News from OAC

Dr. N'omi B. Greber: Colleague, Friend, and Mentor

NomiGreber-head shotOn Sunday, September 14th Dr. N'omi M. Beeman Greber, a long-time member and former Vice President of the Ohio Archaeological Council, an accomplished Hopewell archaeology scholar, and a dear colleague passed away. There are many archaeologists working away at different tasks and topics in the Midwest, and some have spent their entire careers in the region. But few have made as lasting an impact on the discipline and our knowledge of the past as N'omi.

N'omi Greber made her first foray into Midwest archaeology in 1974, moving over from mathematics, with a paper on the Middle Woodland period in northwestern Ohio that she presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference. We doubt that back then she knew her career would be so laser focused on one theme: Ohio Hopewell. It's not uncommon for a person to become closely associated with the work they do, especially when that person spends their entire career in the pursuit of a singular topic. In the case of Hopewell studies in the Ohio Valley, the name N'omi Greber has become synonymous with the term Hopewell. After that first paper in 1974, N'omi spent 40 years of her career tirelessly and diligently working on the Hopewell problem from myriad angles, with many papers and presentations—all on things Hopewell. Except for a brief stint working on contract projects in the late 1970s and early 1980s, nearly all of N'omi's written works (reports, newsletter and journal articles, and book chapters n=67) have also covered topics related to the Hopewell. From studies of the arrangement and distribution of earthwork sites, to pioneering the use of geophysics in archaeology, tackling the challenges of chronology, and fighting the heat and bugs in the many seasons of field work down in the trenches at Ohio sites, N'omi's efforts in Hopewell archaeology have been a defining force in what we know today as Ohio Hopewell!

N'omi's contributions to archaeology go well beyond simply digging and reporting. She had also been active in service positions. Locally she has been on the Executive Board of the Cleveland Archaeological Society (Archaeological Institute of America) since 1997 and has served in several capacities within the Ohio Archaeological Council (including trustee and vice president, and as a member of several committees). Regionally, N'omi has served on the Executive Board of the Central States Anthropological Society and she did work for the Midwest Archaeological Conference, as a member of the Nominations Committee in 2004 and as the Program Chair in 1982. N'omi's service work also occurred at the national level, with a two-year stint on the Native American Affairs sub-committee of the SAA.
While N'omi's presentations, publications, and service work certainly set her apart as a major contributor to Midwest archaeology, we think another of her important and enduring contributions is something that often goes unrecorded in CVs—her role as mentor. We all have had mentors of one kind or another, advisors or special professors while we were at school or perhaps in our first job, but few can say they are a mentor to an entire subset of archaeological investigation. In N'omi's case, that subset is of course Ohio Hopewell research. N'omi has played an active role as mentor to many students, those studying Hopewell and those participating in field schools or field work projects, and she has worked closely with many professionals. And she continued to advise and oversee goings on at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park right up to the very end.

Dr. N'omi Greber was an important contributor to Ohio and Midwest archaeology for 40 years. We can say that as a student, colleague, and co-author, N'omi greatly influenced our professional lives, as well...and we have seen a similar influence on the thoughts and careers of many other archaeologists in our region. N'omi always represented Ohio and Midwest archaeology and archaeologists in the most professional of ways and she was an important advocate for the archaeological record. It's hard to imagine Hopewell archaeology without N'omi Greber, but her work and ideas live on in her many publications, in our hearts, and in the many wonderful things she taught us about the past. Thank you, N'omi for being such a good role model to us all.


Dr. N'omi Greber's Degrees, Awards, Reports, and Publications

Ph.D. in anthropology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1976
A.M. in mathematics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
A.B. in mathematics, minor in astronomy, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts

Distinguished Career Award, Midwest Archaeological Conference
Scholarship Award, Ohio Archaeological Council
AHS University Fellow of Case Western Reserve University
Undergraduate election to Sigma Xi
Exchange student scholarship at the University of Toronto
Tuition scholarships at Smith College


Within Ohio Hopewell: Analyses of burial patterns from several classic sites. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University, 1976. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Preliminary Report of Excavations at Nashport Mound, Dillon Lake, Ohio. Report to the National Park Service, October 1976.

