Serpent Mound hosts Archaeology Day

Here are just two of the many re-enactors involved in the Archaeology Day activities at Serpent Mound.
Here are just two of the many re-enactors involved in the Archaeology Day activities at Serpent Mound.

Preserving the heritage of native American peoples –

By Patricia Beech –

Serpent Mound Park on Saturday, Aug. 20 hosted its annual Archaeology Day.
As one of the premiere examples of earthen artworks in North America  the 1,348 foot serpent has become a major attraction for those interested in the culture of ancient Native American tribes.
“We have a lot of people expressing interest in what we’re doing out here today,” said park Director Tim Goodwin. “We have artifact collectors, speakers who will talk about prehistoric culture, music, and a lot of things for kids to do.”
First-time visitors who climb the park’s century-old viewing tower marvel at the immense serpentine effigy undulating across a bluff overlooking a section
of the Ohio Brush Creek valley. The complex  earthwork sculpted from the surrounding land has always inspired more questions than answers. Who built it? Why was it built? What secrets does it hold? Does it have relevance for us today?
More than a century ago, F.W. Putman, conservator and excavator of the  mound, wrote of his visit in 1883, “I mused on the probabilities of  the past and there seemed to come to me a picture as of a distant time, of people with strange customs, and with it came the demand for  an interpretation of this mystery. The unknown must become known.”
Modern day archaeologists have made great strides in unraveling the  mound’s mysteries. Archaeology Day allows them to share their  discoveries with the public in a family-oriented venue.
Those attending the event had the opportunity to take part in “living  history” displays while learning about the daily lives and customs of  ancient people who lived in the Ohio valley thousands of years ago.
Living history re-enactors shared demonstrations of ancient tools and  techniques such as throwing an atlatl, flint knapping and creating pottery using clay.
Local artifact collectors displayed their collections of arrowheads and stone tools and several visitors brought their own artifact finds  for identification.
Professional Archaeologist Bill Pickard, from Ohio History  Connections, was  on site throughout the day to help visitors identify  their prehistoric finds.

This young lady is all smiles as she creates pottery at the annual Serpent Mound Archaeology Day.
This young lady is all smiles as she creates pottery at the annual Serpent Mound Archaeology Day.

Three keynote speakers gave talks on different Archaeological data.  Dr. Keith Milam, an Ohio University Professor, presented his findings on the Serpent Mound Disturbance, an eroded meteorite impact crater in  Ohio.
Dr. William Kennedy spoke about prehistoric architecture and gave examples of full-scale, rebuilt structures from the late prehistoric  period. Dr. Brad Lepper spoke about the Newark Earthworks, the largest  set of geometric enclosures in the world.
Two musicians provided entertainment for  the event: Steve Free, an  internationally acclaimed, award winning, Native American  singer/songwriter and recording artist, and John De Boer and the Miami Valley Flute Circle, playing Native American flute music.
Walking tours led by knowledgeable guides were given throughout the day  and visitors were invited to walk the half mile nature trails.