(March 1909- April 2000)

N'omi Greber

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Alva McGraw shared his deep interest in the archaeology of Ross County with generations of avocational and professional archaeologists, all of whom benefited from his knowledge, enthusiasm, and practical advice. He was instrumental in excavations of sites that spanned thousands of years of human history, from Station Prairie, the first historic settlement; back nearly two thousands years to a Hopewell site on his farm, now named for him in the archaeological literature; and back farther yet to eras known as Adena, Archaic, and Paleoindian.


He was a member and supporter of the avocational Archaeological Society of Ohio and the professional Ohio Archaeological Council. He identified artifacts for new and more experienced surface collectors, and encouraged searching for "answers" that would enlighten us all. He encouraged and worked with new field techniques such as the Ken Goodman resistivity instruments that located features below the ground without digging. For more than forty years he knew and assisted crews from all the institutions that sponsored archaeological work and site preservation in Ross County including Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University), Mound City National Monument (now part of Hopewell Culture National Historical Park), the Ohio Historical Society, Kent State University, Cleveland State University, Ohio State University, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the Archaeological Conservancy.

Many share with me memories of a warm, personal friend who was always ready to fix broken equipment, discuss the mysterious ways water can travel in Paint Creek, give guided tours of sites even outside Ross County, and spend hours talking with the many visitors who sat around his kitchen table. His visitors were not only archaeologists, but people he dealt with in his long time public service for Ross County and his many personal friends. He is greatly missed by us all.

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