News from OAC

Emergency grants available to Ohio archaeology institutions

Ohio Humanities will continue accepting grant applications for regular projects as listed on grants page.Ohio Humanities will be providing $750,000 in emergency relief grants for historical societies, museums, and other cultural organizations affected by COVID-19 health crisis. Funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the grants will help mitigate revenue losses, maintain staffing levels, and protect collections. Applications for emergency grants will be available beginning on May 1; the first deadline for submission will be May 15, with first awards by June 1. Funding will continue to be available throughout the summer. Later in the year, additional grants will be available to help cultural organizations deliver programs that maintain the health safety of patrons during a post-pandemic environment. Ohio Humanities staff are available by email to help applicants navigate the application process to access emergency funding Ohio Humanities will continue accepting grant applications for regular projects as listed on grants page.

The CARES Act, passed by Congress on March 27, included $75 million emergency funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Forty percent of that amount has been distributed to the 56 state and territorial humanities councils to support local relief efforts. In late March, NEH reported that the anchors of the creative economy such as museums and historical societies were reporting losses of $1 billion every month as facilities were closed and educational programs were canceled.

The Ohio History Connection is developing an Ohio History Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grants program for 501(c)(3) history organizations. The application will be available at  after May 1. Applications will be due June 1 and grant awards made will be made mid-July. Funds must be expended by Nov. 30, 2020. Ohio History Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grants will range from $500-$3,000 and be based on the applicant’s budget size. Unlike regular History Fund grants, COVID-19 Emergency Grants are intended to supplement operational costs, such as payroll and utilities. Applicants can also use grants to adapt programs for on-line audiences, such as K-12. There is no match required. Grant funds are limited. See the application when released, for details.

Virtual Spring Meeting

Due to the health risks of COVID-19, the Ohio Archaeological Council's spring member's meeting for May 1st, 2020, has been re-formatted so that members can tune in to watch and comment online. Our program includes three presentations, modified from the original Spring Meeting presenter schedule, a panel discussion, and our usual business meeting. The abbreviated program will be broadcast live on the Cuyahoga Community College Anthropology streaming channel on The stream will run from 10 AM to 1 PM EST. You can find the channel by searching TriCAnthropology on twitch or by clicking the following link at the time of the stream: If you would like to comment in the live chat during the presentation, for questions or comments, you will need to create an account. Otherwise, the stream is free to watch. For voting during the business meeting, we ask that members create account names with some way of identifying who they are so we may tally votes, or include in their chat response their name if their username does not indicate who they are. For a full list of presenters and schedule, see the table below. If you have questions, comments, or concerns about the format/delivery of our virtual spring meeting, please email president-elect Eric Olson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hope you can tune in with us! 

Eric Olson

Time Slot Presenter Topic
10:00  Jarrod Burks An update on 2019/2020 winter survey work at several Ohio Earthworks.
10:20  Kevin Schwarz

Update: Temporal Hygiene and Bayesian Analysis of Columbus Southerly Waste WaterTreatment Plant sites and Regional Comparison sites.

10:40  Kevn Nolan Information Potential and Criterion D of the NRHP.
11:00  Panel Discussion Archaeological Engagement online: from data mining to tweeting.
12:00  OAC Board OAC Business Meeting
1:00    Adjourn


History Fund Grants Awarded for Archaeology Projects

History Fund grants were recently awarded on Statehood Day. According to The Local Historian (Vol. 36[2], March/April 2020), two of this year’s eight History Fund grants were for archaeology-related projects.

 The Cincinnati Museum Center received $10,000 for the project “Rehabilitation of Deteriorated Storage Containers for Fort Ancient-age Artifacts.” The project will re-bag, retag, and reorganize artifacts in 194 boxes from four Fort Ancient village sites in the Cincinnati area. The original artifact bags from the 1930s-1950s, with accompanying field notes, are made of brown paper or plastic and are unstable. The old containers are in danger of rupturing and spilling their culturally significant contents, thereby losing associations and notes from field studies. The project preserves the artifacts and their notes by rehousing the artifacts in archivally safe containers and re-recording the notes on stable formats. Without this project, information about the cultures who created these objects could be lost. This well-planned project, managed by the applicant’s curator of archaeology and conducted by its NAGPRA coordinator and tribal liaison, is urgent.

