News from OAC

Please Support Ohio Archaeology through the Ohio History Fund

It’s time again to support Ohio archaeology by designating a portion of your Ohio income tax refund for the Ohio History Fund. The Fund is one of the few grant programs in the state funding archaeology projects. Please donate to the "Ohio History Fund" on line 26b of your Ohio tax return. The deadline to file is April 18. 

The Ohio History Fund's tax check-off brought in more than $131,000 in 2021, exceeding 2020's total by nearly $12,000. The 2021 grant recipients will be announced at the Statehood Day advocacy event on March 1. Since the Ohio History Fund started in 2012, it's made 94 grants for a total of nearly $870,000. To date, the Ohio History Fund has received 474 grant applications totaling $5.7 million in requests.

Thank you for your support.

Statehood Day 2022

Please join your fellow archaeology and history advocates at the Ohio Statehouse to commemorate Statehood Day, March 1, 2022. In commemoration of Ohio’s founding, we invite you to join a broad coalition of archaeology and history advocates for our annual Statehood Day event. The state’s birthday serves as an appropriate time each year for advocates to come together to showcase the importance of Ohio’s prehistory, history, historic preservation efforts, and the organizations that help provide access to Ohio’s rich heritage that benefit the Buckeye State. 

Event registration is live for you to share with friends and colleagues. The event is free, but registration is required. You can find it at Legislative priorities will soon be finalized. They will soon be posted on the OAC’s website.

Remembering David R. Bush, OAC founder and Past-President

Written by Al Tonetti

Dave Bush was instrumental in the founding and development of the Ohio Archaeological Council (OAC). In 1975, he was one of two featured presenters at the organizing meeting of the OAC, representing the Ohio Department of Transportation. He served as President from 1979-1981. Soon thereafter he held positions with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Case Western Reserve University, and served as the Regional Archaeological Preservation Officer for the Northeast Ohio Region of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the agency through which we met. Dave was a strong supporter and advocate for the regional system, which due to federal budget cuts ended in 1981. He participated in many efforts to improve the work of the SHPO, the OAC, and Ohio’s archaeological community, including development of a state archaeological preservation plan, and wrote the first publication about historic preservation and archaeology in Ohio (Archaeological Preservation in Ohio, 1978, Ohio Historical Society). In the 1990s, Governor Voinovich appointed Dave to terms on the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board. Dave also ran his own cultural resource management firm, David R. Bush, Inc., conducting hundreds of archaeological investigations in Ohio before joining the faculty at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio.

Dave and I had a few memorable experiences with his work at the site of Johnson’s Island Civil War Military Prison in Ottawa County, Ohio. Dave was the leading advocate for and primary author of the successful National Historic Landmark nomination for Johnson’s Island, assisted by former National Park Service chief historian Ed Bearss and me. He did not shy away from tough and controversial matters even when it seemed it would be for naught. Last fall, at my request, Dave agreed to present a summary of his work at Johnson’s Island at the OAC’s 2022 spring membership meeting, and an interview with me on his perspectives on the founding of the OAC, whose 50th anniversary we celebrate in 2025, and the future of Ohio archaeology. I am deeply saddened we did not have the time.

Here is a link to Dave’s memorial From it: “He attended Miami University in 1973, graduating with a BA in Anthropology. He earned a Masters degree in 1974 from Kent State University. Dr. Bush went on to earn a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University in 1987.

Dr. Bush held many professorships, along with director and board positions at Case Western Reserve University, University of Pittsburgh, and lastly from 1998-2017, Professor of Anthropology and the Director of the Center for Historic and Military Archaeology at Heidelberg University. Dr. Bush's ultimate professional legacy was his passion and dedication for field work and study of Johnson’s Island Civil War Military Prison. As founder and Chairman of The Friends and Descendants of Johnson Island Civil War Prison, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Johnson’s Island Prisoner of War Depot. Thru this he was able to get the land designated as a National Historical Landmark. In 2011 he achieved a lifelong goal and authored “I Fear I Shall Never Leave This Island, Life in a Civil War Prison”. In addition, he served his country as an Anthropologist in MIA-POW recovery for the U.S. Army in Vietnam.  Dr. Bush proudly recalled this service in SE Asia as a life changing event.

While at Heidelberg University, Dr. Bush mentored dozens of aspiring archaeologists and created the Johnson's Island Experiential Learning Program in Historical Archaeology, a program that allowed thousands of 5th - 12th grade students, teachers, and parents to experience history hands-on. Participants also gleaned insight into what life was like at a Civil War prison by listening to diaries and journals of the POWs. He led summer field schools, teacher workshops, and volunteer programs at Johnson's Island throughout his career.”

