Ohio Archaeology Week: The Fourth Year
June 15-21, 2003
Linda Whitman, Chair
OAC Education Committee
A successful, however, smaller Ohio Archaeology Week took place June 15-21, 2003. The OAC Education Committee met over the past winter to set the event in motion. As in the past, requests were made to OAC and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office for support of personnel and/or finances for the week. Contributing organizations/sponsors for this year's Ohio Archaeology Week were Eastern National and the Archaeology Department of the Cleveland Museum of Natural. A change in leadership occurred in March as Sandy Yee left for a position in Guam. Linda Whitman, University of Akron, took over the Education Committee and the event happened smoothly with the help of the committee members.
Requests for Participation, and Evaluation forms were sent to all OAC members and other historians, prehistorians and archaeologists throughout the state. As event proposals were submitted they were compiled into listings by geographic area by Sandy Yee. The poster and brochure designs were created by Jarrod Burks whose time and talents were donated to Ohio Archaeology Week by the Hopewell Culture NHP. Five hundred posters and 1,000 brochures were printed by Signature Printing of Dayton. The poster's image, provided by Frank Cowan, is an aerial photograph of the Stubbs Earthworks salvage excavation surrounded by smaller, action shots. The posters were mailed out in May and distributed at the Spring Membership meeting to all contributors, contact persons, and those requesting copies. Matt Purtill of Gray and Pape designed a generic statewide public service announcement and has begun creating a database for media distribution.
The brochure listed eight organizations or sites that provided programs over the course of the week with approximately 1,410 plus people attended archaeology related events:
Brian Redmond reported that the Cleveland Museum of Natural History had 298 people in attendance on June 21st for Archaeology Day, with artifact displays and exhibits on Museum excavations, primitive technology demonstrations, artifact identification, and hands-on activities with prehistoric tools.
At the Twinsburg Park and Nature Preserve, Linda Whitman reported 75 people attended Archaeology Day June 21st for activities including artifact exhibits of projects conducted by the Community Archaeology Program. Other programs were conducted by members of the Chippewa Valley, Cuyahoga Valley, and Sugar Creek chapters of the OAS and included flint knapping, artifact identification, hands-on historic artifact processing and other activities for children. The event was sponsored by the City of Twinsburg, The University of Akron, and Summit County Metro Parks.
Andrew Schneider reported that the Taylor Site Prehistoric Village Excavation had seven people pre-register to volunteer at the site on June 15th. This event was sponsored by the Western Lake Erie Archaeological Research Program at the University of Toledo.
In Cincinnati, Gray and Pape, Inc. held an open house on June 20th highlighting several archaeological projects they have undertaken in the Cincinnati area. The 32 people who attended mostly responded to a direct invitation to the event.
Bob Genheimer reported that an unknown number of visitors at the Cincinnati Museum Center viewed a semi-permanent, interactive video that takes the viewer on a virtual guided tour of ancient earthwork complexes that once stood throughout the Ohio Valley region. These unknown numbers of visitors for the June 21st viewing are the "plus" in the total number of visitors.
Jack Blosser reported that 55 people gathered on June 21st to mark the summer solstice sunrise at the Fort Ancient State Memorial.
At Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Rick Perkins, Chief Ranger, reported that there were 482 visitors in attendance at their June 21st Archaeology Day activities including pottery making, story telling, atlatl throwing, flint knapping, artifact identification and tours of the site as well as to the Hopeton Earthworks and the Hopewell Mound Group sites.
Andy Sawyer reported that the June 21st Archaeology Day at SunWatch offered 461 visitors Native American story telling, crafts, food, pottery, basketry, and tool making demonstrations as well as a simulated excavation to learn about the excavation and reconstruction of the village.
Evaluation forms were emailed to participants querying the effectiveness of the posters and brochures for advertising the events. Most respondents thought the poster and brochure advertising was effective. However, better public response to individual events was attributed to advertising in local media (newspapers and radio), local institutions (libraries, universities, museum and university web pages), or by direct invitation.
Suggestions for making Ohio Archaeology Week more successful for the future were also solicited with very interesting results: encourage more and varied events around the state by directly contacting ASO chapters and other institutional groups who have not participated in the past; encourage OHPO participation beyond monetary donations; change the timing to the event to engage school age children as a function of their education especially with the new Ohio Dept. of Education Standards for teaching Social Studies; solicit more donations including our membership and CRM firms; utilize direct invitation; advertise more.
Being a firm believer that the event should occur during the academic year so that school aged children can participate as part of their curriculum without competition from summer time activities, I set out to research when other states hold their archaeology day, week or month. I found this information on the NPS website www.cr.nps.gov/aad/public/statearc.htm. Quick calculations of the 41 states with an active program indicate that the months of October with 13 states and May with 10 states had the higher number programs. Ohio is the only state with a summer (June, July, August) program. A possible change in the timing of this program will be brought up at the next committee meeting.
Postscript: At the Dec. 5, 2003 OAC Board meeting, the Board voted to change the June Ohio Archaeology Week to an October Ohio Archaeology Month. The decline in programs and public participation in 2003 is seen to be in part due to competition with a myriad of other summertime activities. To insure a more successful outcome, the expansion of the event to the entire month of October will allow us to better engage school age children as a function of their education especially with the new Ohio Dept. of Education Standards for teaching Social Studies and allow more time for educational programs to be sponsored around the state.