The Fort Recovery Historical Society received $8,303 for the project “Digital Exhibit of Fort Recovery Historical Society’s Precontact Collection,” a Story Map app. The project will enable the society to share more engaging information about artifacts of American Indian life before Europeans arrived. The app will include photos, 3D scans, videos, timeline, and cultural context for more than 1,000 objects society’s Precontact collection. Moreover, the app will provide access to this collection for both visitors and non-visitors. The project is a collaboration between the Fort Recovery Historical Society and Applied Anthropology Laboratories at Ball State University. Once complete, the app will be freely available on the websites of the Fort Recovery Historical Society and Applied Anthropology Laboratories.

The Ohio History Fund Supports Ohio Archaeology Projects. Please Support the History Fund

The Ohio History Connection’s History Fund grant program is one of the few grant programs in the state just for archaeology, history, and preservation projects, and it needs your help to make more grants. If you receive a refund on your Ohio income taxes, please consider donating a portion of it to the “Ohio History Fund” tax “check-off,” line 26f on your state tax return

 The Ohio History Fund has made 10 archaeology-related grants since it was established in 2012, totaling more than $100,000. These have included surveys and studies of ice-age sites in  northeast Ohio by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Kent State University (2013, 2015, 2018), studies Hopewell period ceramic and stone artifacts at the University of Akron (2017), and exhibit upgrades at SunWatch Village in Dayton (2014, 2017). 

 Click here for a list of all grant recipients. 

 Your donation and those of your friends, relatives, and thousands of others makes possible grants for local history projects throughout Ohio. Since the Ohio History Fund started in 2012, it has made 81 grants in 40 counties for a total of $780,469 (as of February 2019). Proving that there is a great need for the History Fund, it has received 388 grant applications from 66 counties, totaling almost $4.7 million in requests!

 Not receiving a tax refund? You can still help: buy an Ohio History mastodon license plate. Twenty dollars from the sale of each set of plates benefits the Ohio History Fund grant program. 

 Applications for next year’s History Fund grants will posted in June. The deadline for proposals fall in late August - early September. For more on application availability and grant deadlines, see “How does my organization apply for an Ohio History Fund grant?” by clicking here.

Government Affairs Committee Report to Members, October 18, 2019

Al Tonetti, Chair

Andy Sewell, Lauren Sieg, and Mike Striker, Committee Members

State Issues

Ohio Underground Damage Prevention Coalition.

Subcommittees of the coalition continue to meet discussing possible changes to Ohio’s “call before you dig”/underground utilities protection law. Subcommittees will report their findings and make recommendations to the Coalition early next year.

Human Burial Places Protection Bill.

On June 11, State Representatives Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) held an interested party meeting to discuss the bill. Among the groups in attendance were the Archaeological Society of Ohio, Ohio Farm Bureau, and Ohio Realtors Association. They expressed opposition to the draft bill. Based on some of the objections raised, revisions to the draft bill have been proposed and the OAC and Ohio History Connection/State Historic Preservation Office (OHC/SHPO) continue to work with the state representatives and the Legislative Service Commission on it.

Archaeology Guidelines Update.

SHPO continues to work on revisions, hopefully developing a draft next year. SHPO wants to make the revised guidelines more user-friendly and easily updated on their website with links to best practices and other useful documents. New guidelines on geophysical survey, photogrammetry, tribal consultation and NAGPRA, human remains, submerged resources, and integration with the history/architecture guidelines are the focus.

History Fund Update.

In 2019, the Ohio History Fund has raised $97,034, slightly ahead of this time last year. Last year netted $99,119. The History Fund grant application deadline was September 4. Since 2012, the History Fund has made more than $690,000 in grants to 73 organizations in nearly half of Ohio's 88 counties. The History Fund has received 347 grant applications totaling almost $4.2 million in requests. Applications for archaeological projects are encouraged. 

Statehood Day.

Will occur on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. An initial planning meeting was held on October 2. Capital improvements and the human burial places bill will be among the legislative priorities.

Tribal Nations Conference.

Will occur October 22-24. OHC/SHPO will update the tribes on the human burial places legislation.

Wyandot Mission Church and Cemetery.

