Saturday, February 18, 2012

Knapsack 2-23

Notes From My Knapsack 2-23-12

Jeff Gill


The Ancient Ohio Trail goes through Granville



Ohio's landscape is inscribed with some of the most remarkable earthworks and remnants of ancient sites in the world. Visitors and scholars have been coming for decades to see and experience this amazing Native American architecture, and new technology allows any visitor at any time to have a world-class experience on and around these sites.


From the 2,000-plus year old mounds and geometric enclosures, to comfortable guest accommodations & amenities today, you can find yourself lost in the many roads and paths through Ohio's antiquity.


My unique opportunity these last few years has been to work with the Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historic and Archaeological Sites (CERHAS) at the University of Cincinnati, as they are partners with the Newark Earthworks Center of OSU's Newark Campus, and director Richard Shiels and associate director Marti Chaatsmith (who is Comanche). They are partners in a National Endowment for the Humanities' grant which funds something called the "Ancient Ohio Trail" and this coming Ancient Ohio Summer of 2012.


Our goal is to help you use the Ancient Ohio Trail (AOT) website and downloads to find your own personal trail that connects up as much of our history and culture as you have time to enjoy.


This coming "Ancient Ohio Summer" takes the already existing website,, and completes the toolbox with apps, podcasts, and short videos, all available on your own smart phone, tablet, or personal computer. We have four "keystone" sites and over 50 additional locations, along with the tourism resources of nearby communities, which gives you a broad network to move within.


For the Ancient Ohio Summer, our programming will include a series of events particularly targeted at rolling out these new downloads and apps for site interpretation & education. While many other ongoing events at our partner sites can also be places for you to visit and use the website's tools, these events will all have Ancient Ohio Trail team members present to help guide and enhance your use of these tools to understand the sites.


May 5th is our "launch event," part of an ongoing series of Newark Earthworks Days. Based at the Newark Campus of The Ohio State University (OSU), the Reese Center will host a series of presenters, including a keynote from Gerard Baker, a Mandan-Hidatsa and former assistant director of the National Park Service, and who served as superintendent at Little Bighorn National Battlefield and Mount Rushmore.


May 5th will also include presentations from other Native American voices, and archaeologists like Brad Lepper & Jarrod Burks showing us some of the most current field work going on in Ohio in 2012; the day will wrap up with a chance for the entire audience to work with the technology on their own or AOT's devices. John Hancock, director of CERHAS will offer a presentation as well.


I am incredibly excited, not only at what I am telling you now, but at a number of other events that are going to happen here in Licking County that are still not quite ready to take out of the oven. But I want all of you to mark some of these events on your calendar today! You'll hear more, I promise . . . and soon!


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; he's also working for the Newark Earthworks Center this year! Ask him about the AOT at or follow Knapsack @Twitter.

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