Report to the Ohio American Revolution Bicentennial Advisory Commission on the 1976 Salvage Excavations of the Edwin Harness Mound. (with David Brose) American Revolution Bicentennial Administration Matching Grant 76 19 4997, December 1976.

Revisiting a Classic Hopewell Site for Modern Salvage, Ohio Archaeologists at the Edwin Harness Mound. Ohio Archaeologist, 27(3) 1977.

Book review of Studies in Ohio Archaeology. American Anthropologist 79(3) 1977.

Report of the 1975 Excavations at the Nashport Mound (33MU17) Dillon Lake, Ohio. Report to The National Park Service, November 1977. Department of Archaeology, Ohio Historical Society.

The 1977 Excavations at the Edwin Harness Mound. Ohio Archaeologist 27(4) 1977.

Archaeological Survey of the Flintkote Sewer Corridor. (with W.S. Clarke and A. Cramer) Submitted to the City of Chillicothe, January 1978. Department of Archaeology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Report on Reconnaissance and Sub Surface Archaeological Investigations of the CEI 345 KV Transmission Line: Perry Leroy Center. (with Lisa Murray) Submitted to Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, June 1978. Department of Archaeology Archaeological Research Report 11:pt II, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

An Archaeological Literature Search and Probability Study for the Study Area of the Ohio Brady Lake 138 KV Line Loop. Submitted to Stanley Consultants, Inc., Muscotine, Iowa, July 1978. Department of Archaeology Archaeological Research Report 42: pt I, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

A Report of Sub Surface Archaeological Investigations of the Proposed Naivaka Park Recreational Center. Submitted to the City of Brecksville, September 1978. Department of Archaeology, Archaeological Research Report 15, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

The Archaeological Resources Within the Proposed Streetsboro Facilities Plan, Portage County, Ohio. (with David R. Bush). Submitted to Portage County Sanitary Engineer, Ravenna, Ohio. Department of Archaeology, Archaeological Research Report 22:Pt I, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1979.

Hopewell Archaeology: The Chillicothe Conference. (Volume editor; David S. Brose was conference organizer). Kent State University Press, 1979.

Variations in Social Structure Among Classic Ohio Hopewell Peoples. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 3(3):35-78 1979.

A Comparative Study of Site Morphology and Burial Patterns at Edwin Harness Mound and Seip Mounds 1 and 2, In Hopewell Archaeology: The Chillicothe Conference edited by N. Greber, Kent State University Press, 1979..

The Micro component of the Ohio Hopewell Lithic Industry: Bladelets (with Richard S. Davis and Ann S. DuFresne) Annals of the New York Academy of Science. Vol. 376 Pages 489-528, December 1981.

Salvaging Clues to a Prehistoric Culture, The Gamut, No. 3, pages 35-45. Cleveland State University, 1981.

The Phase I and II Archaeological Survey of the Proposed Omega Power Plant Site, Pike County, Ohio. (with Stanley Baker, Rae Norris, and Don Bier) Submitted to Charles T. Main Inc., Boston, Mass. by the Department of Contract Archeology, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, 1982.

Book review of The Archaeology of Death edited by Robert Chapman, Ian Kinnes, and Klavs Ransborg. American Anthropologist Vol. 85 No. 2, 1983.

Early Middle Woodland Study Unit Archaeological Resource Plan, Northeast Ohio. Submitted to The Ohio Historic Preservation Office, Columbus, 1983.

Recent Excavations at the Edwin Harness Mound, Liberty Works, Ross County, Ohio. (with special analyses by James B. Griffin, Richard I. Ford, Tristine L. Smart, Raymond S. Baby, Susanne Langlois, Stephanie Belovich, David Morse, and Kent Vickery) Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, Special Paper No. 5, 1983.

