Orange Township is looking for a volunteer to curate more than 800 artifacts that were found from the North Road park project.
When the property was donated it had already had a phase one done,” Beth Hugh, road maintenance director, said this week. “We knew there was the potential for wetlands and archeological issues.”
Hugh explained that land set aside for development is required to undergo testing and mitigation before it can be developed. She said phase one is an initial look at the site. Phase two will be digging deeper into what the site might hold.
She said in the development process the township considered not developing the site, but decided to go forward with the development since it wasn’t a prime archeological site.
Orange Township trustees discussed possible actions concerning 800 artifacts in their Jan. 17 session. They considered the option of letting the State Historical Preservation Society curate the artifacts, but it would have cost $2,500.
Hugh told the trustees at that time if the state were to take all 800-plus artifacts and the township wouldn’t be able to keep even a few. She said since it wasn’t a significant find, the state wouldn’t display the artifacts, but instead they would be filed away and stored. The only time anyone would possibly see the artifacts is if they were doing research about the area.
The township declined to have the Society curate the artifacts, and decided to keep them in the township.
Hugh said since the land wasn’t developed right away, the paperwork on phase one had expired.
“We didn’t start developing it until after 10 years,” Hugh said. “The phase one basically had expired.”
Hugh said, the township wasn’t really sure what was at the site, but since the report had expired it was decided to have a second phase done.
“They found that it was more significant than initially thought,” Hugh said.
Hugh said the township went ahead with the phase two, plowed the site and then let it sit so the rain could wash away the dirt to reveal the artifacts.
“It’s easier to find the pieces,” she said.
Hugh said Lawhon and Associates did the archaeological study and they had also received a letter of concurrence from the State Historical Preservation Society on the artifacts that were found.
Hugh said, she was told the removed artifacts were mostly hand carved stone tools from “Delaware chert,” stone and flint from the “Hopewell (culture).” She said the tools were very sharp and pointed to cut and make holes in hides.
Holding out some pieces, she said, “The pieces of arrowhead were probably broken by the plow over the years,” Hugh said.
“The Hopewell culture were from an era before there were tribes between 200 B.C. to 500 A.D.,” said Justin Zink of Lawhon and Associates. “We did phase two of the site.”
Zink said the blade-lets found at the North Road park project were typical of the Hopewell culture. He said the blade-lets were sharp, long, narrow tools used for cutting hides and wood.
Zink said its believed the Hopewell were a transit culture using the “Olentangy and Scioto Rivers as their highways.”
He said the Hopewell were one of the early cultures to establish trading networks. He said its believed they traded bear teeth, shark teeth and copper.
In an earlier report, Barrett Ault, chairman of the parks board, said the North Road Park project is the next big park project for Orange Township.
The 22-acre park will have several soccer fields, concessions, parking for up to 300 vehicles, a pond with running water, a one-mile trail around its perimeter and a cricket field.
“There have been many requests for a cricket field,” Hugh said.
The land for the park was donated by the Columbus based reality company Planned Communities in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ault said.
Hugh said construction for the new park will start this spring.
“We’re still hoping to establish grass to start soccer in 2018,” she said. “That’s just phase one. Phase one doesn’t include any of the buildings. That is the parking lot and soccer fields only.”
The buildings are phase two and are expected to be built in 2018.
In the meantime, Hugh said the township is looking for a volunteer to build a display case and do a little research for a paper about the artifacts.
Volunteers can contact Hugh at the Orange Township Hall, 1680 E. Orange Road, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035,
Hugh’s can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 740-657-2630.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.