New Structure Found at Ancient Ohio Site
Tue Aug 30,10:56 AM ET
OREGONIA, Ohio - Archaeologists say they have something new to study at Fort Ancient State Memorial. A previously unknown circular structure about 200 feet in diameter was detected recently during preliminary work for an erosion-control project at the site of 2,000-year-old earthworks, state authorities said.
More study will be needed to determine whether the structure is an earthworks or the remains of a ditch that held a series of large posts or of some other kind of structure, state authorities said.
"The reaction is 'Wow!'" Jack Blosser, Fort Ancient's site manager, said of the new find. Blosser said the last major discovery at the site was the remains of several homes found during excavation for a museum and garden area built in 1998.
Ohio authorities said a magnetometer, which can show disruptions in magnetic soil particles, detected the structure below ground. They credited Jarrod Burks, an expert on remote sensing technologies with Ohio Valley Archaeological Consultants. The company, based in the Columbus suburb of Worthington, was contracted to work with Ohio Historical Society archaeologists for a survey this summer for a major erosion-control project. The work is being funded with the help of a $255,000 federal matching grant through the Save America's Treasures program of the National Park Service.
Fort Ancient's earthworks, built by an indigenous people called the Hopewell Indians, are 3.5 miles long, on nearly 100 hilltop acres above the Little Miami River in Warren County, about seven miles southeast of Lebanon.
The site was established as an Ohio state park in 1891, and a 1930s project by the federal Civilian Conservation Corps helped eliminate erosion and stabilize the earthworks, state authorities said. However, water runoff in recent years has led to the need for new anti-erosion work.
Brad Lepper, an archaeologist at the Ohio Historical Society, said the erosion-control project will move ahead, but with alterations to avoid disturbing the newly discovered area.
He said state archaeologists might partner with other scholars or seek additional funding to study the find and what it can tell about the Hopewells.
"Anytime there's a find at a site you think is already pretty well understood, it's always exciting to add to the picture," Lepper said.
On the Net:
Ohio Historical Society site: http://www.ohiohistory.org