Ohio History Connection's Archaeology Collection consists of more than 5,700 separate collections containing more than two million objects representing 14,000 years of Ohio history. Striking examples include the Adena Pipe, copper and obsidian artifacts from the Hopewell Mound Group, the Tremper effigy pipes and Adena engraved tablets. Our collections also provide the basis for current and future archaeological research projects, exhibits and educational programs.

The first site in the Ohio History Connection's site system was the Fort Ancient Earthworks, which was acquired in 1891. The Fort Ancient Earthworks, a National Historic Landmark, are a series of earthen embankments that extend for more than 3½ miles around a high bluff along the Little Miami River in southwestern Ohio. Other archaeological sites in the OHS network include the Newark Earthworks a National Historic Landmark and Ohio's state prehistoric monument, and Serpent Mound, a National Historic Landmark.

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Our Collections

The objects in our Archaeology Collection tell the story of Ohio's past, from American Indian mounds to historic battlefields.

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Ohio Memory

This digital library has more than 27,000 images from Ohio History Connection and 330 other historical societies, libraries and museums.

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Ohio Pix

Ohio Pix is an image reproduction database managed by Ohio History Connection, including hundreds of images of archaeology collections.

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Ohio History Central

Ohio History Connection's Online Encyclopedia contains a timeline and entries relating to Ohio's  past.

Visit Ohio History Central

Meet our Archaeology staff

Ohio History Connection staff work with Ohio’s strong and committed archaeological community to increase awareness, train educators, preserve, and interpret Ohio’s rich ancient past at Ohio History Center, at our historic sites around the state, and through publications and educational programs.

Linda Pansing, Archaeology Curator

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Linda started at Ohio History Connection after receiving her BA in Anthropology from Ohio State University. As Curator, she is responsible for the creation and upkeep of department databases and records creation and upkeep, cataloging and other collection care and research duties. In the course of her work, she has had the opportunity to conduct investigations at several Ohio History Connection holdings, including Pickawillany; Fort Ancient; U.S. Grant Boyhood Home, Schoolhouse, and Birthplace; John Rankin House; Miamisburg Mound; Fort Meigs; Flint Ridge Ancient Quarries & Nature Preserve; Newark Earthworks; Leo Petroglyphs and Nature Preserve; William Henry Harrison Tomb; Quaker Yearly Meeting House; Zoar Villiage; Paul Laurence Dunbar House; and the Ohio River Museum.

Linda is an avid scuba diver and has managed to mesh her passion for archaeology with diving right here in Ohio. She is a founding member of the Maritime Archaeological Survey Team (MAST), a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the documentation of Ohio's underwater cultural resources, otherwise known as shipwrecks. Efforts of MAST have resulted in the instruction of hundreds of scuba divers from Ohio, surrounding states and Canada on underwater survey techniques; Ohio, national and international shipwreck law, research and report writing. The outcomes have been the listing of shipwrecks as Ohio archaeological sites with the State Historic Preservation Office, project reports, and Ohio's first underwater dive slates (maps) of shipwrecks.

In addition to MAST, Linda's other memberships include the American Anthropological Association, Association for Great Lakes History, Midwest Archaeological Conference, National Speleological Society, Ohio Archaeological Council, Ohio Council of Skin and Scuba Divers, Save Ontario Shipwrecks, Society of American Anthropologists, Society for Historical Archaeology and several Ohio dive clubs.

She was born and raised in Marion County, just north of Waldo, Ohio. She presently resides in Delaware with her husband Scott, Dee Dee the dog, and Zoë the cat.

Marie Swartz, Archaeology Curator

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Marie Swartz earned her A.A.S. degree in archaeology from Hocking College and her B.A. degree in anthropology from the Ohio State University. Before coming to OHC, she worked extensively in cultural resource management, in the collections of universities and local history museums, as well as library and special archive preservation. As a curator, she works to make the OHC archaeological collections more accessible to both the public and researchers. In her off time, she enjoys film photography, reading poetry and existential philosophical works, and bird watching with her cat, Wolfgang.

