The Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center [SOMACC] is hosting a special event on Saturday, September 10. Andrew Feight, Ph.D., Professor of History and Director of the Center for Public History at Shawnee State University presents, “Explore the Wertz Collection and the Portsmouth Earthworks Complex with Scioto Historical Version 4.0.”
This event is part of the museum’s 2022 Prehistory Lecture Series and it is also part of the Ohio History Connection’s [OHC] Ohio Open Doors statewide event sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council, TourismOhio, the Ohio Travel Association, and Heritage Ohio. Ohio Open Doors takes place from September 9-18, consisting of special public tours and programs at Ohio’s historic buildings, museums, and landmarks.
SOMACC’s event begins at 10 am in the museum’s Hopkins Theatre with an introduction to the Scioto Historical app, which brings to life historic landmarks and events in the area. Dr. Feight secured a grant from Ohio Humanities to fund the expansion of the Scioto Historical app for the smart phone and desktop computer. The free app can be accessed at sciotohistorical.org.
New prehistoric landmarks on Scioto Historical Version 4.0 are SOMACC’s “Art of the Ancients” exhibition, the East Twin Horseshoe Mound and elements of Portsmouth Group B at Mound Park, the Heinisch Mound, Tremper Earthworks and Village, and the Raven Rock Stone Cairn. All of these earthworks are components of the Portsmouth Earthworks Complex, which, at one time, was the largest prehistoric earthen mound complex in the entire world.
During Feight’s introduction to the Scioto Historical app, he will present a virtual fly-over of the Portsmouth Earthworks Complex by artist, Herb Roe. Roe is a graduate of Portsmouth High School who is now working as a professional artist in Louisiana. Roe worked for many years assisting Robert Dafford in the creation of the Portsmouth Floodwall Murals. Roe’s rendering of the Portsmouth Earthworks Complex, as it is thought to have existed around 2,000 years ago, will be available for viewing on the Scioto Historical app.
Following Feight’s introduction, Emily Uldrich, Museum Educator, will give a brief guided tour of the “Art of the Ancients” permanent exhibition. This exhibition showcases the Wertz Collection of over 10,000 prehistoric Native American artifacts, which includes the largest body of material associated with the Portsmouth Earthworks Complex.
After the exhibition tour, participants are invited to caravan to Mound Park to tour the remains of Portsmouth Group B. Participants will need to provide their own transportation. Remnants of the Portsmouth Earthworks Complex at Mound Park include the East Twin Horseshoe Mound, a Conical Mound, the Natural Elevation where the Scioto County Children’s Home once stood, and a portion of the Northeast Parallel Embankments.
The drive to Mound Park will pass the former location of the Heinisch Mound at the corner of Gallia and Waller Streets where Portsmouth High School now stands. The Heinisch Mound was constructed along the Southwest Parallel Embankments of the Portsmouth Earthworks Complex. Important prehistoric artifacts discovered in the Heinisch Mound are held in the collections of the OHC and SOMACC.
The next stop for the caravan is the Tremper Earthworks and Village. The Arc of Appalachia plans to open the Tremper Mound to the public in 2022, and they are providing a sneak preview as part of this event. The Tremper Mound is one of the most significant sites of the Portsmouth Earthworks Complex because discovered in the mound was a cache of around 60 animal effigy platform pipes created by the Hopewell Culture 2,000 years ago. These pipes are now held in the collection of the OHC in Columbus.
Registration for the last section of the tour is limited to a group of 30 people, free of charge. The last part of the tour will consist of lunch at Earl Thomas Conley Riverside Park in West Portsmouth provided by the Friends of Shawnee State Park. Jenny Richards will then lead the group on a guided hike to the Raven Rock Overlook, which has attracted explorers and residents of the region for generations. Daniel Boone is reported to have visited the Raven Rock Overlook as a pioneer.
At the crest of Raven Rock Hill was the Raven Rock Stone Cairn. The existence of this mound was recorded by Charles V. Wertz in his c.1930s manuscript, “Ancient Man and His Works in and around Scioto County.” Research by Uldrich at SOMACC has connected the Raven Rock Stone Cairn to the prehistoric Adena and Hopewell Cultures.
This program is made possible, in part, by Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusion, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Participants in this event may attend all or part of the tour. Free registration is available online at: https://forms.gle/TZN8bH5sRaN1gn2Q9
For more information, please contact SOMACC at 740-354-5629 or [email protected]