Geophysical Remote Sensing at Archaeological Sites in Ohio: A Case History. Expanded Abstracts with Biographies, 1984 Technical Program pp 185-189. Society of Exploration Geophysicists, 54th Annual International SEG Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, 1984.

Ohio entries in Historical Dictionary of North American Archaeology, edited by Edward B. Jelks. Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn, 1988.

The Hopewell Site: a contemporary analysis based on the work of Charles C. Willoughby. (with Katharine C. Ruhl) Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1989. Published in cooperation with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnolgy, Harvard University.

Ohio Hopewell (text, captions, and slides) Pictures of Record, Weston, Conn, 1989.

Ohio Hopewell Earthworks, Hearthstone No. 16:28 31, 1990.

Preliminary Report on the 1990 Excavations at Capitolium Mound, Marietta Earthworks, Ohio. Presented to The National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C., 1991

A Study of Continuity and Contrast Between Central Scioto Adena and Hopewell Sites. West Virginia Archaeologist 43(1&2):1-26.

The 1992 Field Season at the Hopewell Site, Ross County, Ohio. Submitted (with Mark F. Seeman) to the Archaeological Conservancy, Sante Fe, New Mexico. January 1993

The 1993 Field Season at the Hopewell Site, Ross County, Ohio. Submitted (with Mark F. Seeman) to the Archaeological Conservancy, Sante Fe, New Mexico. January 1995.

Some Archaeological Localities Recorded in the Seip Earthworks and Dill Mounds Historic District. Report to the National Park Service. October 1995.

The Hopewell Site: realm of Hopewellian artisans and architects. (with Patricia Essenpreis and Katharine C, Ruhl) On CD The Hopewell Mound Group: Its People and Their Legacy. Presented by the Ohio Historical Society, 1995.

A Commentary on the Contexts and Contents of Large to Small Ohio Hopewell Deposits. In A View From the Core edited by Paul Pacheco, pp 150-172. The Ohio Archaeological Council. 1996.

Two Geometric Enclosures in Paint Creek: An Estimate of Possible Changes in Community Patterns Through Time. In Ohio Hopewell Community Organization edited by William Dancey and Paul Pacheco pp 207-230. Kent State University Press. 1997.

Comments on Ceremonial Centres from the Cayapas (Esmeraldas, Ecuador) to Chillicothe (Ohio, USA) by Warren R. DeBoer; comments published with the article. Cambridge Archaeological Journal (7(2):225-53, October 1997.

Tribute to James B. Griffin (1905-1997) (with other archaeologists) Midcontinental Journal of
Archaeology (22(2):125-158, Fall 1997.

Entries on Ohio Hopewell and Seip Earthworks. In Archaeology of Prehistoric Native America: An Encyclopedia edited by Guy Gibbon. Garland Publishing, Inc. 1998.

Combining Geophysics and Ground Truth at High Bank Earthworks, Ross County, Ohio. The Ohio Archaeological Council Newsletter, 11(1):8-11.

Correlating Maps of The Hopewell Site, 1820-1993 (text and computer files). Report to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, National Park Service, January 1999.

Correlating Maps of the Hopewell Site, 1820-1993. Hopewell Archaeology: the Newsletter of
Hopewell Archaeology in the Ohio River Valley 3(2):1-6.

The Hopewell Site: A Contemporary Analysis Based on the Work of Charles C. Willoughby (with Katharine C. Ruhl). Reprinted by Eastern National in cooperation with the Harvard Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, 2000. Second printing 2001.

The Year 2000 Field Season at the High Bank Earthwork. (with Karen Royce) The Ohio Archaeological Council Newsletter 13(1): 23.

Well Grounded Work. Explorer 42(2): 11-13.

