News from OAC

President's Message


William S. Dancey

The Council is 26 years old this year, the new millennium is upon us, and Ohio celebrates its bicentennial in three years. All are causes for celebration and reflection. They are also opportunities to promote archaeology and advance the understanding and appreciation of Ohio's past. The conjunction of these historical events surely is a sign for the Council to think about its future.

In the March 1999, issue of the Newsletter, Martha Otto reported on a Board of Directors meeting at which the topic of discussion was the future of the Council. In my term as President I hope to pursue many of the initiatives identified under Martha's direction.

Several are well under way. For example, an internet web site is under construction and should be up and running by the Spring Members meeting. This obviously can be a powerful way of both letting the world know of our existence and educating Ohioans about the archaeology of their state. On another front, the OAC has joined the Dayton Society of Natural History in a joint effort to inaugurate an Archaeology Week to be held June 19-25. You will be hearing more about this from Sandy Yee and Dave Bush.

Another item on Martha's list was preservation advocacy, to "continue and strengthen the Council's efforts to preserve significant cultural resources through public education and direct involvement in the legislative process." If a reason for uniting professionally oriented archaeology groups was required, one need look no further than the impending demise of Ohio's archaeological record. The economic boom of the late twentieth century combined with the revolution in agricultural and construction technology threaten to completely remove or rework Ohio's surface. This means that the archaeological remains of Ohio's early history and prehistory will, very soon, be destroyed forever. Somehow, representatives of the archaeological community, business, industry, development, government, indigenous people, media, and lay people must join together to protect or conserve the legacy of the past without impeding economic growth. I think the Council could play an important role in assessing the seriousness of the problem, educating the citizens of Ohio, and bringing the various constituents together to work toward agreeable solutions.

Membership was an important item on Martha's list. I have asked the Membership Committee to examine the question of whether the current level is reflective of the number of "joiners" in the Ohio archaeological community. Perhaps we are at the peak with around 100 members. On the other hand, perhaps there many potential members in the academic, contract, and avocational worlds who are waiting anxiously to be nominated. If there is an untapped pool of archaeologists who meet our membership criteria, what would it take to get them on board?

One group not represented prominently in the early years of the Council is avocational archaeologists. These are the Ohioans who lack degrees in archaeology but embrace the values of professional archaeology and want to, and often do, conduct professional level field and laboratory investigations under the direction of professional archaeologists. Two well established avocational groups that come to mind are the Central Ohio Valley Archaeological Society (COVAS), and the Toledo Area Aboriginal Research Society (TAARS). Undoubtedly there are others. Some members of these groups already are members of the Council and others are potential members. Setting aside the membership question, however, I think the Council should establish continuing relationships with such avocational groups as COVAS and TAARS for we share similar values and goals.

One item of unfinished business is the conference publication project. As members are acutely aware, we organized six conferences over the last eight years and have published the proceedings of only two of them. Bob Genheimer has nearly completed the Late Prehistoric volume and hopes to have it back from the printer by early summer. As a member of the Education Committee in 1991 when the idea for this project was hatched, I feel a sense of personal responsibility to see it through to completion. To that end I have asked the Education Committee to convene a meeting with the editors of published and unpublished volumes to work out procedures, set timetables, and discuss ways of sharing the workload. My goal is to get the remaining volumes completed during my term.

When the Council was founded 25 years ago everyone who was anyone in Ohio archaeology was a member. Why? Because the mandates of federal archaeological legislation had just hit Ohio and the implications were unknown. All archaeologists in the state wanted to know how their work was affected, or what funding opportunities were presented. Policies and regulations were hotly debated at the semi-annual meetings. Membership rose. There was a certification list, and an Archaeological Services Review Committee that reviewed member's contract reports. As processes and procedures solidified, momentum slowed, and membership began to decline. Certification was abandoned along with the Review Committee. Yet while part of the impetus for the Council's existence was federal preservation law, the purposes of the Council as expressed in the Articles of Incorporation were extremely broad. All members should have a copy of the Articles, and I recommend that you dig them out and reflect upon them. They may inspire ideas for future Council projects.

In closing, let me say that the Council has had a vibrant first 25 years and the potential for growth exists within the scope of the organization as initially conceived. I am pleased to be President of the group as we enter the 21st century. I would also like to challenge members to come forward with ideas that will enhance the status of professional archaeology in Ohio, advance knowledge, awareness, and preservation of the state's prehistoric and historic past, and revive the spirit of participation that characterized the Council in its early years.

