Robert L. Harness Lecture Series at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

Robert L. Harness Lecture Series at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park is pleased to host the 2012 summer archeological lecture series. The following is a list of speakers and titles of topics to be presented. The programs will be held at the Mound City Group Visitor Center located at 16062 St. Rt. 104 just north of Chillicothe. Each lecture will start at 7:30 P.M.

June 21: Mountains, Mica, and Mounds: Hopewellian Ceremonialism in Western North Carolina. Alice Wright

The Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina have long been cited as the source of sheet mica found in Hopewell mortuary contexts. In addition, over the past 50 years, archaeologists working in and around the Southern Appalachians have identified exotic artifacts indicating that local communities participated, to varying degrees, in Hopewell interaction and exchange. Recent excavations at the Middle Woodland period Garden Creek site (31HW8) in North Carolina have uncovered monumental earthen enclosures and mica craft production debris that closely resemble contemporaneous sites and assemblages in the Hopewell core. In this talk, Alice P. Wright, M.A., PhD Candidate at the University of Michigan, will discuss these new data, and their implications for our understandings of ceremonial interaction at the Hopewell periphery.

June 28: Ohio Hopewell: Seeking the People Behind the Mysteries. Nomi Greber

Join N’omi Greber from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, for our weekly lecture series. About 2000 years ago in Southern Ohio, people with no cities or sizeable villages built enormous public monuments. They crafted intricate images of mythic heroes and creatures from other worlds but left no books to tell us their stories. They produced beautiful fabrics and costumes for pageantry; worked copper, cut mica, and chipped obsidian – all acquired from far away places. They knew the geology of their land and traced patterns in the sky. Based on the material remains left behind, what can we learn about the people? Based on examples of objects, buildings, and earthworks, suggestions of the possible role of these in the daily lives and celebrations of the peoples we call Ohio Hopewell will be presented.

July 5: Serpent’s Coils and Sacred Octagons: New Geophysical Survey Data from Serpent Mound, High Bank Works, and the Frank Yost Works. Jarrod Burks

What do earthen serpents, giant octagons, and Salisbury steak all have in common? They are all folded into this presentation! Over your lifetime you have probably seen dozens of maps and photos of Serpent Mound in fourth grade and college texts, gracing the covers of coffee table books, and perhaps on T.V. shows about ancient aliens (why not!). The site needs little introduction. But a recent magnetic survey has uncovered a potential new wrinkle that we (those involved in the Serpent Mound Project) suspect will surprise you and get people thinking again about this famous old site. The High Bank Works, a unit of Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, is a massive Hopewell earthwork that, among other things, is home to Ohio‘s “other” large octagon. Recent magnetic surveys have discovered several unexpected features, including a possible structure in the middle of the octagon. Finally, the Frank Yost Works is likely a site you have never heard of, but should know (and it is our connection to Salisbury steak!). Located in northern Perry County, Yost is a hilltop earthwork complex that includes one of the most intact, medium-sized circular enclosures in Ohio. The only good map of the site was made in 1862 and shows a seemingly fanciful configuration of embankment walls in the midst of two more typical circular enclosures. In this case, it has been LiDAR data that thus far is proving to be the most intriguing, but we will explore some magnetic and electrical resistance data as well and see that the Salisbury brothers were on to something with their seemingly creative map of the site.

July 12, 2012: Fossil Invasion! How studying ancient species help us predict the consequences of modern invasive species. Alicia Stigall

Invasive species, such as zebra mussels and kudzu, cause billions of dollars’ worth of economic damage in America each year. These species include organisms that proliferate in environments outside their ancestral range following introduction by humans.  Modern biologists and ecologists are intensively studying the impacts of the invaders on native ecosystems, but they are limited to studies of years or decades.  Species invasions, however, also happened in the geologic past due to natural causes, such as intervals of sea level rise.  Paleontologists can study these ancient invasions to learn about the longer term (thousands of years) impacts of invasive species.  In this presentation, I will analyze the impacts the invasive species have had during two different intervals in the geologic past: the Late Devonian mass extinction (~360 million years ago) and the Late Ordovician Richmondian Invasion (~450 million years ago).  During both of these intervals, the shallow seas that covered eastern North America experiences waves of interbasinal species invasions.  The Richmondian Invasion resulted in fundamental changes to ecosystem structure, which are particularly well preserved in the rocks that crop out in Southwest Ohio.  The Late Devonian invasions triggered one of the largest biodiversity crises in Earth’s history, primarily by stopping the formation of new species.  The relative roles of invasive species in driving biodiversity change during these two intervals will be explained and then linked with the potential long-term impacts of modern invasive species.

July 19: Hopewell Textile Artistry and Technology. Kathryn Jakes

Textiles are an essential part of our daily lives but they are so ubiquitous and modern manufacturing has made them so inexpensive that few of us think about how they are made and where the components came from.  Textiles made by prehistoric people, however, represent significant skill and time invested in their manufacture. The differing structures of these fabrics suggest different uses; the intricate interlacings and patterns of coloration suggest aesthetic and semiotic meanings.  Although the textiles that have been recovered from Ohio Hopewell sites are fragmentary, they tell a story of extensive knowledge of the use of local plant and animal materials to produce flexible functional textiles. By replicating the Ohio Hopewell textiles we come to understand more about the skills and knowledge required.  Adding together the time and effort required in each production step leads us to an assessment of the value of those fabrics.  Study of the small fragments themselves and experimental replication leads us to a better understanding of the people of the past.

For additional information, contact the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park at at 740-774-1126


Posted June 18, 2012
Topics: Archaeology

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