, OPWC, OEC, and other organizations concerning this project’s potential impacts to the Preserve. He discussed the shortcomings of the 30-plus year old archaeological investigations in the AEP project area by the University of Pittsburgh for the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) proposed but defunct West Portsmouth Bypass (the investigation did not include geophysical survey or deep testing in the floodplain of the Scioto River valley), and recent geophysical surveys by HEC and Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc. on the Preserve, emphasizing the need for the use of best practices in archaeological surveys. Based on the presentations made on February 28 and subsequent discussions, AEP is researching route modifications that would avoid or minimize impacts to the Preserve. A decision is expected soon.

Federal Issues

Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, World Heritage Nomination. On March 23, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced it would formally submit Ohio’s Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks nomination to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for World Heritage inscription. The federal register notice included the following statements about the nomination:

“In making the decision to submit this U.S. World Heritage nomination, pursuant to 36 CFR 73.7(h) and (i), the Department’s Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks evaluated the draft nomination and the recommendations of the Federal Interagency Panel for World Heritage. She determined that the property meets the prerequisites for nomination by the United States to the World Heritage List that are detailed in 36 CFR part 73. The properties are nationally significant, being part of a unit of the National Park System established by Act of Congress or having been designated by the Department of the Interior as individual National Historic Landmarks. The owners of the properties have concurred in writing with the nomination, and each property is well protected legally and functionally as documented in the nomination. It appears to meet two of the World Heritage criteria for cultural properties. The ‘‘Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks’’ are nominated under World Heritage cultural criteria (i) and (iii), as provided in 36 CFR 73.9(b)(1), as a group, or ‘‘series,’’ that collectively appears to justify criterion (i) by demonstrating a masterpiece of human creative genius: A 2,000-year-old series of precise squares, circles, and octagons and a hilltop sculpted to enclose a vast plaza. They were built on an enormous scale and the geometric forms are consistently deployed across great distances and encode alignments with both the sun’s cycles and the far more complex patterns of the moon. The series also justifies criterion (iii) in providing testimony to its builders, people now referred to as the Hopewell Culture: Dispersed, non-hierarchical groups whose way of life was transitioning from foraging to farming. The earthworks were the center of a continent-wide sphere of influence and interaction and have yielded exceptionally finely crafted ritual objects fashioned from raw materials obtained from distant places. The properties, both individually and as a group, also meet the World Heritage requirements for integrity and authenticity.”

OHC will post a link to the nomination dossier on their World Heritage webpage

Historic Preservation Fund. President Biden signed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill funding the federal government through September 30 of this year. The act includes a record level $173.072 million for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), marking the first time the HPF exceeded the program's $150 million authorized level. The HPF funding includes small increases for SHPOs and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs).

FY22 HPF funding:

  • $57.675 million for SHPOs
  • $16 million for THPOs
  • $26.5 million for Save America's Treasures 
  • $21.75 million for the African American Civil Rights grant program 
  • $4.625 million for the History of Equal Rights Grant program 
  • $10 million for Historic Black Colleges and Universities preservation grants 
  • $10 million for the Semiquincentennial grant program 
  • $10 million for Paul Bruhn grants 
  • $1.25 million for Underrepresented Communities Grants 
  • $15.272 million in Congressionally Directed Spending for HPF Projects (new in FY22) 

Total: $173.072 million ($28.772 million over FY20).

The bill also included $27.144 million, a $3.255 million increase, for the Heritage Partnership Program which supports National Heritage Areas across the country. $20 million was included for the American Battlefield Protection program and $8.255 million for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, a $855,000 increase over FY21 enacted levels.

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The Department of the Interior is soon expected to formally publish proposed changes to the NAGPRA regulations. Nothing new to report.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Data on Employment and Wages for Anthropologists and Archeologists. The latest (May 2021) data are broken down by national estimates and industry and geographic profiles

Bills in Congress. (information on all bills available at

HR 6589. Historic Preservation Enhancement Act. Introduced February 3, 2022, this bill would permanently reauthorize and fully fund the HPF at $300 million/year. It was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on the Budget. It has four cosponsors, all Democrats and none from Ohio. The HPF is currently authorized at $150 million/year and must be periodically reauthorized by Congress. This is an extremely important bill that could greatly increase the effectiveness of SHPOS and THPOs; enable Ohio SHPO to offer archaeological research grants, increase staff review of compliance projects, develop a cemetery preservation program, and other activities relevant to Ohio

S. 3667/H.R. 6805, African American (AA) Burial Grounds Preservation Program. Introduced February 16, 2022, by Ohio Senator Brown and Utah Sen. Romney, and referred to Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. On February 22, a bipartisan companion bill, H.R. 6805, was introduced in the House and referred to its Committee on Natural Resources. It has six cosponsors, including Ohio Rep. Beatty. The bills would establish a program at the National Park Service to provide grant opportunities and technical assistance to local partners to research, identify, survey, and preserve these burial grounds Senator Brown’s office contacted Tonetti requesting information on AA burial grounds in northern Ohio. He sent his office some useful information. Krista Horrocks at SHPO is compiling relevant information for all of Ohio for Senator Brown. 

