Archaeology Day to feature local collections

MICHAEL KELLY The Marietta Times Glenna Hoff at the Campus Martius Museum unpacks a box of artifacts that will be on display during the museum's Archaeology Day on Jan. 19.

The Campus Martius Museum is getting ready for its annual day-long celebration of the distant past.

The museum’s annual “Digging the Past” Archaeology Day, centered mainly around artifacts and old civilizations of the Mid-Ohio Valley, will be held Jan. 19.

The event usually draws several hundred visitors, director of education programs Glenna Hoff said Friday.

“There will be kids and adults, collectors, anyone interested in the history of this area,” she said while looking over a collection of artifacts donated to the museum by a Williamstown collector nearly 50 years ago. The items, set on white foam in display boxes, included an array of stone points and ceramic articles.

That collection, she said, is difficult to catalogue because the collector found them around the world but didn’t document any of the findings. They will be available for handling, she said, including a rare obsidian point and a replica of a small statuette.

A box of small, cylindrical beads, commonly called wampum, likely came from what is now New England, she said. The items were used as a sort of trading currency, she said, and the indigenous people of the area sometimes exchanged them with colonists for glass beads.

Campus Martius historian and exhibit specialist Bill Reynolds said there will be more than 30 exhibit tables set up, many of them by collectors who have unique items to display.

“You can’t just go to a museum to see these things,” he said. “It represents all sorts of stuff that pertains to archaeology, from the Hopewell culture and prehistory up to middle 18th Century military camps. It’s an opportunity to see things that you would never have access to otherwise.”

Children will have plenty to do, Reynolds said, with simulated digs and the chance to handle dinosaur fossils.

“We’ll be doing clay pots, exactly what these early cultures in this area did,’ he said. “Bring your kids, let them get their hands all messy and take home a clay pot.”

The day will include at least two and possibly more speakers, he said, one of them from a specialist in ground-penetrating radar used to find new sites.

Something similar to Antiques Roadshow will also be available. Reynolds said William Pickard, the archaeologist for the Ohio History Connection, will be on hand to help visitors identify artifacts they bring in.

“Archaeology Day is an exciting day to grasp hold of a far-distant past that many people aren’t aware of,” Reynolds said.

It’s chance to experience a sort of time travel.

“It’s fascinating to find things that old, to think that someone in that past held these objects in their hands, that there was someone in that time who made these things,” Hoff said.

Archaeology Day takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 19 at Campus Martius, 601 Second St. Admission is the normal museum fee: $7 for adults, $4 for students from kindergarten through college, and free for children under 5, active duty military members and veterans, kindergarten through high school teachers and certified home school teachers.

For information, call the museum at 740-373-3750.

Campus Martius “Digging the Past”Archaeology Day

•What: A daylong celebration of history and historic artifacts of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

•When: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 19.

•Where: Campus Martius Museum, 601 Second St.

•Cost: Normal museum admission – $7 for adults, $4 for students kindergarten through college, free for children under 5, active duty military and veterans, K-12 teachers and certified home school instructors.

Source: Campus Martius Museum.