Government Affairs Committee Report to Members, October 15, 2021

Government Affairs Committee Report to Members, October 15, 2021

Prepared by Al Tonetti, Chair

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

The mission of the Government Affairs Committee is to develop and advance legislative priorities, consult with government agencies, interested parties, and the public regarding the effects of government policies, regulations, actions, and projects on Ohio archaeology and archaeological resources, and provide leadership regarding the role of archaeology and archaeologists in civic affairs. If you want to participate in the Committee’s work, please contact Al Tonetti.

State Issues

Human Burial Places Protection. Work on this matter with the Ohio History Connection (OHC) and its State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) continues. It is listed as a priority for the Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in OHC’s 2021 – 2031 Strategic Plan Ohio Archaeological Council (OAC) member and SHPO staffer Krista Horrocks wrote an article titled “Ohio Cemeteries are in Grave Danger: A Call to Action” in the September-October 2021 issue of OHC’s Echoes Magazine

Ohio Underground Damage Prevention Coalition. Due to the pandemic, subcommittees of the Coalition discussing revising Ohio’s “call before you dig”/underground utilities protection law met infrequently last year. A virtual Coalition meeting was held on February 25, 2021. Subcommittees may make recommendations on revising the law to the Coalition later this year, but any changes will not be proposed until 2022. Changes to training requirements are problematic.

Newark Earthworks Litigation. On July 7, 2020, the Ohio Supreme Court decided that it would hear Moundbuilders Country Club appeal that OHC can terminate their lease using Ohio’s eminent domain statute Oral arguments were made on April 13. A decision is pending.

Federal Issues

Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). In July, the House passed the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684), a $715 billion, five-year transportation bill. The bill included an amendment to permanently fund the HPF and double its annual authorization from $150 million to $300 million. However, the Senate version, passed in August, does not contain that provision. Doubling the authorization could, if Congress makes a similar appropriation, significantly enhance the ability of State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs/THPOs) to carry out their duties under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), including providing much needed survey, planning, and registration grants. The HPF was established in 1976 and authorized at $150 million annually for SHPOs/THPOs. Funding for the HPF is provided from Outer Continental Shelf oil lease revenues, not tax dollars, and an amount is appropriated annually by Congress.

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The Department of the Interior is expected to formally publish proposed changes to the NAGPRA regulations in October. A summary of the proposed changes can be found at

Bills in Congress (information on all bills available at   

African American Burial Grounds Network Study Act. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) may reintroduce the African American Burial Ground Network Study Act in the Senate later this year. This bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to study how to identify, interpret, and preserve historic African American burial grounds. It authorizes $2.5 million to conduct the study and requires the results to be presented to Congress within three years of the money being made available. This bill differs somewhat from the legislation (S.2827) that was passed by the Senate on December 20, 2020. It died in the House.

H.R. 2930/S. 1471, Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act. These bipartisan bills, to enhance protections of Native American tangible cultural heritage, including human remains and cultural items, have been reintroduced in the House and Senate. Among other things, the bills would bar, and establish stronger penalties for, knowingly exporting Native American cultural items that were obtained in violation of NAGPRA and/or the Archaeological Resources Protection Act; establish an export certification system for items allowed to be exported; establish a Native American working group to provide recommendations regarding the voluntary return of tangible cultural heritage by collectors, dealers, other individuals, and non-Federal organizations that hold tangible cultural heritage, and the elimination of illegal commerce of cultural items and archaeological resources in the United States and foreign markets. H.R. 2930 was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Committees on the Judiciary, and Foreign Affairs. A hearing on the bill occurred on May 20. In the Senate, S. 1471 was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. On July 28, it was placed on the Senate legislative calendar and recommended for passage without amendment A vote is pending. Recently, the Society for American Archaeology drafted a flyer on the matter, linked to here 

S.1942/HR1316, National Heritage Area Act. These bipartisan bills would establish a statutory framework for the National Park Service to administer the National Heritage Areas (NHA) program, bring uniformity to the way NHAs are designated, managed, and assessed, provide Congress the ability to conduct oversight of the program, provide $1 million in annual funding per NHA, reauthorize the 30 NHAs currently in limbo, and provide permanent authorization for the 55 current NHAs. Many NHAs include archaeological sites. 

Section 106 Consultations: 

Boston Mills North, Cuyahoga River Restoration. USEPA/NPS/USACE project, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cuyahoga and Summit counties. The OAC is a consulting party on this project to restore habitat and hydrology along several miles of the river. Federally recognized tribes are also involved. The project has been revised so it would not impact known, significant archaeological sites. However, the revised project has the potential to affect areas where there is a high potential for unrecorded sites to occur. Phase 1 archaeological surveys are in progress. We participate in all consulting party meetings and have submitted comments on the project’s scope of work to identify cultural resources and other matters. The project website is here:

