HOPEWELL CULTURE NHP SUMMER LECTURE SERIES

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park is pleased to host the summer archeological lecture series. The following is a list of speakers and titles of topics to be presented. The weekly series will begin June 5th and end on July 24th. The programs will be held at the park Visitor Center at Mound City Group and begin at 7:30 PM.

June 5, 2008
Dr. Paul Pacheco, SUNY Geneseo
Living Large on the Bottoms: Current Research on Ohio Hopewell Settlements in Ross County

This talk updates the results of our ongoing archaeological research on Brown’s Bottom, a section of low lying Scioto River floodplain located 1.5 kilometers from the Liberty Earthworks, in Ross County, Ohio. Our four years of research on the bottoms has produced a likely contemporaneous pair of classic Ohio Hopewell domestic settlements whose occupation likely overlaps the use of the Harness Mound floor in time. This talk details our excavations at the Lady’s Run site. I will focus on the results of new radiocarbon dates, feature excavations, and our excavations in a second large Hopewell house, located less than 100 meters from the first large Hopewell house we excavated during the 2005-2006 field seasons at Brown’s Bottom #1.

June 12, 2008
Dr. Bob Riordan, Wright State University
Excavations at the Moorehead Circle at the Fort Ancient Earthwork

The unexpected discovery of a 60-meter diameter circular feature at Fort Ancient through remote sensing in 2005 has been followed by two seasons of field investigations by Wright State University’s Field School in Archaeology. The feature, since designated the Moorehead Circle, has been determined to be a woodhenge-type structure, similar to the Great Circle at the Stubbs Earthwork downstream along the Little Miami River. Two trenches across the Circle’s perimeter have revealed deeply-set post pits, and a unit at the center has exposed a unique 4-meter diameter pit filled with burned soil and surrounded by pottery deposits. Dr. Riordan will discuss the features and artifacts that have been excavated, and the plans for the upcoming 2008 field season.

June 19, 2008
Dr. Jarrod Burks, Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc
Imaging Ohio Earthworks: New Techniques and New Discoveries

Ohio is especially rich in prehistoric earthworks, most of which were built between 200 B.C. and A.D. 500. While many of us are aware of the more famous earthwork sites, like the Newark Earthworks, Mound City, and Serpent Mound, there are hundreds more earthworks out there in Ohio’s farm fields, under subdivisions, and in city and state parks that we have not heard about. Many years of plowing and development have nearly erased most earthwork sites from view. However, geophysical survey instruments, like magnetometers and electrical resistance meters, allow us to reclaim Ohio’s ancient past and relocate lost earthworks. In this presentation I tour some of Ohio’s more famous prehistoric earthwork sites using images created with LiDAR data—a laser mapping system that, when flown in an airplane, allows one to rapidly map the surface across entire landscapes. I also explore the geophysical survey results from two Ross County earthworks sites: Shriver Circle and Steel Group. You’ll be quite surprised by the results of these surveys!

June 26, 2008
Paul LaRue, Washington High School, Washington C.H., Ohio
The Gist Settlement Archeology Project

The students in the Washington Senior High School Research History class have been researching and documenting with archeology the Gist Settlement in Highland County. Their teacher, Paul LaRue, will share his students’ findings and the fascinating story of the Highland Gist Settlement; which happens to be the last land in Ohio still in the hands of direct descendants of Samuel Gist’s emancipated slaves.

July 10, 2008
Laura Murphy, University of Kansas
Geoarchaeology of the Burntwood Creek Rockshelter, Northwest Kansas

Illustrates the use of several geological and archaeological techniques in order to ascertain rockshelter formation, site formation processes, and prehistoric Native American subsistence strategies. The Burntwood Creek rockshelter deposits contain stratified Late Plains Archaic and possibly Late Paleoindian cultural materials, including chipped stone, bison elements, and many fragments of bison- and deer-size bone. Late Paleoindian materials may be related to a bison jump and bonebed immediately east of the rockshelter. The bison jump is associated with the Allen technological complex. Rockshelters are found throughout the North American continent and have yielded a wealth of information on prehistory. However, few prehistoric sites have been recorded in rockshelters in Kansas. Furthermore, while bison jump sites are found throughout the west, the Burntwood Creek site includes the oldest documented bison jump in Kansas. Both the rockshelter and bison jump offer new insights concerning prehistoric Native American subsistence strategies.

July 17, 2008
Bill Pickard, Ohio Historical Society
Recent Investigations at Pickawillany, Miami County, Ohio
Or Making Sense of the First Thing to happen in Ohio

The site of Pickawillany is located on a high bluff above the Great Miami River about three miles north of the city of Piqua, Miami County, Ohio. Between 1748 and 1752 Pickawillany was a thriving Miami Indian town and English trade center in what was then the heart of the French controlled Ohio country. In many ways its existence there and the events surrounding its eventual destruction epitomized the nearly century long war for empire between France and England in North America. In 1752 Charles Langlade and possibly his close friend and associate Pontiac led a force of about 350 Ottawa and French coeur d’ bois to sack Pickawillany in an all out effort to drive English interests from the Ohio country as well as convincingly remind those Ohio country tribes still doing business with the English that their true loyalties were to France. While it is doubtful, as some writers claim, that the attack on Pickawillany was the actual beginning of the French and Indian War in the American colonies, it certainly put things on a slippery slope from which there was no return.

Except for farming which began at about the mid-point of the 19th century, the site lay relatively undeveloped for more than two centuries. By about 1980 a graveling operation just west of the site combined with other forms of encroachment began to seriously threaten the site. In 1999 the site was obtained by the State of Ohio and incorporated into the Piqua Historical Area State Memorial.

Archaeological fieldwork since 2000, combining a comprehensive metal detector survey with other forms of remote sensing, has identified a number of possible activity areas and located several interesting anomalies that may be Pickawillany related. It is hoped that limited excavations scheduled for this summer as well as future field work will help to make sense of what is a complicated archaeological site and help bring a degree of order to the place of the first historic event in Ohio.

July 24 2008
Dr. Mark Lynott, MWAC
The Dirty Details About Ohio Hopewell Embankment Wall Construction

Careful selection of radiocarbon samples from contexts associated with wall construction activities provide a framework for interpreting the chronology of cultural landscape creation at the Hopeton Earthworks. Middle Woodland people moved more than 30,000 cubic meters of soil, and stripped the topsoil from nearly 40 acres in creating this geometric earthen enclosure. Understanding the internal chronology of individual Ohio Hopewell earthen enclosure sites is essential for developing meaningful models of regional settlement systems and social organization. Comparison of wall construction methods between earthwork sites indicates that although some characteristics of wall construction were likely common to most sites, each embankment site was unique.

For more information, contact Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, (740) 774-1126.

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