Preliminary Report on the 2002 Excavations at the Great Circle, High Bank Works. Submitted to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park and the Midwest Archaeological Center, 30 August 2002.

A Preliminary Comparison of 1997 and 2002 Limited Excavations in the Great Circle Wall, High Bank Works, Ross County, Ohio. Hopewell Archeology: The Newsletter of Hopewell Archaeology in the Ohio River Valley, 5(2):1-6.

Hopewell Mound 11: Yet Another Look at an Old Collection (with Frank L. Cowan). Hopewell Archaeology: The Newsletter of Hopewell Archaeology in the Ohio River Valley, 5(2) :7-11.

Report on the 2002 Excavations at the Great Circle, High Bank Works. Submitted to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park and the Midwest Archaeological Center, 30 May 2003.

Chronological Relationships Among Ohio Hopewell Sites: Few Dates and Much Complexity. In Theory, Method, and Practice in Modern Archaeology edited by Robert J. Jeske and Douglas K. Charles, pp 88-113. Praeger Publishers, Westport Conn and London, England, 2003.

The Edwin Harness Big House. In Ohio Archaeology by Bradley T. Lepper, pp 132-134. Orange Frazer Press, Wilmington, Ohio, 2005.

Adena and Hopewell in the Middle Ohio Valley: to be or not to be. In The Good Servant and the Bad Master: Woodland Period Systematics in the Middle Ohio Valley edited by Robert Mainfort and Darlene Applegate, 19-39. University of Alabama Press, 2005.

The 2004 Field Season at High Bank Works, Ross County, Ohio. Hopewell Archaeology: The Newsletter of Hopewell Archaeology in the Ohio River Valley. 6(2) March 2005.

Report to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park on 2005 Field Work at the High Bank Works. Submitted to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park 31 August 2005.

Enclosures and Communities in Ohio Hopewell: An Essay. In Recreating Hopewell edited by
Douglas Charles and Jane Buikstra pp 74-105. University of Florida Press, 2006.

Report to Hopewell Culture National Park on 2006 Field Work at the High Bank Works. Submitted to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. 31 August 2006.

A Study of Possible Effect of the Proposed OH-Newark Country Club Tower on Astronomical Studies of the Newark Earthworks. (With Robert Horn) Submitted to Environmental Resources Management, Solon, Ohio 2 March 2006.

Preliminary Report to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park on 2007 Field Work at the High Bank Works. Archaeological Research Report 152, Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Submitted to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park August 2007.

The 2008 Field Season at the High Bank Earthworks (33Ro60) Ross County, Ohio. Archaeological Research Report 157, Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Submitted to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park and the Midwest Archeological Center. Sept 2009.

Re-interpretation of a Group of Hopewell Low Mounds and Structures, Seip Earthworks, Ross County, Ohio. Guest Editor and contributor for the issue, Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, 34(1)5-186. 2009.

Stratigraphy and Chronology in the 1971-1977 Ohio Historical Society Field Data. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 34(1)19-52.

Final Data and Summary Comments. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 34(1)171-186.

Exploring the Features Found During the 1971-1977 Seip Earthworks Excavations. (with Jarrod Burks) Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 34(1)143-170.

Field Studies of the Octagon and Great Circle High Bank Earthworks Ross County, Ohio. (with Orrin Shane) In In the Footprints of Squier and Davis: Archaeological Field Work in Ross County, Ohio pp. 23-48, edited by Mark J. Lynott. Midwest Archeological Center Special Report No. 5. National Park Service Midwest Archeological Center, Lincoln, Neb, 2009.

Coda: Still Seeking Hopewell. In Hopewell Settlement Patterns, Subsistence, and Symbolic Landscapes pp 335-348, edited by A. Martin Byers and DeeAnne Wymer. University Press of Florida, 2010.

Adena in Ohio and Hopewell in Kentucky: In Honor of R. Berle Clay. Journal of Kentucky Archaeology, Volume 1, Number 1 (Summer 2011) on line as a .pdf and as a web site.

