Sunday, June 24, 2007

Preservationists try to acquire an important Hopewell site in Ohio

Just a few weeks ago, Spruce Hill, one of the most important archaeological sites in Ohio, was in danger of being auctioned off to paper companies eager to profit from its premium forest timber. A sacred stone hilltop fortification enclosing 150 acres of land, Spruce Hill was built by the Hopewell Indians nearly 2,000 years ago. Although it was surveyed in the mid 1800s, few archaeologists have investigated the site because it was privately owned up until now. Had Spruce Hill been auctioned off, the site's structures and artifacts, along with their valuable evidence about the Hopewell culture, could have been lost forever. In a heroic effort, four preservation groups joined together to purchase the land just one day before it was set to go to auction.

Although preservation groups raised enough to convince officials to remove the site from auction, they are still far short of the total sale price: $612,000. An additional $245,000 must be raised before the closing day scheduled for July 16, 2007.