Martha Otto, Archaeology Curator Emerita

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Since joining the Ohio History Connection staff in 1961, Martha Otto has served in a variety of capacities from Student Assistant to Senior Curator of Archaeology. During her tenure, she has participated in numerous excavations of Adena, Hopewell, Late Woodland, and Late Prehistoric sites in central and southern Ohio. She has participated in the development and installation of all the exhibits at the Society's archaeological site museums as well as the archaeological exhibits at the Ohio Historical Center, including The First Ohioans and Windows To Our Collections: Ohio's Ancient Past.

As a steward of the Ohio History Connection's extensive archaeological collections, Martha works with staff and volunteers to physically maintain the collections and to make them more accessible to the public. Martha coordinates loans of Ohio History Connection artifacts for exhibition at other institutions, most recently with the Art Institute of Chicago to which a number of objects were loaned a number of objects for the critically-acclaimed, multi-venue show,Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand. She also enjoys working with colleagues from other museums and universities who frequently examine portions of the archaeological collections as part of their own research projects. The Ohio History Connection's Late Woodland collections formed the basis for her Master's degree in anthropology from the Ohio State University.

In the area of public education, Martha teaches DISCOVER ARCHAEOLOGY!, a program that introduces elementary school classes to the science of archaeology in an interactive, hands-on program including both field work and laboratory experience. She assisted in the production of and provided content for two CD-ROMs produced by the Ohio History Connection, The Hopewell Mound Group: Its People and Their Legacy, and What's the Point? Identifying Flint Artifacts.

Her personal research interests focus on the development of ceramics and of agriculture in the Ohio Valley. Her study of the effigy pipes from the Tremper mound is documented in: Masterworks in Pipestone: Treasures from Tremper Mound, Timeline, 1(1), Ohio History Connection, Columbus (1984); A Prehistoric Menagerie: Ohio Hopewell Effigy Pipes;Proceedings of the 1989 Smoking Pipe Conference: Selected Papers, Rochester Museum and Science Center Research Records No. 22, Rochester, NY (1992)

She also recently contributed a chapter, A Brief History of Archaeological Investigations at Fort Ancient, Warren County, Ohio, in The Fort Ancient Earthworks: Prehistoric Lifeways of the Hopewell Culture in Southwestern Ohio, edited by Connolly and Lepper, and published by OHS (2004).

Martha has served as president of the Archaeological Society of Ohio, the Ohio Archaeological Council, and the Eastern States Archaeological Federation.

Martha and her husband, Frank, are active in a number of local ASO chapters. Leisure-time activities include traveling with Frank, particularly to other museums and archaeological sites.

Brad Lepper, Senior Archaeologist

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Dr. Lepper earned his B.A. degree from the University of New Mexico and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the Ohio State University. His primary areas of interest include the Ice Age peoples of North America, Ohio's magnificent mounds and earthworks, and the history of North American archaeology. Dr. Lepper has written extensively on these subjects for both technical journals and magazines intended for a general audience. He is the author of the book, Ohio Archaeology: an illustrated chronicle of Ohio's ancient American Indian cultures, published in 2005 by Orange Frazer Press. He also writes a monthly column on archaeology for the Columbus Dispatch.

Especially noteworthy research includes the excavation of the Burning Tree mastodon in December of 1989 (named one of the top 50 science discoveries of 1990 by Discover magazine in their January 1991 issue) and the discovery of the Great Hopewell Road, first reported in 1995 (see Archaeology magazine, November/December 1995). Dr. Lepper's research on the Great Hopewell Road was featured in the public television documentary Searching for the Great Hopewell Road first broadcast in April of 1998.

Dr. Lepper was born and raised in northeastern Ohio, and now lives in Newark, in the vicinity of the extensive ancient earthworks of that region, with his wife Karen, two children, one dog, and four cats.

Dr. Lepper has been visiting professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Denison University in Granville and the Department of Anthropology at The Ohio State University at Newark.

Volunteers and Interns

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We appreciate the hard work of the interns and volunteers who have spent hundreds of hours of their time working on projects both in the lab and out in the field. For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit the Volunteer page.

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