State Government Affairs
Of the more than 700 bills introduced into the 125th General Assembly (2003-2004), few have even indirect effects on archaeology.
The Ohio Historical Society (OHS) is schedule to report to the State Controlling Board at the Board's June meeting on how it will address the recommendations contained in the spring 2002 report of the House Select Committee Studying the Effectiveness of Ohio's Historical Programs and Partnerships. These recommendations include a few that were presented to the Select Committee by the OAC during our testimony in the fall and winter of 2001. The OAC will request a copy of OHS's report when it becomes available and will reply to the Board and General Assembly as necessary. We will make every effort to keep the membership aware of these matters and post the OHS report and our reply on the OAC website.
Late last year the Ohio Senate issued a commendation "honoring the Catawba Tribe of Carr's Run." Commendations are constituent driven, seeking recognition of achievement. They do not confer legal rights or in this case official state recognition like many other states or the Federal Government does with respect to Indian tribes. The text of the commendation reads:
"On behalf of the members of the Senate of the 125th General Assembly of Ohio, we are pleased to pay tribute to the Catawba Tribe of Carr's Run on its innumerable contributions to the State of Ohio.
Historically called Catawba by Americans, the Saponi Nation was formed when the Cayuga and Catawba tribes, led by John Logan, united in 1674 and settled in the area that became Chillicothe. Also known as the Toderigeroonies, the members of the Saponi Nation are the heirs and descendants of the former Ohio River Valley Sioux and are made up of the groups called Aganatchi, Occaneechi, Moneton, Monacan, Saponi, Tutelo, Ofo, Keyauwee, Meipontski, Stegaraki, Cheraw, Stuckenock, and Ena. The fabric of America is woven with many threads, each contributing to its strength, but lest the fabric be weakened, each nationality group must maintain pride in its identity. We applaud the Catawba Tribe of Carr's Run on retaining its ethnic heritage over the centuries and on contributing to the greater society and to Ohio history.
Thus, with sincere pleasure, we recognize the Catawba Tribe of Carr's Run and salute all those who have preserved its vital culture over the years."
Senator Doug White, President of the Ohio Senate, Senator Ray Miller, 15th Senatorial District, and Senator John A. Carey, Jr., 17th Senatorial District signed the commendation.
Federal Government Affairs
On April 19, 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected an appeal by American Indian tribes and refused to reconsider its previous ruling permitting the scientific study of Kennewick Man, a case in which the OAC filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the scientists. The Indian tribes are likely to try and appeal this matter to the U.S. Supreme Court. You can access many of the court records concerning this matter, including the OAC's friend of the court brief, at http://www.friendsofpast.org.
The May 2004 NAGPRA Review Committee meeting was cancelled because the Secretary of the Interior has not appointed members to fill three vacancies on the Review Committee. In a related matter, the Native American Alliance of Ohio, a frequent attendee at NAGPRA Review Committee meetings, extended an offer to the Review Committee to hold its fall 2005 meeting in central Ohio. The Review Committee may decide on this offer at their next meeting.
Reauthorization of the six-year Federal highway bill is being negotiated between the House and Senate. Differences in funding levels between the House ($284 billion) and Senate ($318) approved bills and other matters, including revision of section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, must be worked out before the bill is sent to the President. The President promised to veto any bill that exceeds $256 billion.
Amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), HR 3223, are pending before the House Resources Committee. The amendments are generally nonsubstantive, but one calls for changing the funding level for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) from a specific amount ($4 million/year) over a specific period of time (1997 through 2005) to a level necessary to carry out its duties. Another enables the ACHP to enter into cooperative agreements with Federal agencies to improve agency compliance with the NHPA
The Get Outdoors Act (HR 4100) was recently introduced with bipartisan support. This bill would, among other things, provide a badly needed increase in funding for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), which among other things funds State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices. The HPF would be funded at $160 million/year. The $3.125 billion bill would fund conservation programs paid for through revenues from offshore oil and gas production leases.
So far, 2004 has been a busy year for the Grants Committee. We have already received three applications for funding which makes this one of the most active years in recent memory.
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.
In December 2003, on behalf of the Council, President Bob Riordan prepared and sent the following letters to address two important issues in Ohio archaeology. The first letter briefly addressed on-going destruction of the Danbury site in Ottawa County. The second letter protested the destruction of important archaeological sites by state funded or permitted projects.
Mr. Martin P. Wargo
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Buffalo District
1776 Niagara Street, Regulatory Branch
Buffalo, NY 14207
December 10, 2003
Dear Mr. Wargo:
I am writing to you on behalf of the membership of the Ohio Archaeological Council (OAC) to express our interest and concern over the situation taking place in the vicinity of the Danbury archaeological site (33Ot16), located within the "Cove on the Bay" development in Danbury Township, Ottawa County, Ohio. The Ohio Archaeological Council is a private, non-profit corporation registered with the State of Ohio since 1975 as a charitable, scientific and educational corporation. We are a membership organization comprised of over 100 professional archaeologists and five institutions engaged in archaeological research and interpretation, site preservation and public education in Ohio.
Since August 2003, some of our members as well as the Board of Directors have been monitoring with alarm the significant destruction and continuing threat to documented archaeological resources on the property. Consequently, the OAC is very interested in any undertaking the USACOE will conduct in relation to the proposed marina at Cove on the Bay or on the neighboring property being developed as "Harbor Bay Estates" by Mr. Scott Prephan. We, therefore, respectfully request that the Ohio Archaeological Council be designated as an "interested party" and kept informed of any review processes which may take place in relation to these properties.
Robert Riordan, President
Ohio Archaeological Council
As I enter my last few weeks as president of the OAC, I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to the members of our Board (both past and present) who have helped me along the way. All of our members should understand that these are extremely talented and dedicated people who have given a great deal of time and effort to an organization that they truly believe in. Whatever small achievements I have made as president could not have been realized without the help of these fine folks.
At the October 3 meeting of the Board of Directors, we discussed a number of important issues including the publication of the Late Archaic/Early Woodland volume, proposed revisions to the OAC Code of Regulations, and the development of a membership survey. You will hear detailed reports on the status of these and other projects at our upcoming membership meeting on Saturday, November 8 at High Bank Metro Park. President-elect, Bob Riordan, has put together an interesting program of presentation on recent archaeological research projects in Ohio that will precede and follow the membership meeting. At this meeting we will also announce the results of the fall elections. I strongly encourage all members to join us on November 8.
Late in our recent Board meeting, I proposed that the Council create a new ad hoc committee to oversee all OAC publications, including the Newsletter and the website. I volunteered to chair this committee and Martha Otto generously agreed to serve on the committee as well. I made this proposal in an effort to coordinate our traditionally separate tasks of conference publication and newsletter production while at the same time including our new effort to maintain a viable website. Taken together, these publication projects have become a very important part of what the OAC does and how it strives to fulfill its mission. Consequently, I thought it appropriate that this increasingly important aspect of the Council have a "voice" on the Board of Directors by being formalized as an ad hoc committee. After my term ends on November 8, I plan to devote most of my service to the Council through this new committee. I welcome the participation of other members who share my appreciation for this particular form of outreach.