Irishtown Bend Hillside Stabilization. USDOT project, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County. The OAC accepted the invitation from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) to participate as a consulting party for the stabilization of the Irishtown Bend hillside to prevent it from sliding into the Cuyahoga River and disrupting Cuyahoga River commerce and recreation. The Irishtown Bend hillside includes a large archaeological district listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Its significance spans the period 1850 – 1910 when it was an enclave of unskilled European immigrant’s homes and shops supporting Cleveland’s shipping and other industries. In accepting the invitation, we noted that the project is likely to cause adverse effects to the archaeological district, which was archaeologically investigated in the late 1980s by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and in the 2000s by ASC Group. An archaeological data recovery and construction monitoring plan (DRP) has been developed, and an MOA was recently executed. We commented on both emphasizing data recovery over monitoring. A presentation about the project at an OAC membership meeting and the preparation of an article for the Journal of Ohio Archaeology are included as stipulations in the MOA.

LRH 2021-267-SCR, Project Charger. USACE project, Franklin and Licking counties. The OAC requested to participate as a consulting party on this 177-acre commercial development because of concerns with the level of effort used to identify archaeological sites in the project area.   

McConnelsville Dam Replacement. ODNR and USACE project, Morgan County. The OAC is a consulting party on this project to replace the dam and its adverse effects to it (see Muskingum River Locks and Dams Assessments and Improvements project immediate below). We commented on measures to identify archaeological resources during replacement of the dam as stipulations in the draft MOA. The MOA has been executed.  

Muskingum River Locks and Dams Assessments and Improvements. ODNR and USACE project, Coshocton, Morgan, Muskingum, and Washington counties. The OAC is a consulting party in developing a programmatic agreement (PA) to consider the effects of improvements on NRHP-listed structures in the Muskingum River Navigation Historic District. The improvements would be done over a 10-year period. Our comments were primarily focused on concerns for archaeological investigations of construction staging areas and roads to same and identifying archaeological resources during dewatering around dam and lock facilities. The PA was executed on August 17.

Section 14 Emergency Streambank Protection, Raccoon Creek. USACE project, Newark, Licking County. We received and commented on correspondence concerning a modification to the project being implemented under the 1946 Flood Control Act, providing the USACE authority to construct small-scale emergency shoreline and streambank protection works to protect public facilities such as bridges, roads, and non-profit public facilities. A portion of this project is within the boundaries of the Octagon Earthworks, a National Historic Landmark (NHL). Pursuant to Section 106 of the NHPA, agencies must, to the maximum extent possible, minimize harm to a NHL that may be directly and adversely affected by a project. This is a higher standard of protection than an undertaking affecting a property that is only listed or eligible for inclusion on the NRHP. We agreed that the modification would not directly or adversely affect the Octagon Earthworks.

Thornwood Crossing Bridge. ODOT project, Licking County (Newark). The OAC accepted ODOT’s invitation to be a consulting party to address impacts on 33LI1740, a Middle Woodland period habitation site containing pit features, midden, and other activity areas. We reviewed and commented on the archaeological reports, MOA, and DRP. The MOA has been executed.

TRU-SR-46/82. ODOT project, Trumbull County. We were asked by an OAC member to get involved in this project. We requested consulting party status from ODOT, which was granted. We participated in a public meeting and separate consulting party meetings expressing concerns about the adequacy of the Phase 1 archaeological survey at a NRHP-eligible historic farmstead residence, which will be demolished or relocated, because geophysical survey was omitted from the Phase 1 scope of work. The archaeological component of the residence identified solely through shovel tests was determined not eligible for the NRHP by ODOT and SHPO prior to our involvement in the project. We submitted comments concerning the efficacy of the Phase 1 report and requested ground penetrating radar of the yard to identify anomalies of possible cultural significance, and archaeological testing of same, as stipulations in ODOT’s MOA to ensure that NRHP-eligible features would not be affected by the project. ODOT rejected this request. We recently commented on the draft MOA, and our concerns remain.

WAR-SR 63-0.38. ODOT project, Warren County. We were invited by ODOT to be a consulting party on this project, which we accepted. The project will widen 3.4-mile segment of SR 63 to four lanes. Known archaeological resources, including remnants of the former Union Shaker Village, may be affected by the project. A consulting parties meeting was held on July 8, and we made comments concerning a draft MOA and DRP. The final MOA was recently executed.

Zoar Levee and Diversion Dam repair. USACE project, Tuscarawas County. We continue to participate in monthly consulting party meetings on this project which will impact the Zoar Historic District, a NHL. The USACE and their archaeological consultants have conducted multiple archaeological and geophysical investigations in the project area. We reviewed and commented on the Phase 1 archaeological survey report, which included geomorphological, geophysical, deep trenching, and shovel test pit investigations. We reviewed and commented on the finding of effects and effects management options report. We also reviewed and commented on a management summary and survey report of a second geophysical survey report noting concerns about its efficacy. Continued consulting party meetings and concerns about the second investigation led to a third round of geophysical and archaeological survey. We reviewed and commented on the third-round management summary and report, which we found favorable. For information on this project see

Fall Members Meeting: October 15, 2021

For the last time as president-elect, I am announcing our fall 2021 members meeting. It will be remote and live on October 15th from 9:30 to 12:00. Our meeting will be held via Webex, hosted by president Kevin Nolan. Members will receive an email invitation to Webex meetings in advance of October 15. This one is a bit shorter than our usual meetings, but I am still excited to hear from our presenters, and to discuss OAC business with the members.

