News from OAC

Help Ohio Archaeology: Donate Your Ohio Income Tax Refund

The Ohio History Connection’s History Fund grant program is one of the few grant programs in the state for archaeology projects – and it needs your help to grow. If you receive a refund on your Ohio income taxes, donate all or a big portion of it to the "Ohio History Fund" tax "check-off," line 26c on your state tax return.

The goal for the History Fund this year is a modest $88,000, a 10% increase in tax check-off donations in 2016, an average $9 from 9,800 Ohioans. Coupled with sales of Ohio History mastodon license plates and donations to the Ohio History Connection for the History Fund (see below), our goal is to have at least $90,000 for the program next year.

Your donation makes possible grants for archaeology and history projects throughout Ohio. Since the Ohio History Fund started in 2012, it has made 47 grants in 32 counties for a total of $448,000. Proving there is a great need for the History Fund, it has received 224 grant applications from 52 counties, totaling $2.7 million in requests! For a list of grant recipients, visit

These grants included four archaeology-related projects (and even more applications):

Fort Recovery Historical Society, Fort Recovery (2015-16 cycle)

$17,500 for an archaeological field school and ground-penetrating radar survey at Fort Recovery, Mercer County.

Heartland Earthworks Conservancy, Hillsboro (2015-16 cycle)

$10,000 for a magnetometer survey of Steel Earthworks, Ross County. 

Dayton Society of Natural History (2013-14 cycle)

$16,000 to reconstruct the thatched roof of Big House, the central exhibit of SunWatch Indian Village/Archeological Park, a National Historic Landmark, Montgomery County.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History (2012-13 cycle)

$12,873 to pilot on a wider scale a proven and highly innovative means to quickly and inexpensively document prehistoric Native American archeological sites in the eastern Lake Erie basin.


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 History Fund grant program. To learn more, visit: Select the History button.

You can also make a donation directly to the Ohio History Connection for the History Fund, visit

Questions about the History Fund? Visit or call Andy Verhoff in the Ohio History Connection’s Local History Service department at 614-297-2341 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

OAC Letter Concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline

At the fall 2016 OAC business meeting the membership passed a motion asking the Board of Directors to examine matters related to the alleged disturbance of Native American sacred sites and other cultural resources during construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and take appropriate action. The Board undertook considerable discussion of the matter and drafted a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency in charge of permitting portions of the pipeline under their jurisdiction. The letter was also sent to the Department of the Army, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.


You can read the letter here.  

OAC USACE DAPL Letter 13 DEC 2016.pdf


Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks

Recently, the National Park Service requested public comments on whether to nominate any of the properties on the United States’ World Heritage Tentative List to UNESCO for inscription. The Ohio Archaeological Council submitted this letter urging the Department of Interior to nominate the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks.

 Click below to read the letter:

World Heritage Letter 19 DEC 2016.pdf

Historic Preservation Fund Reauthorized by Congress

On December 10, 2016, the U.S. Senate passed the National Park Service Centennial bill, HR 4680. The bill reauthorizes the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) for seven years (authorization expired in 2015) and now heads to President Obama's desk for his signature. The bill already passed the House. Although there are many uncertainties and challenges ahead for archaeology, the bipartisan effort of Congress to pass this bill is a positive development. The HPF provides for a relatively small portion of the royalties that energy companies pay for the right to drill for oil and natural gas on the federally owned Outer Continental Shelf to be used to preserve cultural resources, including archaeological sites, and fund State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs). For fiscal year 2016, Congress allocated $65.41 million to the HPF. Of this amount, $46.925 million was awarded to SHPOs and $9.985 million to THPOs. This bill only reauthorizes the HPF. It is now up to the new Congress to appropriate funds (provide dollars) for the programs supported by the HPF.


Ohio Senate adopts Senate Concurrent Resolution 16

On December 8, 2016, the Ohio Senate adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 16, expressing support for the nomination of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ohio House adopted the resolution in May of this year. Concurrent resolutions are often adopted informing the U.S. Congress to the General Assembly’s position on issues before Congress. The resolution states:


WHEREAS, The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, located in Warren County, Ross County, and Licking County, were the epicenter of a vibrant American Indian culture that lived in Ohio approximately 2,000 years ago; and

WHEREAS, These sites were ceremonial and social centers, characterized by enormous earthwork constructions that feature precise geometric shapes, standard units of measure, accurate alignments to the rising and setting of the sun and moon, and deposits of artifacts of exceptional artistic merit crafted from exotic raw materials obtained from as far away as the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and the Rocky Mountains; and

WHEREAS, Together, the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are the best preserved examples of monumental earthworks constructed by the indigenous people and cultures in the Ohio Valley, which are distinct from other mound-building cultures in Eastern North America; and