The Ringler Dugout Revisited (with Katharine C. Ruhl and Isaac Greber). Journal of Ohio Archaeology 2:16-29. An electronic publication of the Ohio Archaeological Council, 2012.

Wooden Structures and Cultural Symbolism in Ohio Hopewell. In Building the Past: Prehistoric Wooden Post Architecture in the Ohio Valley-Great Lakes, edited by B. Redmond and R. Genheimer, pp. 85-125. University of Florida Press, Gainesville. 2015

OAC Joins Effort to Preserve Two Paleoamerican Skeletons for Science

University of California professors Timothy White, Robert Bettinger, and Margaret Schoeninger are suing to keep their university from turning over two 9,000-year-old skeletons to the La Posta Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Law Posta Indian Reservation for reburial. These two ancient skeletons were excavated from the chancellor's residence at the University of California, San Diego in 1976.

Eske Willerslev, the University of Copenhagen geneticist who uncovered the genome of the 13,000-year-old Anzick skeleton earlier this year, told Wired magazine "To give them away without study, would be like throwing the genetic crown jewels of the peopling of the Americas in the ocean. It would be a major loss for all, including Native Americans."

The scientists' attorney, knowing of the OAC's involvement in the Kennewick Man case, asked us to submit a Friend of the Court brief in support of the scientists' efforts to save these Paleoamerican skeletons from being given to an American Indian tribe with no demonstrable cultural connection to the remains. The OAC Board acted quickly to prepare a draft and Brad Baker, a former OAC member and now an attorney, turned the document into a forceful legal brief, which was filed today on behalf of the OAC (Monday September 22, 2014).


Junction Group is Saved!

Junction Squier and Davis exp to 300The Junction Group was bought at auction this week by our coalition of conservation groups! We did it! And what a feeling it was when the gavel finally hit the podium at the auction. There were many people in the room at the auction and I think most of them were there to see us buy the property. In the end we came away with Parcels 1 (the earthworks), 3 (wooded slope) and 4 (wooded slope)--exactly what we went there to buy. Believe it or not there was a bit of a run on the wooded parcels as these were the properties the developers and the hunters were after...go figure! Perhaps everybody heard that there was an earthwork site with burials on Parcel 1 and decided it was just too much of a hot potato to get involved with? Regardless, once closing occurs, The Archaeological Conservancy will be the proud new owners of an amazing Ohio earthwork site.
For those who pledged and donated to help save Junction, thank you so much--we could not have done it without you. The Heartland Earthworks Conservancy raised about $37,000 in 2.5 weeks. Combined, all of the groups involved raised over $300,000. Crazy to think that is even possible. Apparently there are a lot of people out there interested in helping to protect threatened archaeology sites in Ohio. If you missed out on the chance to pledge or donate for Junction and would still like to give, we are still raising money for the new park: we have a lot of work ahead to re-seed the place in native plants, develop interpretive and nature trails, and create interpretive signage. This all takes funds, so whatever is leftover after the property is paid off will be put toward developing the park. We also have other projects lined up for later this year, so you will have other opportunities to get involved, if you would like.
Thanks again for making the Save the Junction Campaign a success! Feel free to visit us at to donate or just check out what is going on in the earthworks world. We are also on Facebook. On the next project we will try to give everybody more time to get involved!

OAC Board Presents Two Awards at MAC

 OAC Trustee Jarrod Burks presents the Scholarship Award to N'omi GreberAt the recent Midwest Archaeological Conference in Columbus, the OAC presented two awards.  The Scholarship Award was presented to Dr. N'omi Greber for her contributions to Ohio Hopewell archaeology and the mentoring of students.  The OAC Board of Directors Award presented to Erica Schneider by President Bob GenheimerThe Board of Directors Award was presented to the Cultural Resources Section, Office of Environmental Services of the Ohio Department of Transportation.   The Cultural Resource Section of ODOT was recognized for significant contributions to the advancement of archaeology in Ohio including support for the computerization of the Ohio Archaeological Inventory, the funding and production of important publications, funding of new archaeologial review postions, and the hiring of college interns.