Ad hoc Legislative Issues Committee Report


Al Tonetti, Committee Chair

State Legislation

Here we go again, perhaps. On January 18, 2000, State Representative James Buchy (R-Greenville) introduced House Bill (HB) 550, a bill to revise the offense of vandalism. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Criminal Justice. The revisions are primarily technical in nature. Revisions relevant to archaeological concerns include clarifying that the offense of vandalism pertains to all private property, not just certain types of private property as indicated in the current law, and adds "but is not limited to" the definition of a cemetery. Under the bill the new definition for a cemetery would be "any place of burial and includes, but is not limited to, burial sites that contain American Indian burial objects placed with or containing American Indian human remains." According to Rep. Buchy's office, this bill was drafted and introduced after numerous requests to do so by artifact collectors, sellers, and buyers, many of whom are members of the Archaeological Society of Ohio.

Electronic review of HB550 or any proposed bill or existing legislation in Ohio can be made at

The privilege clause and existing penalties are retained in the bill. The bill prohibits a person, without the privilege to do so, of knowingly causing physical harm to private property or serious physical harm to government property. The difference between physical harm and serious physical harm is that the latter results in a loss to the value of the property of $500 or more, while the former has no dollar threshold. Physical harm means any tangible or intangible damage to property that results in a loss to the property's value or interferes with its use or enjoyment, but does not include wear and tear by normal use.

Federal Legislation

On February 15, the National Mining Association filed a federal lawsuit challenging a number of provisions of the revised Section 106 regulations promulgated last year by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). The regulations remain in effect until otherwise ruled by the court.

Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that the revised regulations unlawfully 1) exceeds the role assigned to the ACHP by Section 106 in that it gives the ACHP substantive regulatory authority over other Federal agencies; 2) extends the reach of Section 106 in defining an undertaking; 3) extends Section 106 to properties not formally determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places; 4) enlarges the role of Indian tribes beyond that intended by Congress; 5) employs a vague and overbroad definition of what constitutes an adverse effect; 6) violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution by vesting the ACHP (which includes two members that are not appointed by the President -- i.e., NCSHPO and the National Trust) with authority or functions that may only be carried out by Presidential appointees; and 7) were promulgated without observing certain procedural aspects required by the Administrative Procedures Act, such as not meaningfully addressing the comments filed by the National Mining Association and publishing the regulations without adequate notice and opportunity to comment.

Update on the Ohio Preservation Office Data-Automation Program


Todd Tucky, Ohio Historic Preservation Office

In 1997, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO) initiated a comprehensive program to transfer data from over 100,000 paper files into digital format while building a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) program for implementing its use. The data automation program focused extensively on the Ohio Historic Inventory and Ohio Archaeological Inventory (OHI & OAI respectively), as well as development of a customized GIS application known as MAPIT. This effort was supported by grants from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Approximately 15,000 OHI forms were coded with grant assistance from the Gund Foundation in the mid-1980's. In 1997, the second and much larger phase of the OHI coding project was undertaken to examine, edit and enter data from paper forms into digital format. As a result of this project, a total of 81,078 forms were codified into electronic form. This represents a complete record of OHI received through calendar year 1997. Since March 1999, work has continued on OHI's received from 1998 to present date.

With respect to the OAI, an initial attempt at digital coding occurred in 1985 during which approximately 17,000 records were entered into an electronic database, under a grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In November of 1998, the second major effort to transfer the OAI into electronic format began in earnest. The goal of this project was to first check, edit, correct, and enter data from a backlog of over 7,500 forms that had accumulated and then 'clean-up' known issues with existing UTM coordinates and/or other spatial attribute data. 'Clean-up' of the data has taken a variety of forms and largely involves methodology designed to catch errors, typographic problems, inconsistencies, misplottings of sites, updating existing forms, adding continuation sheets, coding new entry forms, correcting the 7.5' topographic maps, transferring locational data from existing 15' quadrangles, and handling any other obvious errors in need of correction.

UTM correction consists of comparing OAI form, map, description, narrative and coordinates against a USGS 7.5' quadrangle. If the information on the OAI is correct, that record is added to the database. If the centroid of the site is not consistent with the plotting and associated information, then a new point is created with the corrected coordinates and entered into the database. As a result of this project, approximately 14,000 of approximately 23,000 forms being examined to date have had their UTM coordinates corrected. Currently, there are 32,881 sites recorded in the electronic OAI database and approximately 1,600 new sites have been added each year.

