Residents ‘dig’ archaeology event

MARIETTA – The Campus Martius Museum was filled on Saturday with people wanting to learn the history of the Mid-Ohio Valley through the “Digging the Past,” an archaeology-centric event.

“I am a wannabe archaeologist and I love being part of things like this,” said Jerrel Anderson, of Vienna.

The retired research scientist for DuPont worked on a number of research archaeology digs in Wood County for his job and brought a number of artifacts from a couple of sites, including in the Marrtown area and near the Memorial Bridge.

“I will be working this summer doing an archaeological dig on Blennerhassett Island with geophysical surveys and things,” Anderson said. “It is exciting and I look forward to looking through the island because I’m sure there is a treasure trove of things yet to be found.”

Along with a display of colorful Flint Ridge flint, the museum also hosted flintknappers and an identification clinic from the Ohio Historical Society.

Bill Reynolds, organizer of the event and historian at the museum, said he was pleased with the event.

“We have many ages of history on display here,” he said. “We have items from prehistory and objects all the way to the Civil War, which is a long span.”

The prehistoric items, such as arrowheads, are as old as 9,500 years while other items include pottery that dates a little more than a century.

“This is a great program that I think we need more of in this area,” said Brian Kesterson, of Parkersburg, who had an extensive display of Civil War artifacts related to the local area from his collection.

Many of Kesterson’s items came from the Fort Boreman area and included bullets, buttons and other items.

“There are historic items around us every day and people should have a knowledge of what they are looking at and how to find it,” Kesterson said. “Living in the Mid-Ohio Valley, many of us could find artifacts in our back yards, if we knew what we were holding in our hands.”

During the event, speakers included retired Ohio Department of Transportation archaeologist Wes Clark who spoke about the Temples at Ankor Wat, Cambodia, and in Thailand; Bill Pickard with the OHS who talked about Fort Laurens, Ohio’s only Revolutionary War fort; Annette G. Erickson, director of Archaeology Studies at Hocking College, who talked about being an archaeologist and opportunities within the field; and Reynolds discussed the Deming site with a study of the material culture of the New England family from 1796 through 1890.

“Everything in this museum is a part of our history,” Reynolds said. “It is all around us and is part of our everyday culture; to know that there were people living here thousands of years before we were even thought of is amazing and through the items they left behind, we can get a glimpse of the daily lives of people long gone.”