OAC Government Affairs Committee Report to Members

Ohio General Assembly:

·         HB43/SB33. The Adena Pipe is now the State Artifact.

·         Approximately 270 bills introduced. Am Sub. HB 59, state budget bill, tracking OHS budget and appointment of Oil and Gas Leasing Commission. An amendment proposed by Rep. Carney at the urging of the OAC and OHPO requiring the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission to consider impacts on archaeological resources and consult with OHPO was not included in Am. Sub. HB 59.

·         HB 122k, proposed elimination of tax check-offs that do not raise $250,000 or more every year. Ohio History Fund raised only $130,000 in 2011, its first year. Possible elimination of the History Fund tax check-off later this year if this provision of the bill is enacted. OHS working to amend bill. Each of the other three tax check-off funds receives more than $400,000 annually from the tax check-off. In 2012, one archaeological project received a grant from the History Fund.


ACRA CRM industry survey:

·         1,300 CRM firms.

·         Employ 10,000 professionals.

·         Generated >$1 billion revenue in 2012.

·         This information will be disseminated to partner groups in Washington, DC and used in ACRA’s lobbying efforts on The Hill during ACRA’s CRM Day and Congressional reception on Oct. 10.



·         Working to counter NEPA/Section 106 exemptions in various bills.

·         SAA, SHA, and ACRA gathering facts on NEPA/Section 106 re. length of time it takes, how much it costs, etc. Re. 106, last report to Congress 2004-2007 there were 354,850 overviews and site file checks (average 86,212, with range from 31,266 to 146,644) and 135,642 field studies (average 33,910, range 24,111-37,626). Some agencies do not report (particularly, DoD agencies) and others (particularly FHWA) are not consistent in terms of reporting. Even so, there are clearly lots of 106 undertakings, most of which (probably well more than 95%) go through without a problem. Without Federal laws we have no ability to even know what kinds of sites we are losing to development, much less protect significant cultural resources. The Obama administration tried to do a similar run around NEPA and NHPA on “green” energy projects in the West. Primarily tribes, although there were others, protested and got them to back down. Congress will likely try again on a variety of energy related projects and we need to be prepared for “defederalization” of classes of undertakings as well as broadside attacks on NEPA/NHPA.


Ohio Utilities Damage Prevention Coalition (OUDPC):

·         Revised call before you dig law became effective 3/27/13.

·         OUDPC working on another bill under the guidance of state Rep. Sprague for accountability/enforcement, training, and possible exemptions. Ohio is one of 9 states that lag in these areas and certain Fed. Govt. agencies, esp. DOT/PHMSA re. pipeline safety management, are targeting these states for grant prohibitions if they don’t upgrade their laws. Gov. Kasich and state legislature are aware and want something done.


Section 106 Consulting Party:

·         USACE-Huntington, Stuart Station (Adams County), possible adverse affects to four sites.

·         DEL-315/Powell Road avoid impacts to possible NRHP eligible mill complex.

·         USACE-Huntington, village of Zoar, Tuscarawas County.

·         FHWA/ODOT, Eastern Corridor (Hamilton and Clermont counties).



·         DSHPO and former OAC member Ruffini retiring in June. Replacement may be on board by then.

·         Looking to increase budget line item to make cash match and offset federal sequester.

·         Small group of CRM, academics and OHPO staff meeting late June at OHPO to discuss impacts of shale oil and gas on archaeological resources.



I am very pleased to report that the Adena Pipe has become Ohio's State Artifact

The original bill (House Bill 501) was supported by the Ohio Archaeological Council, but I have had one or two colleagues suggest that legislation such as this, which simply names another "Ohio thing" as an honorific gesture is frivolous at best and, at worst, a distraction from more important legislative initiatives.

