May 7, 2021, Spring Members Meeting

It is once again time for our spring members meeting, which will be virtually hosted on May 7th from 9:30 to 14:30. I am excited to see some of the presenters for this meeting, including the panel discussion that will be kicking off the meeting. Our meeting will be held via Webex, hosted by president Kevin Nolan. Members will receive an email invitation to the Zoom and Webex meetings in advance of May 7.

We are also trying out a virtual poster session, held during the lunch hour. The poster authors will be available for questions, and if necessary, we will create breakout rooms on Zoom. The posters can be viewed at the following site: You do not need an account to access the posters, and you do not need an account to post comments. You can visit the site as often as you would like so long as you have the link. 

For the public, we will be live streaming the meeting, except the OAC business meeting, on the OAC youtube channel: For those members of the public who wish to speak at the meeting, there will also be a Zoom meeting, hosted by president Nolan. See below for a full list of presenters and abstracts. We look forward to seeing you there!


Time  slot  Presenter  Topic
 9:30  Al Tonetti, Kevin Nolan, Jarrod Burks, Thomas Grooms Geophyisics as a Viable Tool in Phase 1 Archaeological Investigations: Bringing Ohio Archaeology Into the 21st Century
 10:30   Jarrod Burks  There’s More than One Way to Make a Great Circle: Magnetic Survey Results from the Deer Creek Circle and the Bertsch Site
 11:00   Elizabeth Hoag Update on the Shaker Dig program, Shaker Heights, Ohio. 
 11:30   Kevin Nolan Newark Earthworks and Virtual World Heritage Ohio: Introduction to a Prototype, Multi-audience Virtual World Experience 
 12:00     Lunch
 1:00   Jeb Bowen  Hopewellian, Chesser and Jack's Reef Point Distributions in South-Central Ohio
 1:30     OAC Business Meeting
2:30   Adjorn


Presentation Abstracts

There’s More than One Way to Make a Great Circle: Magnetic Survey Results from the Deer Creek Circle and the Bertsch Site

Jarrod Burks

Great Circles are one of the more common large earthwork types in the Middle Ohio Valley. They occur as stand-alone ditch-and-embankment enclosures, often 1000 feet or more in diameter, or are attached to other large enclosures. In the winter of 2020-2021, the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy conducted magnetic gradiometer surveys at two Woodland period earthwork sites with Great Circles: the Deer Creek Circle and Bertsch. This presentation explores the results of the surveys and contextualizes these two distinct interpretations of the Great Circle class of earthen enclosure. The Deer Creek Circle is located in northern Ross County, OH and was only recently discovered in aerial photographs by David Lamp. In addition to the enclosure, the magnetic data also reveal two possible structures and an intriguing array of large pit features. Bertsch is a well known site in eastern Indiana with nearly three dozen small enclosures, some of which are arranged in a pattern echoing the Great Circles of southern and central Ohio. Though located some distance outside the main concentrations of large earthwork complexes in the region, the Bertsch site monuments show that the shift to large enclosure use and construction was realized in a variety of ways.

Geophysics as a Viable Tool in Phase 1 Archaeological Investigations: Bringing Ohio Archaeology Into the 21st Century

Al Tonetti (Moderator). Panelists: Kevin Nolan, Jarrod Burks, Thomas Grooms

This panel discussion will examine the efficacy of using archaeological geophysics in Phase 1 field investigations to identify archaeological “sites” (a construct we may re-examine at another time) eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, called “historic properties”. The primary question explored is under what circumstances in regulatory processes (e.g., 36 CFR Part 800/Section 106 and ORC 149.53) is magnetic gradiometry (and/or other geophysical instrumentation) a Phase 1 survey best practice for complying with the Section 106 standard of making a reasonable and good faith effort to identify historic properties archaeological in nature.

Hopewellian, Chesser and Jack's Reef Point Distributions in South-Central Ohio

Jeb Bowen

The distributions of Hopewellian (1600 to 1900 years), Chesser (1600 to 1300 years) and Jack's Reef (1300 to 1100 years) Points within south-central Ohio are mapped. The similarities and differences are discussed in terms of settlement/land-use patterns, as well as sampling and reporting biases and inconsistencies.

Update on the Shaker Dig program, Shaker Heights, Ohio

Elizabeth Hoag

The Shaker Dig youth program is about to enter its 7th consecutive summer at the Shaker Historical Museum. I offer here an update about how we have managed to keep the program alive throughout the past year as we navigated a number of challenges, including how to engage with the public and with young people through a pandemic, and our hopeful and ambitious plans going forward. 