WHEREAS, The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks have helped shape the public understanding of American Indian cultural developments and heritage in North America; and

WHEREAS, The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are recognized nationally and internationally as a masterpiece of human creative genius and an exceptional testimony to past American Indian cultural traditions and knowledge; and

WHEREAS, The Hopewell Ceremonial sites at the Newark Earthworks and Fort Ancient, which are owned and managed by the Ohio History Connection, are currently listed as National Historic Landmarks; and

WHEREAS, The Hopewell Ceremonial sites of Hopeton, High Bank, Seip, Mound City, and Hopewell Mound Group are owned and managed by the National Park Service and are currently listed as National Historic Landmarks; andWHEREAS, World Heritage Site designation of this collection of sites by UNESCO will attract significant domestic and international tourism to the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks and to the region, resulting in millions of dollars in increased spending and investment; and

WHEREAS, The 126th Ohio General Assembly designated the Newark Earthworks as Ohio's official prehistoric monument; and

WHEREAS, The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, the National Congress of American Indians, and other Tribal Nations have expressed their support for the nomination of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and

WHEREAS, The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks would be the first and only World Heritage Site located in Ohio; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, That we, the members of the 131st General Assembly of the state of Ohio, recognize the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks as having universal cultural significance and express support for the nomination of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Clerk of the Senate transmit duly authenticated copies of this resolution to the Director of the United States Department of the Interior, each member of the Ohio Congressional delegation, and the news media of Ohio.


Fall 2016 Government Affairs Committee Report

Al Tonetti, chair (members Bill Kennedy, Jeff Reichwein, Lauren Sieg)

Protecting Underground Utilities

Enforcement of Ohio’s call before you dig law began January 1, 2016. The registration fee for non-residential callers is a flat $25 this year. It may be reduced or eliminated next year. Approximately 24 complaints of potential violations have been reviewed by Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and its Underground Technical Committee. Few have been against excavators; mostly against utilities and locators. Possible law revisions include waiting 72 instead of 48 hours to give locators more time (they are swamped since enforcement began), removal of exemptions, clarifying the large complex projects process, and ticket life. The Ohio Utilities Damage Prevention Coalition is likely to meet early next year to discuss possible revisions. Al Tonetti will attend on the OAC’s behalf. Al invited a representative from the Ohio Utilities Protection Service to give refresher presentation on Ohio’s one-call process at the fall 2017 OAC membership meeting.

Statehood Day 2017

Planning for Statehood Day, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, has begun. Last year Al Tonetti, on behalf of the OAC, suggested that Statehood Day partners pursue a concurrent resolution supporting the U.S. Government’s nomination of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks nomination to the World Heritage List. This was done. In May, the House approved the resolution. It now needs approved by the Senate by end of year (end of Ohio’s two year legislative cycle). An effort to better protect human burial places in Ohio may be on this years’ legislative priorities (see below).

Section 106 Consultations

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Huntington District: Continuing consultation on Consol Energy’s Meigs Mine 31 pipeline, where prehistoric human remains were discovered at 33GA387.

Also in the Huntington District, the Rolling Hills Generating Station project. The OAC was asked to consult regarding resolving adverse effects to site 33MS609, a stratified, primarily Late Archaic-Early Woodland site on the Ohio River floodplain. We agreed to do so.

Buckeye Lake Dam: additional information received. USACE Huntington District is the lead agency.

The OAC became a consulting party on the proposed data recovery at 33HY107 for the Maumee River Crossing Bridge. A conference call with consulting parties recently occurred. USACE Buffalo District is the lead agency.

The OAC is also a consulting party on data recovery at 33FR560, 33FR1303, and 33FR2349 at the Columbus Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Ohio EPA is the lead agency.

The state of Ohio is selling farm prison properties. One is in Chillicothe and may affect the Shriver Circle (prehistoric earthwork). We are consulting with SHPO, Hopewell Culture National Park, and others about this matter.

The Federal Bureau of Land Management is proposing selling oil and gas leases on thousands of acres in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest. There is no federal undertaking yet but we are monitoring the situation.

Better Protecting Human Burial Places in Ohio

Most members are aware that the OAC has been meeting with OHC/SHPO discussing ways to better protect certain human burial places, i.e., those not under the jurisdiction of the Dept. of Commerce, Div. of Real Estate. This is a direct result of discussions many of us have had around the looting of the trace Rockshelter in Jackson County a few years ago. Ohio is often mentioned as having the least effective laws governing the identification and protection of human burial places in the nation.

This is a very complex matter that to this point has been limited to discussion between certain members of the OAC’s Board and OHC/SHPO staff, but we are close to sharing the general concept of our proposal with other agencies and organizations. Once we have a final draft of the general concept, probably by end of year, it will be brought to interested state legislators and interest groups for further discussion.