I disagree, and I think you will too after reading the following article by Tracy Kessler and Charlotte Stiverson, the two Columbus School for Girls teachers who worked with their students to make this happen. When you consider all the objects that could be our State Artifact, I think it's remarkable and heartening that the Ohio legislature was persuaded to confer that honor on this small masterpiece carved by a Native American artisan more than 2,000 years ago.

Consider that for at least a few afternoons of testimony and lobbying sessions over the past two years, Ohio's State Representatives and Senators turned their attention to Ohio's ancient Native American heritage and eventually voted unanimously to make the Adena Pipe a symbol of our State. Think for a moment about what that means. At a time when our government is bitterly divided along ideological fault lines and Republicans and Democrats can't seem to agree on anything, both the Ohio House and Senate voted unanimously to designate as our State Artifact an ancient relic of Ohio's indigenous people. Mark Twain once remarked upon the discovery of some ancient remains and concluded that "as long as those parties can't vote anymore, the matter can be of no great public interest." Mark Twain wasn't wrong about much, but thanks to the persistent efforts of Tracy, Charlotte, and their students, the Ohio legislature and Governor Kasich have demonstrated that a 2,000-year-old artifact can be a matter of considerable public interest.

I don't think there's anything at all frivolous about such an outcome.




Columbus School for Girls – Fourth Grade Teachers - Tracy Kessler & Charlotte Stiverson

Over three years ago while studying Ohio’s prehistory and government in fourth grade, the Class of 2018 from Columbus School for Girls took on the project to create an official Ohio state artifact, similar to the idea of having a state tree, a state insect, and a state flower.  Each of these official state objects was chosen because it had an important connection to Ohio’s history and natural resources. 

During fourth grade at Columbus School for Girls, the students travel throughout the state on field trips to learn more about Ohio’s history and government.  On a field trip to the Statehouse in the fall of 2009, while observing the legislative process, a connection was made between Ohio’s prehistory and state government. Our fourth grade students felt it was important to honor a culture that is often forgotten but so important to the Ohio that we have come to know today. Soon, an idea was born. What if Ohio had a strong historic symbol to represent our prehistoric people? This would make Ohio part of an exclusive group of only three U.S. states that would have an official state artifact. The girls felt that having a state artifact would encourage others to learn more about Ohio’s history, especially the prehistory of our state, and give a voice to the indigenous people of Ohio who no longer can speak for themselves.  This artifact is meant to honor our earliest Ohioans and inspire contemporary generations to learn more about the early history of our state.

As we searched for the artifact, the girls met with, interviewed, and wrote to different archaeologists across the state, including Kathy Brady at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, N’omi Greber of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Jarrod Burks at Ohio Valley Archaeology, and Brad Lepper with the Ohio Historical Society. The students also took field trips to various prehistoric sites and museums in order to have the opportunity to view the artifacts in real life, not just from photographs and books.  During this process many artifacts were considered, such as animal effigy pipes, the Shaman of Newark, the Hopewell Mica Hand, and the Eagle’s Claw.  After careful discussion and consideration, the girls began to realize that there was one artifact that stood out and represented Ohioans best, and that was the Adena Pipe.

Students describe the Adena Pipe as 100% Ohio.  It shows a full human body with decorative clothing and suggests what the prehistoric people might have looked like and how they dressed.  To date, this is the only full standing body, human effigy pipe found in Ohio. It was made from Ohio pipestone, which is found in Portsmouth near the Scioto River, and was discovered on the property of Thomas Worthington, Ohio’s sixth governor and the man considered the “Father of Ohio’s Statehood.”  Legend has it that this property was the setting used to create the Great Seal of Ohio with its view of the Scioto River.  Today, this pipe can be viewed at the Ohio Historical Society, a centrally located public museum in Columbus, Ohio. The girls felt it was imperative to have our state artifact at a venue where it easily could be viewed by all.