Newark Earthworks and Virtual World Heritage Ohio: Introduction to a Prototype, Multi-audience Virtual World Experience

Kevin C. Nolan, John Fillwalk, Brad Lepper, Jennifer Aultman, Meghan Federer, Neil Zehr, Jade Moore, Christine Ballengee Morris, Brett Barnes, Marti L. Chaatsmith, and James J. Connolly

The Hopewell (ca. 1 to 400 CE) monumental earthworks were expressions of a brilliant florescence of art, architecture, ceremony, and interregional interaction unparalleled in contemporary North America. “Hopewell” societies participated in a sophisticated interaction sphere that likely involved a mixture of gift-giving, pilgrimage offerings, extraordinary journeys by individuals and small groups, and trade. These places of aggregation, celebration, and renewal are now severed from these functions. It is no longer possible to experience and investigate the original forms of these monuments. The barriers of time and space limit various audiences (e.g., tribal citizens, K-12 schools, researchers) from being able to interact with and learn from these earthworks. New digital technologies provide opportunities to overcome these challenges through virtual Hopewellian built environments.

The Newark Earthworks, the preeminent example of Hopewellian geometric earthworks, consists of four large enclosures connected by avenues of parallel walls enveloping more than 3.9 mi2. The complex inscribes intricate knowledge of the celestial ecosystem into the site geometry. Precisely inscribing these alignments on the ground, required extensive planning and exquisite knowledge of the sky’s various cycles.

The Applied Anthropology Laboratories and the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts, in partnership with the Ohio History Connection, The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology, and a project Advisory Board, with a Level II Digital Humanities Advancement Grant (HAA-269032-20), develop an interactive 3D simulation to advance scholarship on, and public engagement with the Newark Earthworks, specifically, and Ohio’s Hopewell ceremonial centers, generally. We present an introductory overview of Virtual World Heritage Ohio and a discussion of our progress to-date.

Poster Abstracts

Identifying and Mapping the Chaine Operatoire:  ASC’s Phase III Investigations of a Cobble Chert Quarry/Workshop site, Brown County, Ohio 

Kevin Schwarz

Recently, ASC Group, Inc. completed a multi-season Phase III investigation of the Yates site, an 11-ac multicomponent prehistoric site next to White Oak Creek in Brown County, Ohio. The site combines elements of Late Archaic and Late Woodland camp sites with a small-scale low-intensity quarry/workshop for cobble chert. It appears that the quarry and workshop component was utilized most intensively in the Early Archaic period (10,000 BC-ca. 5800 BC) and Late Archaic period (3500 BC-800 BC) and, most likely, usage tailed off during the Woodland period (800 BC-AD 900. Attempts to disentangle the habitation and quarry/workshop components of the site led to use of two analytical techniques: 1) the development of chaine operatoire diagrams for a divergent lithic reduction sequence; and, 2) mapping and spatial statistical analysis of debitage and tools. First, I focus on a composite chaine operatoire (operator chain), which is a flow chart, that identifies the bifacial reduction continuum and how expedient tools are often created as co-products incident to the bifacial tradition.  The bifacial reduction continuum is better studied and expedient tool making techniques are poorly known. The spatial distribution of cobbles, intermediate products like cores, hammerstones, chert tools, and debitage then were mapped in relation to the swales from which raw materials were gathered. The Local Indicator of Spatial Association (LISA), a spatial statistical technique, was applied to cortical and non-cortical debitage. The results demonstrate where decortication of chert cobbles was occurring and consequently how the sequencing of lithic reduction operations  played out across the site.  This research improves our knowledge of expedient and low-intensity lithic processing technology. 

The Hilliard Site, Cuyahoga County, Ohio 

Eric Olson

The Hilliard site was first documented by Arthur Smith circa 1908 at the corner of Hilliard Road and Indianola Avenue in Rocky River, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Smith published several accounts of his investigations of the site spanning roughly 50 years in Ohio Archaeologist. Recently, part of Smith’s collection was rediscovered at the University of Akron archaeology laboratory. Though the information and collection are small, these artifacts represent a handful of archaeological investigations within the entire Rocky River watershed.



Latest News

by Eric Olson on October 12, 2021
by Kevin Schwarz on May 10, 2021