The MAPIT (Mapping and Preservation Inventory Tool) is a customized version of the popular ArcView GIS program developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). MAPIT was designed by the National Park Service Heritage Preservation Services Cultural Resources GIS Facility (CRGIS). The MAPIT program is designed to bring various cultural resources together into one comprehensive computer desktop environment and is specifically designed for use by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO) and by researchers of Ohio's cultural resources, both public and private. By providing the capability to extensively examine all of Ohio's resources in a spatial context, it is hoped that decision-makers will be able to use these data to make informed decisions while planning for a multitude of activities across the State. One of the powerful features of the MAPIT program is the ability to customize the program to address a variety of inventories and research questions, and thus once new data are available, they can be easily added to the existing application and coverages. The ability to use MAPIT will be available on public terminals at the OHPO central office and, to a more restricted degree, via the Internet.

While we are working to provide expedient and widespread access to the data as soon as possible, responsible stewardship of the data and technologies for protecting sensitive information are being developed specifically for this automation program. When the data are available, instructions for access will be provided at the OHPO website. Therefore, we strongly recommend going to the OHPO website ( which will provide all information about what data are available and in what format. Also, from the website, access will be available for the on-line versions of the National Register, OAI and OHI databases. The National Register database is scheduled to be on-line by March 2000; the OAI and OHI databases will go online thereafter. Again, any information about the availability of the on-line databases will be provided at the website.

Finally, while OHPO is at the end of its second major electronic coding project, in reality we are at the beginning of using this new tool to spatially examine the cultural record of the state. Future efforts will include continued improvement of the databases, issuance of electronic forms for entry and initial quality control, additional on-line features and query capabilities, new coverages, additional database integration, multi-media enhancements, and greater accessibility. For questions about this program, please contact me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ohio Archaeology: A Public Television Documentary Series


Thomas M. Law

Voyageur Media Group, Inc.

Ohio is one of the most important places for archaeology in North America. Ohio is often called the "birthplace" of American archaeology. Ohio's ancient mounds and earthworks are known throughout the world. Ohio's universities have some of the finest anthropology departments in America. And, over 1.5 million people visit Ohio's cultural sites and archaeological museums each year. Yet, despite this incredible wealth of archaeological sites, history, institutions and scholars, a comprehensive documentary has never been made about the magnificent American Indian cultures that flourished here for over 10,000 years. That's about to change.


Voyageur Media Group, Inc. is pleased to announce the development of Ohio Archaeology, the first comprehensive documentary series about Ohio's ancient cultural heritage. Voyageur Media Group is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the production of documentaries about science, history and culture. Past works include Searching for the Great Hopewell Road and the Kentucky Archaeology series. Thanks to a planning grant from the George Gund Foundation, Voyageur has spent the past year conducting meetings and telephone interviews with dozens of archaeologists, scholars, educators and American Indian leaders. Tom Law, Project Director, Voyageur Media Group, says, "We gathered a wide range of ideas, comments and research in order to set project goals, draft script treatments and establish the structures needed to organize this incredibly complex, multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural subject." Here is a project summary.

Ohio Archaeology combines interviews with archival images, landscapes, artist's renderings, and computer animation for a compelling look at how archaeologists interpret the past. The documentary series will be presented in (6) ten to thirty-minute episodes from "The Paleoindian Period" to the "Late Prehistoric Period." More episodes may be added about Ohio's archaeological history, contemporary issues and historic archaeology. Ohio Archaeology is targeted for distribution to public television stations, schools, museums and libraries during Ohio's Bicentennial in 2003. The project also features a companion website with research papers, resource lists, images, maps and interactive curriculum materials for science, social studies and Ohio history (grades 4-12). These materials may also be turned into a Digital VideoDisk or CD-ROM.

The advisory panel includes: Dr. William Dancey, President, Ohio Archaeological Council; Dr. Bradley Lepper, Curator of Archaeology, Ohio Historical Society; Dr. Linda Wilson-Mirarchi, Director of Education and Technical Services, Ohio Educational Telecommunications; and Dr. David Snyder, Archaeology Reviews Manager, State Historic Preservation Office. Voyageur will also seek reviews from Ohio archaeologists and representatives from federally recognized American Indian tribes with historic ties to Ohio. Tom Law, Project Director, says, "Ohio Archaeology demands close collaboration to reach four primary goals: 1) to generate a greater appreciation for Ohio's ancient American Indian heritage, 2) to build a better understanding of diverse peoples and cultures, 3) to encourage visits to museums and cultural sites, and 4) to enhance cognitive thinking skills by presenting the multi-disciplinary nature of archaeological investigations."

Voyageur thanks everyone who participated in the project's planning phase. The script development phase begins in 2001. If you would like to participate or receive a project newsletter, please contact Tom Law, Voyageur Media Group, Inc., 3317 Lambert Place, Cincinnati, Ohio 45208. (513) 871-0590 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Remembering Alva McGraw

(March 1909- April 2000)

N'omi Greber

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Alva McGraw shared his deep interest in the archaeology of Ross County with generations of avocational and professional archaeologists, all of whom benefited from his knowledge, enthusiasm, and practical advice. He was instrumental in excavations of sites that spanned thousands of years of human history, from Station Prairie, the first historic settlement; back nearly two thousands years to a Hopewell site on his farm, now named for him in the archaeological literature; and back farther yet to eras known as Adena, Archaic, and Paleoindian.