Once the artifact was determined, we began the process of working with our supporting representatives, Representatives Garland and Miller.  The girls were able to begin the process of supporting the bill by writing letters to representatives and to Native American tribes for their consent on this project.  Unfortunately when this idea was initially presented, it was an economically challenging year for the United States, and Ohio lawmakers were focused on budget issues, so it was placed on the backburner.  However, in 2011, the current fifth graders reintroduced this idea when they entered fourth grade.

In 2011 when Representative Carney came to school to speak to the girls, students asked if he would sponsor this bill on their behalf.  He agreed to reintroduce the idea.  He found another representative from a local district who would create a bipartisan team of sponsors.  Representatives Carney and Duffey introduced House Bill 501 in the spring of 2012.  In both the spring and fall, students from two more classes of fourth graders wrote letters to representatives and Governor Kasich, and they testified before House committees and watched legislative votes on this bill.  At the end of November this bill passed in the House, but with the lame duck session, the bill died again.  Despite fervent lobbying by students to senators, the bill would not make it to law that year due to time constraints. 

Our disappointment with the death of House Bill 501 was replaced with determination. That left five months for us to see it through to completion.  Thanks to the support of Representatives Carney and Duffey and to Senators LaRose and Bacon, who agreed to work on this bill from the Senate position, the bill, now Senate Bill 33, met with quick success, especially since it was presented to both houses of the Ohio General Assembly simultaneously.  A parent offered support by providing lobbyists to help.  These lobbyists organized and streamlined the process by helping with the scheduling, informing the teachers of dates, setting up meetings for the teachers with the committee chairs, and keeping the politicians aware of the bill.  Throughout this whole process, Brad Lepper continually helped us by answering questions and proofing testimony.  Maintaining accuracy to historical information and facts was another important step for the students to learn.

After well more than three years of perseverance, three classes of students witnessed Governor Kasich sign the bill on May 16, 2013, making the Adena Pipe Ohio’s official state artifact.  Cheers of delight spread among 110 girls and their two teachers. The girls learned that they have a voice and can make an impact on governmental decisions and that persistence and determination can pay off.

This project was more than just an exciting example of project-based learning. It served as a successful quest to bring public awareness to something of tremendous importance to our history as human beings. Through this process, we witnessed bipartisan agreement among legislators, a strong sense of community among students, parents, and teachers at CSG, the support from organizations such as the Ohio Historical Society and the Ohio Archaeological Council, and a passion among children for lifelong learning.  We hope that this project has inspired some of our young female students to someday become legislators, archaeologists, or lobbyists.  Through this experience, they have learned that, much like the Adena people, their voice can be heard whether they are a child or a long lost prehistoric culture.

So, is this pipe just another frivolous state symbol? We don’t think so. For a moment, imagine limiting our state to only three official symbols. Now having the Adena Pipe as our newest one, which three would you choose? Which three would be most significant to our state? The tomato? The cardinal? The carnation? The black racer snake? We believe that most Ohioans would include the Adena Pipe on that short list for the simple reason that it encompasses so many aspects of our state: prehistoric culture, early legislators, the journey toward statehood, native Ohio art and media, the Great Seal, the Scioto River, and most importantly, a three-dimensional snapshot of the face of one of the first Ohioans. These were people we will never know, nor ones who could leave us a slew of photos or journals to tell us who they were. The Adena Pipe is a mirror of our human selves and serves as a visual narrative of ancient humans who lived off of the very same land that we do now. Simply put, there will never be anything trivial about that. We think the Adena, or whatever name they may have given themselves, would appreciate knowing that 2,000 years later, modern Ohioans are still thinking about them and recognizing their contributions to Ohio. Their time on earth has ended, but the greatest respect we could give any previous generation is to publicly honor their influential time on earth.