From The Chillicothe Gazette
Chillicothe's place in history even more secureJan. 14, 2014
Written by Matthew Kent, Gazette Staff Writer
|Adena "effigy pipe" (from article)|
Ohio Historical Society archaeologists, in partnership with researchers from the private Cultural Resource Management firm Gray & Pape and Ohio State University, conducted radiocarbon testing on small pieces of bark and fabric excavated from the Adena Mound in 1901.
The bark produced dates of around A.D. 40, whereas the textile gave a date of 140 B.C. The new dates will be reported in an article in the February issue of the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology.
“It’s hugely important to be able to give a more exact date for this mound and the amazing Adena Effigy Pipe,” said Brad Lepper, an archaeologist at the Ohio Historical Society and the principal author of the paper. “These dates allow us to place this key mound and artifact more precisely within the sequence of Ohio’s American Indian history.”
The organic material used in the testing was found in the Adena Mound, where the official state artifact, the Adena Effigy Pipe, also was discovered.
The bark was a part of the lining of the Central Grave as well as small fragments of textiles woven from plants. The pipe was found not in the central grave but at the base of the mound.
The new radiocarbon dates also provide the age of the ancient American Indian sculpture.
The explanation for why the textile appears to be so much older might be that the Adena people used an heirloom garment or shroud in the burial.
The Adena Mound was located at Adena Mansion and Gardens in Chillicothe, the estate of former Ohio Gov. and U.S. Sen. Thomas Worthington. The mound was excavated by the Ohio Historical Society’s curator of archaeology, William C. Mills, in 1901. But at the time, Mills had no way to find out the age of the mound. Fifty years later, radiocarbon dating was invented.
Lepper said the discovery is significant because the Adena Mound “is a landmark in Ohio archaeology, and before this, all that was known or even strongly suspected is that it dated to what we normally refer to as the early length of period, the period in which the Adena culture thrived, but that goes from 1000 B.C. all the way up to A.D. 100. ... But now with these radiocarbon dates, we can pinpoint it more exactly in that time line and understand its relationship to earlier sites and later sites because of that.”
He said the project started in the middle of 2012 when officials received a call from Richard Sisson, a former president of the board of trustees of the Ohio Historical Society, who was writing a book and inquired about the radiocarbon date of Adena Mound. Lepper added that the discovery “refines our understanding of the relationship of the Adena Mound to all the other mounds in the Scioto Valley.”
“I just hope this causes people to reflect on the ancient heritage beneath their feet, and it’s part of Chillicothe’s heritage,” Lepper said.
The Adena Pipe is on loan to the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, where it is being prepared for a major exhibition at the Musee du quai Branly in Paris. The Paris exhibit is scheduled to open April 8.
The discovery also could be significant because it lends credence to the state’s effort to get the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks included on the World Heritage List, which is a list of sites across the globe with special cultural or physical significance.