Monday, February 07, 2005

Notes From My Knapsack 2-13-05
By Jeff Gill

Tuesday, Feb. 15 is certainly just around the corner, but there’s an event and opportunity coming up just around that corner you should know about, but that I didn’t think I could promote loudly and widely until just now. But first…
If you are interested in the long (I mean looooong) human history of Licking County, going back to what appears to be the very first human occupants of this area 12,000 years ago and on down to the latecomers from Europe a mere 200 years back, then you should read the rest of this column.
If not, check back next week under this header. Bye!
OK, for those of you still with me, one more request before I get to the meaty details. Don’t turn the page just because I happen to use the words “Granville Bicentennial” in a sentence, because this is a program of interest to anyone who lives in and is intrigued by the Native American prehistory of central Ohio.
Tuesday at 7:30 pm is the next featured speaker in the Granville Bicentennial series, and I was reluctant to shout too much from the housetops because the venue was going to a relatively small room. But the huge turnout for the opening talk by Dale Knobel, Denison president and historian in his own right, led the wonderful management at the Granville Inn to offer their “Great Room” for the rest of the series, with seating enough for hundreds (as we had for Pres. Knobel).
Brad Lepper, curator of archaeology for the Ohio Historical Society, was one of the authors of the new Granville history volume(s), and is widely known as not only the leading expert on early residents in Licking County from after the glaciers to just before the settlers arrived, but also as a great public speaker. In the interests of full disclosure, Brad is a good and longstanding friend, but for many who have heard me rattle on interminably about the Newark Earthworks, the Burning Tree Mastodon, Alligator Mound, Flint Ridge, etc., may I note that all my A-list material has been swiped directly from Brad.
Dr. Lepper, in his professional persona, also has a book coming out this month titled “Ohio Archaeology” (go ahead, check for details; we’ll be here when you get back). His many publications, appearance with former National Park Service director Roger Kennedy on the Discovery Channel, and column in (ahem) another newspaper mean that many of you have read something or another by Brad, but if you’ve never heard him speak on Ohio’s First Residents, you should head for the Granville Inn this week and get a good seat before 7:30 pm.
I will personally offer a money back guarantee for your enjoyment of the evening’s program, which is free and open to the public.
You might also note that Dick Shiels, another author for the Granville history books and a presenter a few weeks on down the road, and Brad are working on co-ordinating a number of events next fall relating to the Octagon Moonrise, the “once in a generation” alignment of the largest assembly in the Newark Earthworks and a unique moonrise that won’t be seen again until 2024. Check out for the first stage of a website that will tell you more as the big date gets closer. Dick teaches at OSU-Newark, and between he and Brad Licking County has a remarkable wealth of teaching talent and public presentation skills to share our “land of legend” story with a national and global audience.
So come on into Granville Tuesday night, where the natives are friendly (just don’t speed, fer Pete’s sake), and hear a story where we all have a part in telling the growing tale of Licking County wonders.

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio, and he’s been known to do an archaeology talk or two himself. If you have local stories of general interest, send ‘em to

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