He was a member and supporter of the avocational Archaeological Society of Ohio and the professional Ohio Archaeological Council. He identified artifacts for new and more experienced surface collectors, and encouraged searching for "answers" that would enlighten us all. He encouraged and worked with new field techniques such as the Ken Goodman resistivity instruments that located features below the ground without digging. For more than forty years he knew and assisted crews from all the institutions that sponsored archaeological work and site preservation in Ross County including Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University), Mound City National Monument (now part of Hopewell Culture National Historical Park), the Ohio Historical Society, Kent State University, Cleveland State University, Ohio State University, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the Archaeological Conservancy.

Many share with me memories of a warm, personal friend who was always ready to fix broken equipment, discuss the mysterious ways water can travel in Paint Creek, give guided tours of sites even outside Ross County, and spend hours talking with the many visitors who sat around his kitchen table. His visitors were not only archaeologists, but people he dealt with in his long time public service for Ross County and his many personal friends. He is greatly missed by us all.

Report on Ohio's First Archaeology Week


Sandra Lee Yee

Site Anthropologist/Site Manager
SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park

At the OAC Annual Meeting in November 1999, Dr. William S. Dancey, as the newly elected president of the OAC, announced as one of his hopes for the coming year that the Education Committee of the OAC would look into establishing a state archaeology week for Ohio. Dr. David Bush was chair of this committee, and Sandy Yee had just been one of the new committee members elected. Therefore this challenge was passed to them.

In January 2000, Mark Meister, newly hired Director of the Dayton Society of Natural History, and as such, supervisor to Sandy Yee, Site Anthropologist for SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park, tasked Sandy to look into establishing a state archaeology week for Ohio, based on examples from SAA and elsewhere. Finally, William Patterson, Sr. of Patterson Graphics and William Pflaum of Mazer Corp., both of Dayton, in discussion with Mark Meister, offered their companies' talents to design and print posters for an archaeology week, if so desired.

Therefore, the stage was set, and Sandy began dialog with Dr. Dancey, requesting information and direction on how the OAC wished to proceed, as well as submitting request for grant from OAC Grants committee to help with funding of such a task. OAC Board voted to make a direct contribution of $1000 to the Dayton Society of Natural History for Sandy and SunWatch to cover some of the costs of preparing the first ever "Ohio Archaeology Week."

The Society and OAC partnered in this endeavor, with Sandy Yee and Dr. Bush as the coordinators. They designed the letters and applications that were mailed to all of OAC members, as well as oversaw the design and production of the posters and flyers distributed statewide advertising the events. The week of June that included the Summer Solstice (in 2000 this fell on June 19-25) was chosen for Ohio's archaeology week. It was thought that the Summer Solstice will provide a memorable link for state archaeologists and historians in all upcoming years (as the Summer Solstice was recognized historically as well as prehistorically). Additionally, this week is very favorable to families on vacation, for schools are out by then. Furthermore, various sites have opened their summer field work/schools and can incorporate tours or workshops at the sites as one of their Ohio Archaeology Week educational activities for the public.

Although letters requesting collaboration, support, partnering, etc. were sent to OHPO, OHS, and Governor Taft in February 2000, due to the short time frame the named organizations could not join the effort. However, if approached much earlier (very early fall 2000) for the Ohio Archaeology Week of 2001, they may be able to partner, thus lending more resources to the effort.

Posters and brochures listing statewide activities were ready (albeit later than desired) and shipped in early June to all participants who had contributed activities, as well as to all Contact People, and requesting organizations or individuals. The poster was a beautiful depiction of the state of Ohio as an excavated feature/square with inset photos and text highlighting the sites and events offered during week.

Sandy sent request to presenters and Contact People for all and any Evaluations they received or prepared, so that evaluation and improvement of the program could begin for next year.

Archaeology Week-2000

Coordinators: Dr. David Bush, Chairman of Education Committee, Ohio Archaeological Council,Center for Historic and Military Archaeology, Heidelberg College

Sandra Lee Yee, member of Education Committee, Ohio Archaeological Council, SunWatch Indian Village/Arch-aeological Park, Dayton, Ohio

Contributing Organizations: Ohio Archaeological Council, Dayton Society of Natural History (through SunWatch), Patterson Graphics, Mazer Corp., and C&O Printing.