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Welcome to the Ohio Archaeological Council

The Ohio Archaeological Council is a private, non-profit corporation registered with the State of Ohio in 1975 as a charitable scientific and educational organization promoting the advancement of archaeology in Ohio. The Ohio Archaeological Council consists of professional archaeologists, avocational archaeologists, and interested students of Ohio archaeology. Membership is open to all persons and institutions with an interest in Ohio archaeology. Click here to learn more about the OAC.

  • Find information about conferences, lectures, and other special events involving Ohio archaeology and archaeologists.
  • Catch up on news about Ohio archaeology and the OAC.
  • Investigate archaeological research in Ohio.
  • Learn about Ohio archaeology and initiatives for teachers and students.
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The Third Chillicothe Conference on Hopewell Archaeology - Program and Abstracts

Schedule of Presentations

May 13, 2016


Please click on the link below for the complete schedule listing and presentation- poster abstracts.

Hopewell Conference Final Program and Abstracts.pdf

April is National Safe Digging Month

April is National Safe Digging Month. The Ohio Archaeological Council reminds you of the importance of digging in a safe, responsible way by calling 8-1-1 before you dig.

In Ohio, any penetration of the ground with any hand or mechanical tool for an archaeological activity is digging and requires calling at least 48 hours and up to 10 days (not including weekends or legal holidays) before digging. Archaeologists are subject to fines and/or other penalties if the law is not followed.

To learn more about Ohio’s call-before-you-dig process visit the Ohio

Utilities Protection Service’s website at, the Ohio Oil and Gas Producers Underground Protection Service’s website at, or call 8-1-1 or (800) 362-2764.

Reminder that Conference Registration is Still Open

OAC's Third Hopewell Conference

Hopewell Research in the Twenty-first Century: Ohio and Beyond

May 13 and 14, 2016 in Chillicothe, Ohio

Join us for our third regional conference on Hopewell Archaeology. This two-day event will feature presentations by Hopewell researchers from Ohio and across the Midwest. Presenters will discuss new insights into the lifeways of this most intriguing complex of ancient Ohio cultures, as well as synthesize the large body of data that have accumulated since the last Hopewell conference in 1993. Additional events include a Saturday evening banquet with keynote presentation by recognized Hopewell scholar, Dr. Mark Seeman. The bus tour has been cancelled.

Click on the link below to view and print the registration form:

OAC 2016 Conference Registration Form Final.pdf

Registration and banquet fees will be refunded, less a $5 administration fee, if cancellation is received in writing no later than April 20, 2016.  After that date, registration and banquet payments are non-refundable.  All refunds will be processed after the conference.

Please send registration form and payment to:

Treasurer, Ohio Archaeological Council

P.O. Box 82012,

Columbus OH  43202


Click on the link below to view and print the program of presentations:

Hopewell Conference Final Program and Abstracts.pdf


OAC Comments on Archivist Protocols

The Society of American Archivists (SAA) is a professional association organized in 1936 to continue the growth and advancement of the archival profession.  It was founded to “promote sound principles of archival economy and to facilitate cooperation among archivists and archival agencies.”  The SAA is open to archivists responsible for all sizes and kinds of archives (for more information, see  Because archives are the repositories for all varieties of records, photographs, maps, notes, and journals as well as three-dimensional objects (which may be artifacts or in some cases, human remains), the SAA hosted a meeting with Native Americans, historians, and archivists in order to discuss a more even-handed approach to the Native American materials held in their archives.  The proposed Protocols for Native American Archive Materials were posted, and comments from interested parties were sought (see    


The Board of Trustees of the Ohio Archaeological Council decided that it was important to send our comments to the proposed Protocols, because in many cases archaeologists spend great amounts of time searching archives for information to assist us with our interpretation of the past.  Although the Trustees believe that the framers of the Protocols are to be commended for their desire to be inclusive, there are several portions of the Protocols that disregard the interests of other stakeholders. 



Dr. Frank Boles, Director

Clarke Historical Library

Central Michigan University

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


17 December 2007


Dear Dr. Boles,

The Ohio Archaeological Council (OAC) is a private, non-profit, scientific, and educational membership organization whose mission is to promote the advancement of archaeology in Ohio.  The majority of our members are professional archaeologists working in private, for-profit cultural resource management firms and private and public sector, non-profit universities, museums, and government agencies, some of which are defined as museums and Federal agencies in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).  While few or none of our membership are members of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), many of the institutions with which our members are associated contain archival materials, which are encompassed by your draft "Protocols for Native American Archival Materials."  Moreover, all of our members rely on these materials to interpret America's ancient past.  Therefore, we see ourselves as important stakeholders in this discussion.

In the spirit of the statement on your website, in which you "…call broadly for comment on the Protocols because the Protocols encompass some significant and substantial changes in archival theory and practice," we offer the following comments, because the changes proposed will profoundly affect the ability of archaeologists to access and utilize the critical information on America's ancient past housed in archives across the United States and Canada.

We note that no archaeologists are represented as contributors to the development of the Protocols and would urge you to seek further comment from archaeologists, historians, and other stakeholders outside of your organization before you formally adopt such "significant and substantial changes in archival theory and practice."

