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Ohio Historical Center

Here is my description of the Ohio Historical Center's collection when I started this site in 2004:

"Described by the 1989 Smithsonian Guide to Historic America as "probably the finest museum in America devoted to pre-European history,"  The display contains dated exhibits, but the artifacts never go out of style.  The overall exhibit is designed as a walk through that takes the visitor from Historic Period American Indians through Ohio Paleo Man.  Each time period and culture is given ample space and tremendous representation that attest to the industry of these prehistoric people.  In my opinion, the Prehistoric Ohioan exhibit is top notch and blows away all others I have visited.  The museum is located at 1982 Velma Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43211.  Their phone number is: 614.297.2300."

In 2010, my description reads differently:

The Ohio Historical Center has removed the finest artifact display in the country to make room for travelling exhibits. The first such exhibit was a tin toy exhibit. The new leadership at the Center is making every attempt to remove all prehistoric items from their museum and collection. As soon as they can "certify" a modern Indian group, the repatriation will be completed. Apparently, the current regime does not understand that the knowledge of Ohio's prehistory does not belong to any person/group, it belongs to everyone. Please call or write your digust to: Ohio Historical Center, 1982 Velma Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43211. Telephone 614-297-2300.

The pieces in the below pictures have been removed from display. I only wish I took more pictures....



The Adena Pipe

The Adena Pipe

This piece sits right up there with the best of the best of any prehistoric North American artifact. Found by William C. Mills in the Adena mound, it is a human effigy pipe carved from Ohio Pipestone. Interestingly, the human figure is of a dwarf. This is the signature artifact of the Adena Culture.


Hopewell Boatstone:

The Field Museum in Chicago owns most the great Hopewell boatstones, but this one remains in Ohio. This piece represents a nesting Hawk with inset fresh water pearl eyes. The bottom is completely hollowed out. It was found in deposit #1 of Mound 25 in the Hopewell Mound Group.



To call this an impressive array of birdstones, would be an understatement. Probably the largest single collection of birdstones outside of the Gilcrease Center.



Two Birdstones in Display:

My personal favorite. The birdstone falls within the subtype of Pop-Eyed Porphyry birdstone with protruding ridges on the base, undercut jaw, turned-up snubbed beak and an Oval upswung tail. I would also classify the piece as a natural eye variety with the porphyry phenocryst as the eye. Quite a mouthful and an unbelievable piece.

Tremper Mound Pipes

Tremper Mound Pipes:

I have argued that the effigy pipe cache found at Tremper Mound is the most valuable cache of prehistoric North American artifacts ever found. This is one of two diplays completely full of effigy pipes from a ceremonial crematorium located within the Tremper Mound.

Howling at the Moon

One of my favorite Tremper Pipes:

Dog howling at the Moon. First use of this popular motif in high art.

Hawk Pipe

Hawk Effigy Tremper Pipe:

The natural pose of this hawk captures the soul of the creature. Bird watchers know this pose well.

Clovis Display

Clovis Display:

These three pieces can only be described as "exceptional".

Late Paleo

Late Paleo Forms:

My favorite flint form. Large parallel percussion flaking, minute pressure edge retouch and unreal thinness make these pieces very special.