Hundreds ‘dig’ into the past

Several hundred lovers of history filled Campus Martius Museum on Saturday, wanting to learn through “Digging the Past,” an archaeology-centric event.

“Those of us here like to share our collections with each other and the public,” said John Barnhart of Circleville.

Barnhart, an amateur archaeologist who also serves as a member of a number of historical organizations throughout Ohio, brought a large number of arrowheads and other artifacts he has found in central Ohio as well as the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“I have two collections – Indian relics and long rifles – and today I brought the relics,” he said with a grin. “It’s just great to learn the history of where you live through the items left by those who were here before you.”

Bill Reynolds, organizer of the event and historian at the museum, said Barnhart was one of between 15 and 20 people who showed off their collections.

“We also have flintknappers who are showing off not only their talents but how arrowheads and other sharp tools were made,” Reynolds said. “It is a dying art and very interesting to watch.”

Saturday’s event was the third “Digging the Past” program at the museum but the first time it included prehistoric and historic archeology.

“We have everything – items that are millions of years old all the way to things made 150 years go,” Reynolds said. “It’s wonderful.”

According to Reynolds, prehistoric is defined as having no written history and history must be interpreted through speculation while historic archeology is written and covers what our recent ancestors experienced and remembered.

“In historic archeology, people can expect to have military finds from native villages and trading posts, such as our early settlement days in the 18th Century,” Reynolds said.

Along with the private collections and the flintknappers, Saturday’s event also included a demonstration of how to work bone into tools. Bill Pickard, with the Ohio Historical Society, identified objects people brought in.

During Saturday’s event, speakers included Brent Ruby, an archaeologist for the National Park Service, who talked about the Hopewell National Historic Park; Misti Spillman, The Castle education coordinator, who spoke about an archaeological dig around The Castle on Fourth Street; Jerry Anderson, who talked about the Mound Builder’s Housing Shortage; and Doug Angenloni, who discussed the Skeletons of Ft. Laurens, which was about the soldiers who died there.