Recently, the United Methodist Global Ministries returned ownership of/deeded three acres of land containing the mission church and cemetery in Upper Sandusky, Wyandot County, to the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma. In 1843, the Wyandotte deeded the land to the Missionary Society of the Methodist Church, the forerunner to today's United Methodist Global Ministries, to protect it when the federal government removed the tribe from Ohio. State Rep. Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky) read a commendation from his colleagues in the statehouse.

Federal Issues


 In June the House passed the 2020 Interior-Environment funding bill. It includes $121.66 million for the Historic Preservation Fund, a $19 million increase over last year and $89 million more than President Trump requested. Funds include:

  • $53,675,000 for State Historic Preservation Offices, an increase of $4 million
  • $13,735,000 for Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, plus-$2 million
  • $23,250,000 for competitive grants to document, interpret, and preserve historical sites associated with the struggle for civil rights, plus-$8 million
  • $750,000 for grants to under-represented communities$16,000,000 to the Save America’s Treasures grant program, plus-3 million
  • $167.5 million for both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The full Senate has yet to pass the bill, but the Senate Appropriations Committee generally reduces the increase in funding in these program areas. Differences will be resolved in conference. The Federal Government is again operating under a continuing resolution. Congress and the President will have to negotiate a deal to keep the Federal Government open beyond November 21. 

S. 2430, Paving the Way for Rural Communities of 2019 Act. 

Recently, Senators Blackburn (R-TN), Perdue (R-GA), and Hyde-Smith (R-MS) introduced S. 2430. The bill would remove compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act for federally funded projects or activities in any area of the country that is not part of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA). In Ohio, this would remove compliance in 50 of Ohio’s 88 counties, all of them rural. S. 2430 was referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. No hearings on the bill have occurred. We will work with our partners at the federal level, particularly the Coalition for American Heritage and the Society for American Archaeology, in opposing this bill.

H.R. 1179, African American Burial Grounds Network Act.

Introduced on February 13, 2019, the bill has 42 cosponsors including Ohio Reps. Balderson (R-Troy), Beatty (D-Columbus), Fudge (D-Cuyahoga and Summit counties), and Turner (R-Dayton). In May the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a hearing on the bill. It would create within the National Park Service the African American Burial Grounds Network that would:

  • Create a voluntary, nationwide database of historic African American burial grounds, with the consent of the property owner;
  • Provide technical assistance to local public, private, state, and local partners to research, survey, identify, record, preserve, evaluate, and interpret these burial grounds;
  • Make available grants for local groups to research, survey, identify, record, and aid in the preservation of sites within the Network; and
  • Establish educational materials for community members, local groups, and schools about African American burial grounds.

In June, the OAC joined 72 other local, state, and national organizations, including six from Ohio, in a letter of support for the bill to the Subcommittee and the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.R. 3846/S. 2165, Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act.

Bipartisan bills to explicitly bar and establish penalties for knowingly exporting Native American cultural items that were obtained in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, or both. The bills have been referred to the House Natural Resources, Judiciary, and Foreign Affairs Committees; and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, respectively. The House bill has 15 cosponsors, none from Ohio.  Recently, a hearing on the bill was held by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. The Senate bill has 9 cosponsors, none from Ohio. It has not had a hearing.

Section 106 Consultation Updates 

Judge Barker House: USACE project, Washington County. Archaeology at the NRHP-listed building has been completed without finding anything of significance. There is ongoing consultation between the USACE, SHPO, local, state, and national preservation organizations, state and federal legislators, and others concerning the project. Relocation of the property is no longer being considered. Transfer of ownership of the building to a local nonprofit organization is likely. The OAC will be a concurring party on the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding the property.

Maumee River Bridge: USACE/ODOT project, Henry County. The MOA has been executed and data recovery completed at site 33HY167. The Miami Tribe is an invited signatory on the MOA; the OAC and Eastern Shawnee Tribe are concurring parties. The MOA included a stipulation to prepare an article about the archaeological investigations for an unspecified peer-reviewed journal.

