It was in 1805 that a group of dedicated individuals founded the “Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society.” The national importance of Ohio’s earthwork sites had already become well known, through publications like Squier and Davis’s Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley. Indeed the growing fame of these places was creating a problem. Retired Curator Martha Otto explains:

There were some eastern Universities like Harvard, and so forth, that were sending people out here to investigate the mounds, and they were taking collections back to their respective locations. So one of the reasons why the organization was founded was to have some sort of body, within the state of Ohio, that would do archaeological research and maintain the collections.

Soon the Society was chartered by the state, and began in earnest its stewardship of Ohio’s historic and ancient places:

In the 1890s, the organization started acquiring archeological sites like Fort Ancient, and around 1900 we acquired Serpent Mound from the Peabody Museum. And from then on it was a matter of acquiring various archaeological and historical and natural sites throughout the state that were deemed to be particularly significant.

In the 1950s, the word “archaeological” was dropped from the name; and in the 1970s, the massive new museum was put up. Today the “OHS” partners with other groups around the state to maintain, administer, and interpret the earthwork sites that it owns.

Granville, Columbus



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