The Curator appeals to you that you interest yourself in a matter of such vital importance


On February 20th, 1894, Warren K. Moorehead met with the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society Trustees to discuss a proposition. Already employed by the Ohio State University to run its fledgling Department of Archaeology, he offered his services to the Society free of charge providing the Society would allow him some money for field work. The minutes of the trustees meeting state that the proposition of Mr. Moorehead shall be referred to the Executive Committee, with power to appoint such sub-committee and do such other acts as may be necessary to bring about a complete understanding between the Ohio State University and this Society, and also a mutual understanding as to the powers and duties of Mr. Moorehead. The mutual understandings eventually were achieved and Mr. Moorehead was duly elected Curator of the museum at the February 19th, 1895 annual meeting. But Moorehead may have left the 1894 meeting misunderstanding what had been decided for in a circular he distributed in an effort to raise money for fieldwork dated May 22nd, 1894, he was already referring to himself as the Curator in charge of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Societys collections. I suppose its possible the 1894 date was a typo, but Moorehead’s personality was such that he just might have pushed forward a bit too enthusiastically. I append a copy of the text of the circular to this post for the light it sheds on the early history of Ohio archaeology. Brad Lepper __________________ ORTON HALL, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF ARCHAEOLOGY May 22nd, 1894 The Trustees of the University have established a Department of Archaeology in the new museum building, known as Orton Hall. The Curator, Mr. Warren K. Moorehead, has presented to the institution a large and thoroughly classified collection from Ohio, illustrating the life of pre-Columbian tribes. With this exhibit as a nucleus it is believed that the Department is sure to extend its influence and its acquisitions until it shall possess the largest and most instructive archaeologic collection in the state. But to accomplish its desired purpose the co-operation of all who are interested in the subject is necessary. The Curator, in seeking to further this object, begs leave to submit the following facts: First: Institutions in the East and West have had opportunity to explore our tumuli, village sites and enclosures, and as a natural consequence their museums are full of Ohio’s best archaeological material. Second: Although so much material has been carried out of the State, fully fifty percent. of our best mounds and village sites yet remain unexplored. Third: Unless some State institution undertakes at once the proper collection and study of the relics and remains of ancient man in Ohio, we shall lose them all. The Department offers a safe repository for collections in Orton Hall. This building is one of the finest in the City of Columbus, and is absolutely fireproof. It is large, well lighted, and already contains an excellent representation of the geology of the State. The Curator of the Department earnestly requests persons, into whose hands this circular may come, to contribute such specimens as are in their possession. We especially need typical collections from the various river valleys of the State. Due credit will be given for all gifts. To those who do not care to make donations we offer to exchange a valuable series of whole pottery, stone implements, objects for personal adornment, etc., for equally valuable collections. During the coming summer the Department will conduct some explorations in Southern Ohio. Money for this work must be mainly raised by voluntary contribution. Along with the money which the Department will expend, a small fund belonging to The Ohio Academy of Science, collected by the Curator, will also be used in exploration. The work will be carried on in a strictly scientific manner. Mounds will be thoroughly opened, photographs, drawings and measurements taken, and everything found will be properly labeled as coming from a definite part of the tumulus. The exploration of small mounds costs from $5 to $20 each; the large ones, from $50 to $100. The average will be $23 per mound. A photographer has volunteered his services, and a number of the advanced students of the University will take part in the explorations. Your contribution to this fund is hereby respectfully solicited. Any amount sent will be accounted for in detail by the Curator to the Trustees of the University. There should be no hesitancy and no lack of support. So much has already been taken out of the State, and the necessity of preserving what is left of our antiquities is so urgent, that all who are interested in these early occupants of the State should co-operate in making the proposed survey a great success. Any information desired by correspondents will be gladly given. Every person subscribing to the field fund will be entitled to a copy of the report to be published next winter upon the explorations of the Department.* The Board of Trustees of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society have placed the Curator in charge of its collection and all archaeological explorations for the society, and the Department and the Society will cordially co-operate. The Curator is also authorized to speak for and receive collections and contributions for the benefit of the Society. A joint committee from the University and the Society has been appointed in order that the work be pushed as rapidly as possible. It rests with the public to determine whether or not this work shall succeed. Within a year probably one or two surveys from the East will be engaged in exploring our mounds. If we desire to carry on investigations in the interest of an Ohio institution, we must take the field at once, and do all in our power to prevent valuable scientific material from leaving the State. The Curator appeals to you that you interest yourself in a matter of such vital importance. W. K. MOOREHEAD, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio __________________ * Mooreheads Report of Field Work carried on in the Muskingum, Scioto, and Ohio valleys during the season of 1896 for the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society was published in 1897.

Posted May 2, 2014
Topics: Archaeology

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