Many of the recommendations contained in this document are worthwhile improvements in the handling of Native American archival materials.  A few are worrisomely ambiguous and others are extremely problematic.

On page 2, the document indicates that “Institutions and communities are encouraged to adopt and adapt the culturally responsive recommendations to suit local needs.”  This attitude is commendable on the face of it, but is possibly dangerous, in that it will result in these recommendations being applied in an unequal fashion across the United States and Canada.  The application of NAGPRA itself is subject to “revision and enhancement,” but only through legal processes. 

On page 6, in the section “Building relationships of mutual respect,” the document suggests that, “if a Native American collection is out of scope, transfer the collection to the community or the closest archives at the tribe or band’s request.”  Since such an action could remove irrevocably the material from a publicly accessible archive, the decision making process should include an independent assessment of its historical significance.  

On page 8, the document offers an analogy between extant archives of "restricted materials, classified materials, secret materials, or materials that may not be accessed until some future date" and culturally sensitive Native American material that might be "restricted or repatriated to the culturally affiliated group" or even intentionally allowed to degrade.  The OAC considers this analogy to be invalid.  The examples offered demonstrate that library/museum archives have the operational means to restrict access to certain materials, but they do not provide a justification for doing so in this case.  We believe it would be unethical for a library, archive, or museum to allow materials held in the public trust to be indefinitely restricted from the public, surrendered to special interest groups, or destroyed in the furtherance of narrow and unspecifiable ("secret") cultural/religious interests.

On page 8, the document urges archives and libraries to conform policies relating to the access and use of relevant collections to "Native American approaches."  In at least one case with which we are familiar, menstruating women were to be kept from certain materials.  The OAC regards such a policy as sexist, patronizing, and an outrageous invasion of privacy.  If an archive or library attempted to enforce such a policy, it could be subject to legal action.  Yet this is the sort of thing that blind conformance to "Native American approaches" conceivably might entail.

On page 10, it is not clear what is meant by the statement that archives and libraries should "rethink the need for 'credentials' from patrons"?  Does this mean that if access to a collection were restricted to "Native Americans," then anyone who identified themselves as a Native American would be allowed access to the material?  NAGPRA regulations require that museums and Federal agencies interact with federally-recognized tribes and nations.  Consultation with and subsequent repatriation to groups that are not federally recognized (i.e., state recognized tribes or groups) could create difficulties in subsequent collaboration and consultation with those groups that are federally recognized.

On page 12, the examples of "kinds of archival materials" that "may be culturally sensitive from a Native American perspective" include "human remains," "archaeological objects (especially if from burials)," and "archaeological data."  The tone of this document suggests that access to all such material reasonably might be restricted by archives, libraries, or museums.  NAGPRA requires that groups claiming human remains for repatriation must be able to demonstrate that they are culturally affiliated with those remains.  These protocols at least should require a similar demonstration of relationship before public access and institutional control over archival materials are relinquished.  Regardless, the idea that archaeological data, reports, and photographs (usually funded with public money) routinely could be sequestered and even removed from publicly accessible archives is deeply disturbing.  Such a policy could be devastating to disciplines such as archaeology and history.

On page 13, in the section titled “Providing Context,” it is suggested that archivists “remove offensive terms from original titles and provide substitute language (e.g., replace “squaw” or “buck” with [woman] or [man]).”  While it is clear that such terms are offensive at this time to many (including many non-Native American peoples), actually changing the wording of documents that are a product of their time is reprehensible.  This type of editing applies current-day morals and standards to documents that were created in the past.  Rather than participating in this kind of censorship, it is our opinion that the archive should “add explanations of derogatory words to original titles (e.g., [title created by xxxx in xxxx year]).”  In this way, the document will continue to exist in its original format, which is a part of the purpose of archiving a document.

The OAC commends the SAA for its work of consulting with Native Americans regarding the materials, which they regard as sensitive, held in archives across the United States and Canada.  Archaeologists, museum curators, and Native American representatives have had nearly 20 years of working with each other during the implementation of NAGPRA.  This law, while not considered perfect, has provided a way for the people and institutions that are integrally involved in preserving the past for the future to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with Native Americans.  The Protocols are a commendable step in the same direction, but should be considered carefully prior to their implementation.  Implementing the Protocols as currently written could result in the irreparable loss of much hard earned knowledge about ancient and historic Native American cultures.  The OAC urges the SAA not to follow such an extreme course without undertaking more extensive consultation with stakeholders, such as archaeologists and historians.  Making the changes proposed without this consultation will hurt all future attempts to reconstruct or understand entire past cultures, thus affecting the shared heritage of humankind.


Sincerely yours,

Lynn M. Simonelli, M.A.

President, Ohio Archaeological Council

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Hancock Receives 2007 Board of Directors Award

At the 2007 OAC Fall Membership meeting, President Elliot Abrams presented John Hancock with the OAC's 2007 Board of Directors Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the advancement of Ohio archaeology through his work with the Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historical and Archaeological Sites (CERHAS).
Hancock (l) receives award from President Abrams
Prior to receiving the award, John Hancock addressed the OAC business meeting luncheon with an update on a current CERHAS project.  
Hancock addresses the membership.