Digging the Past at Campus Martius Museum

A day filled with ancient artifacts and lectures will be every archeology lover’s dream on Jan. 18 when the Campus Martius Museum hosts its annual “Digging the Past” Archeology Day.

“We’re digging it,” joked Campus Martius historian Bill Reynolds.

Reynolds described the event as a way to honor and look at archeology, and see what it can show people in relation to understanding the past.

“This year is a little different,” he said. “We’ll have prehistoric archeology and historic archeology.”

Reynolds described the difference as “In Prehistoric, there’s no written history. To interpret it we have to use speculation. In Historic, it’s what we or our ancestors experienced or remembered. There’s written history to it.”

During the Prehistoric portion of “Digging the Past,” static exhibits will be numerous.

Event-goers can expect to see a demonstration of how to work bone into tools, displays of private collections of artifacts from local residents, and Bill Pickard from the Ohio Historical Society will identify objects that people bring in.

“He’ll identify people’s objects…Something you might find in the backyard or field,” Reynolds said. “He’ll tell how old it is. It’s to identify it, not so much to appraise it but to put it in its proper time period.”

Reynolds said in the Historic archeology period, people can expect to see some military finds from native village sites from the 18th century which will include trading posts. Another site will be a display of tomahawks.

“It’s incredible,” Reynolds said. “One was carried by an Indian at the treaty of Ft. Harmar. I won’t give the name away but it is a well-known Indian name.”

From there, the lectures will keep archeology buffs on the edge of their seats.

Expect talks from Brent Ruby, an archaeologist for the National Park Service, who will talk about the Hopewell National Historic Park; Misti Spillman, Castle education coordinator, who will speak about an archaeological dig around the Castle on Fourth Street; Jerry Anderson, who will talk about the Mound Builder’s Housing Shortage; and Doug Angenloni, who will lecture on the Skeletons of Ft. Laurens, which will be about the soldiers who died there.

Spillman said the Castle dig, which happened over the summer with archeology camps, turned up many finds.

“We found hundreds of pieces (of pottery) over the course of the summer,” she said. “We’re still finding stuff. Our plans are in the future to continue with the digs. We hope to continue to have people back with the camps, both kids and adults.”

Reynolds said Marietta College has promised to send a speaker, most likely from the history department.

“It should be a fun day with an awful lot to see,” he said.

Reynolds mentioned a second archeology day, which occurs every fall for a younger audience.

“We do a thing for young people in the fall,” he said. “This is a little more academic. It’s not the kind of hands on, ‘Hey we get to dig in the dirt,’ but it should be fun for all ages.”