PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE - March 2001

William S. Dancey

The OAC entered the new year with nine new members and 13 new officers and committee members. All are introduced elsewhere in the Newsletter. Let me here welcome Mark Seeman and Craig Keener to the Board of Trustees. With Board approval, Mark will chair the Nominations Committee and Craig will chair the Membership Committee. Stepping down are Brad Lepper and J. Heilman and on behalf of the Board I want to acknowledge the strong contributions they made to managing the Council's operation and shaping its future.

The most dramatic news I have to impart at this time concerns the latest development in the Moundbuilders Country Club's rebuilding proposal. I reported at the Fall meeting that the Club had withdrawn its proposal to expand the club house and replaced it with one for remodeling the existing structure. This was accepted by the Society under the condition that the remodeling would not extend beyond the current club house footprint. Most recently, the Society Board has adopted a set of recommendations prepared by the Society staff. The recommendations mirror the Memoradum developed last fall by the Friends of the Mounds and identify the need for improved visitation, signage, community involvement,community involvement, and preservation. The recommendations also call for joining the three separate preserved remnants of the Newark Works to form a united site complex called the Newark Earthworks State Memorial. Also called for is a cultural resources management evaluation and future plan for the expanded park. The Society has already submitted proposals to the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historical Preservation for funds to hire an outside contractor to perform this work. I and other participants in the Friends meetings wrote supporting letters. As the Octagon State Memorial park story unfolds, I am more and more convinced that it shows that grass roots involvement in preservation issues can be effective and that diverse interests can work together productively to help preserve the archaeological traces of the cultural past.

On another front, the OAC will provide support for an Ohio Archaeology Week again this year. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office will also contribute funds. As last year, the program is spear-headed by Sandy Yee and SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park. The number of participating groups is growing and the involvement of OAC members and their employers will naturally be appreciated.

The Board continues to struggle with the Web site and the conference publication problems. The Web page is the easiest of the two and we may have the site up and running by the May mey meeting. The publication problem is more complex and I have asked Mark Seeman to meet with the organizers of our last three conferences and find a solution. As you know, the problem is not with book sales; "First Discovery" and "View from the Core" are nearly sold out, and sales of "Cultures Before Contact" are brisk. What we need is a way to relieve the editors of the tedious and time-consuming jobs of manuscript review and production oversight.

Another issue under discussion by the Board is the grants money available through the Council. This opportunity is underused. Frank Cowan, Chair of the Grants Committee, is publicizing the grants program with a note in this Newsletter and a presentation at the May business meeting. As long as we have the money, we would like to see it go to research. When this fund was started, the idea was that not only might it help supplement support from other sources, but stimulate thought on a small project that could be funded completely by the Council. Some possibilities that come to mind are travel to museums to study collections, to conduct and report a regional survey, build a data base for posting on the Web, photo documentation of architectural styles in a county, and oral histories. There must be hundreds more. Here is your chance to do something outside your normal routine, with financial help from the Council.

Regarding the May members meeting date, the Boe Board decided on May 11. This is a week earlier than normal because we did not want to conflict with the National Park Service's annual remote sensing workshop. This event is being held at the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park in Ross County during the third week of May. At least two officers plan to attend, and potentially many other members are as well. This is a great opportunity to have hands-on training in geophysics and remote sensing techniques. I hope that the 40 places in the workshop fill up with Ohio archaeologists. This technology should become routine in CRM work, as it is in many European countries. American archaeology, however, has been slow to adopt it. The NPS workshop is helping to overcome our backwardness. So, look into attending. The fee is nominal for what you get, and there is no overlapping OAC meeting.

Finally, let me encourage members to come to the spring meeting. Gray and Pape, Inc. are putting together what promises to be a stimulating program on survey methodology in Ohio. Come also so we can have a quorum and vote on the proposal to amend the by-laws to streamline the membership application process.

 

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