For the public, we will be live streaming the meeting, except the OAC business meeting, on the OAC YouTube channel: .See below for a full list of presenters and abstracts. We look forward to seeing you there!

I hope to see you there!


Time Slot Presenter(s) Topic
9:30 – 10:00   Meghan Marley, Jeff Gill, and Brad Lepper The Newark Holy Stones and the “Coin of Evia”: Lies, Damned Lies, and Barry Fell’s epigraphy
10:00 – 10:30 Brian Redmond Preliminary Descriptions of an Early Late Woodland Post Structure from the Heckleman Site, Erie Co., Ohio
10:30 – 11:00 Kevin Nolan, Christine Thompson, Rebecca Barzilai, and Moayad Yacoub Unearthing a Half-Century of Archaeological Research in Indiana: Digitizing the Report of Investigations and Archaeological Report Series, and Associated Diagnostic Artifacts
11:00 – 12:00   OAC Business Meeting

Presenter Abstracts

The Newark Holy Stones and the “Coin of Evia”: Lies, Damned Lies, and Barry Fell’s epigraphy

By Meghan Marley, Jeff Gill, and Brad Lepper

The Newark Holy Stones are a series of five fraudulent artifacts inscribed with Hebrew lettering that were found in Licking County, Ohio beginning in 1860. In 1980, Barry Fell, in Saga America, introduced a sixth artifact into the discussion, but instead of a Hebrew inscription, this “Coin of Evia” was said to have Celtiberic lettering. All of the original Holy Stones have been revealed to be forgeries or hoaxes. The misnamed Coin of Evia has been ignored by scholars -- until now. We here outline the circumstances of the discovery of all of these peculiar objects, present the overwhelming evidence for their fraudulent nature, and discuss the disparate agendas behind their creation in the 19th century and their revival in the 20th.

Preliminary Descriptions of an Early Late Woodland Post Structure from the Heckleman Site, Erie Co., Ohio

By Brian Redmond

Recent investigations at the Heckelman site in Erie Co., Ohio have uncovered the partial remains of an early Late Woodland wooden post circle. This construction measures approximately 13 meters in diameter and dates to ca. AD 600-750.  This is the second post circle found at the site; the first measured 21 meters in diameter and is thought to date to the Middle Woodland period. The smaller circle (Structure 5) surrounds a number of Late Woodland pits, charcoal deposits, a large storage pit, and possible interior support posts, the last of which suggests that this was a roofed structure.  This presentation will describe the material remains and preliminary analyses of field data from this recent discovery.

Unearthing a Half-Century of Archaeological Research in Indiana: Digitizing the Report of Investigations and Archaeological Report Series, and Associated Diagnostic Artifacts

By Kevin Nolan, Christine Thompson, Rebecca Barzilai, and Moayad Yacoub 

With funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources, Ball State University’s Applied Anthropology Laboratories is executing multi-year project digitizing over 50 years of archaeological research, making significant Indiana archaeological data readily accessible for the first time. We will share our status, challenges, successes as we enter the second year of this project.  These legacy collections include 18 Archaeological Reports and 110 Reports of Investigations (AR/ROIs) from 1965 to present. AR/ROI reports and maps are currently being scanned, digitized, and redacted; and 4,000 of the most diagnostic and culturally identifiable artifacts associated with these AR/ROIs are being 3D-scanned and photographed. All reports, maps, and artifact images will be uploaded into The Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) with artifact models shared on Sketchfab. These AR/ROIs cover Indiana’s long occupation history from the earliest (~11,500 B.C.) precontact American Indian land-use and ceremonial behaviors through frontier military engagements, historic American Indian village/settlements, and twentieth century farmsteads. These difficult to access and underutilized collections contain valuable information for the public, American Indian scholars, historians, and ethno-historians throughout the Midwest and nation.

Ohio History Fund Grant Deadline is September 28, 2021

In addition to grant funds available to our members, each year the Ohio History Fund awards grants to Ohio-based nonprofit organizations and public entities including, but not limited to, local historical societies and museums, historic preservation groups, and archaeological societies. Archaeological projects and activities are eligible for History Fund grants. Individuals and for-profit businesses are not eligible for History Fund grants. Ineligible applicants may serve as contractors to grant awardees but are not eligible to apply for History Fund grants directly. For information about applying for a grant, click on the link below.