H.R. 2930/S. 1471, Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act. The bills will enhance protection of Native American tangible cultural heritage, including human remains and cultural items. On December 2, the House passed their bill with strong bipartisan support including all but two Republicans of Ohio’s delegation. The Senate bill has passed out of committee. The Senate will likely take up the House bill and could approve it sometime this year. Among other things, the bill would bar and establish stronger penalties for knowingly exporting Native American cultural items that were obtained in violation of NAGPRA and/or the Archaeological Resources Protection Act; establish an export certification system for items allowed to be exported; establish a Native American working group to provide recommendations regarding the voluntary return of tangible cultural heritage by collectors, dealers, other individuals, and non-Federal organizations that hold tangible cultural heritage, and the elimination of illegal commerce of cultural items and archaeological resources in the United States and foreign markets.

H.R. 3587, Requirements, Expectations, and Standard Procedures for Effective Consultation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act. Introduced in May 2021, the bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources. It would then come before the full House for a vote. No Senate companion bill exists. This bill would make tribal consultation mandatory for federal agencies, and sets criteria for identifying tribal impacts, conducting outreach to tribal governments, and initiating tribal consultation. It requires each federal agency to have a designated official who is responsible for coordinating tribal consultation and offering new staff training on coordinating and consulting with tribal governments. It requires federal agencies create a Tribal Impact Statement that would “include the scope of the activity or regulatory action, including any geographic areas important to tribal governments, as well as a list of all affected tribal governments.” It would also require federal agencies, in coordination with tribal governments, to identify important sacred sites. The bill has 26 cosponsors, all Democrats.

Section 106 Consultations

Dieckbrader Dam Removal Mitigation Bank, LRH 2021-00163-LMR. US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) project, Brown County. We informed the USACE we wanted to be an interested/consulting party on this project. We also provided comments stating that although the SHPOs online mapping system does not show any archaeological resources in the 30-acre project area, nor has it been surveyed for such resources, a nineteenth century historical atlas and twentieth century USGS topographic maps show numerous buildings and structures adjacent to and perhaps within the project area. We commented that an archaeological investigation was needed to determine if NRHP eligible archaeological resources would be affected by the project.

Uritus Park Multi-Family Residential Development, LRH 2021-885-SCR. USACE project, Franklin County. We informed the USACE we wanted to be an interested/consulting party on this project. A NRHP listed house, originally of log construction and built around 1830, will be adversely affected and a memorandum of agreement (MOA) needs to be executed to resolve adverse effects to the building. SHPO stated that an archaeological investigation of the 24-acre permit area would be a “wasted effort” after a consultant’s literature review indicated portions of the permit area were disturbed by landfilling. Because portions of the permit area along Alum Creek and around the house appear minimally disturbed, we requested a disturbance assessment field investigation be conducted in the permit area, and ground penetrating radar and close interval shovel tests around the house be conducted to begin the process of determining if the as yet undocumented but undoubtedly present archaeological component associated with the house is NRHP eligible. 

Boston Mills North, Cuyahoga River Restoration. USEPA/NPS/USACE project, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cuyahoga, and Summit counties. Nothing new to report. 

Brandywine Creek In-Lieu Fee Mitigation Site. USACE project, Summit County. We requested participation as an interested/consulting party on this project because two archaeological resources appear to be in or adjacent to one of the two restoration areas. Although in 1997 both resources were recommended not eligible for NRHP, we commented that further archaeological investigation at both resources should be conducted because neither the early 20th century domestic resource nor the precontact resource of unknown type appear to have been sufficiently investigated to be determined not eligible. We requested that both be relocated and further investigated through unit and other excavation methods and archaeological geophysical survey, as necessary and practicable, to determine their period of occupation/use, integrity, and association with broad patterns of history/prehistory.

Irishtown Bend Hillside Stabilization. USDOT project, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County. The data recovery and construction monitoring schedule has not been set.

Judge Joseph Barker House. USACE project, Washington County. Consulting party meetings were held on December 2 and February 9 concerning the forthcoming transfer of the NRHP-listed building from federal to private ownership. Stabilizing the neglected property and impacts to its grounds were discussed. Two drafts of a MOA have been circulated to address the adverse effect of transferring the property out of Federal control. It includes a prioritized stipulation for conducting an archaeological geophysical survey of the 3.5-acre area containing the house by the transferee, the Friends of the Joseph Barker, Jr. House. The OAC commented on the stipulations. We are likely to sign the MOA as a concurring party.

Thornwood Crossing Bridge. ODOT project, Licking County (Newark). Data recovery at the Middle Woodland occupation may occur late summer-fall 2022.

TRU-SR-46/82. ODOT project, Trumbull County. Nothing new to report.

WAR-SR 63-0.38. ODOT project, Warren County. Data recovery by Lawhon and Associates at the archaeological resources associated with the Union Shaker Village is nearing completion.

Zoar Levee and Diversion Dam repair. USACE project, Tuscarawas County. Most recent consulting party meeting held on March 31 but nothing new to report on potential impacts to archaeological resources, which should be avoided.

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