This afternoon, the House State and Local Government Committee voted unanimously to designate the Adena Pipe as Ohio’s official State Artifact and to send Senate Bill 33 on the full House of Representatives.
I am appending the testimony I presented before the committee — but I’m not sure it was needed. The Committee already seemed convinced by the dedication and perseverance of the students from the Columbus School for Girls.
“Chairman Blair and distinguished members of the House Stateand Local Government Committee: My name is Brad Lepper and I am the senior curator of archaeology at the Ohio Historical Society. I am here on behalf of the Ohio Historical Society to offer our support for Senate Bill 33, which seeks to honorOhio’s American Indian heritage by recognizing the Adena Pipe as Ohio’s official State Artifact. It would hard to find a more appropriate artifact for this purpose. The Adena Pipe is the earliest known rendering of a human in the entire corpus of the indigenous art of Ohio. The special importance of a human effigy is that it allows us to make a personal connection with this person from Ohios ancient past. And what better artifact to represent our Native American heritage than an actual representation of an ancient Native American? The Adena Pipe was carved between 20 BC and AD 40. It appears to represent a man engaged in a ceremony of some kind. His mouth is open as if in song and his legs are bent as if he were dancing. He is wearing a feather bustle that likely represents regalia for a particular sacred ceremony. It is one of the most famous artifacts in the collections of the Ohio Historical Society and the author of the book Indian Art in the Americas, which has been described as the definitive book on Native American art, described the Adena Pipe as the finest known example of prehistoric stone sculpture north of Mexico. Another reason why the Adena Pipe is the perfect candidate for Ohio’s State Artifact is that it has a special connection to Ohios 6th Governor Thomas Worthington who is known as the Father of Ohio Statehood. The Adena Pipe was found in the Adena Mound, located on Worthingtons Chillicotheestate. In summary, recognizing the Adena Pipe as Ohio’s State Artifact would honor our indigenous heritage by giving a face to the too often forgotten American Indian people who were the first Ohioans. It would, moreover, honor Governor Worthington and his family for preserving the mound, which later would provide us with such an amazing record of the achievements of Ohio’s indigenous people. Finally, I am sure the Committee has recognized the effect this artifact has had upon the students and teachers of the Columbus Schoolfor Girls. The passion and persistence of these young women has been an example to us all but remember that it was the power of the 2,000-year-old Adena Pipe that inspired, and continues to inspire, them. By designating the Adena Pipe as Ohios official State Artifact, you will be honoring Ohios first people, one of Ohios first senators, these extraordinary young women and their dedicated teachers. Thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of Senate Bill 33. I thank especially Senators Bacon and LaRose and Representatives Duffey and Carney for co-sponsoring the respective bills. At this time, I would be happy to address any questions you might have for me regarding this remarkable artifact.