Zoar Levee and Diversion Dam repair: USACE project, Tuscarawas County. Consultation on impacts to the Zoar Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. The USACE and their archaeological consultants have conducted archaeological investigations in the project area. The Phase 1 survey report including geomorphological, geophysical, deep trenching, and shovel test pit investigations will be reviewed in the next few weeks. No direct impacts to archaeological sites are foreseen. A Programmatic Agreement (PA) was executed in 2016. Tonetti attended a consulting party meeting in Zoar on October 17.

Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath: USACE project, Summit County. Mitigation of adverse effects to 33SU679, an intact portion of original towpath, have been completed. We are a concurring party on the MOA.

Gorge Metro Park Dam: USEPA project, Summit County (Metro Parks). Removal of Gorge Dam in Cuyahoga River. The OAC submitted comments on reports addressing the identification of historic properties. We are a consulting party on the project. 

Wayne National Forest Plan Revision: Tonetti continues to participate in monthly conference calls. The assessment of current conditions phase of the revision is to be finalized this winter, with the planning development phase and Environmental Impact Statement completion scheduled for 2021.

Universal Charitable Deduction Legislation: Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) again introduced legislation (H.R. 651, the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act) creating a universal charitable deduction, i.e., available to all taxpayers. It was assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee. Ohio Rep. Turner (R-Dayton) is one of 22 cosponsors. In addition, Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), a member of the Ways and Means Committee, recently introduced H.R. 1260 to amend the IRS Code for the same purpose. The amount of charitable contributions would not be capped under the bills. They would make charitable deductions universal and above-the-line, meaning that all taxpayers can deduct charitable donations from their taxes whether they itemize or not. The Republican’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act resulted in a 1.1% decline in charitable donations by low- and moderate-income individuals. The OAC is a non-profit charitable corporation registered with the state of Ohio. The OAC is an exempt organization as described in 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, Employee Identification Number 51-0176494, and is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations to the extent allowed under applicable law.

2019 Fall OAC Meeting

The Fall Meeting of the Ohio Archaeological Council will be held at the Cedar Ridge Lodge at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on Friday, October 18th from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The schedule for the meeting and the abstracts of the papers to be presented are below.  We hope you will be able to join us for this opportunity to learn about Ohio’s Call Before You Dig law, and new findings in Ohio Archaeology.


Time Presenter Topic
9:30 OAC Coffee and Donuts
10:00 OUPS Call Before You Dig Training
11:00 OAC OAC Business meeting
12:00 Lunch On your own (maps provided)
1:30 Various Paper Presentations
3:00   Adjourn




Seaman’s Fort Excavations

Glen Boatman

The Seaman’s Fort site is situated on a bluff top near the confluence of the west branch of the Huron River and Hunt Creek in Erie County, Ohio. The approximately 2 acre site is characterized by a descending “hog-back” narrow crest between the Hunt Creek and Huron River flood plains below on the southeast and a restricted ”bottleneck” access to the northwest. The Northeast and southwest limits of the site are characterized by 25 meter drop-offs to the river and creek bottoms below. The northwest access has three parallel earthworks that are 31-34 meters in length and one to two meters high extending nearly fully across the access but for a small opening along the northeast. The earthworks have ditches between them. Likewise there were three smaller earthworks to the southeast. The site is lightly forested and was never plowed. It was used as an orchard at one time and a grazing area at another time. Past investigations are summarized, and recent investigations reported.


Non-Profit Archaeology in Greater Akron

Eric Olson

The 501c3 non-profit Stewards of Historical Preservation (SHiP) has been operating in the Akron area for two years. Eric Olson, president of SHiP, will review the challenges and needs in the Akron community that have come to light in the short time the organization has existed. Challenges include fundraising, educational outreach, public engagement, and volunteer recruitment. The challenges SHiP has faced are not unique, but nonetheless are a learning experience.


Evidence of Hopewell Feasting in a Non-Mound Context

Sean Coughlin and Tim Everhart

Excavations at the North 40 Site (33Ro338) have uncovered evidence of a large structure associated with evidence of craft production on the outskirts of Mound City. Three pit features outside the structure were excavated and the debris, raw materials, and tools of crafting were documented within. One feature, Pit 3, also contained potential evidence of a feasting event based on the ceramic and paleoethnobotanical assemblage. This presentation presents the results of the analysis of the faunal remains of the feature and how they further support the evidence of a feast in a non-mound context.

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