A group of Wright State University students at an archaeology dig in Clark County have unearthed historical artifacts from wars fought in the region.
The dig at George Rogers Clark Park this month also gave historians a look into the Shawnee American Indian tribe that lived in Clark County in the 1700s. The tribe has rarely been studied, said Wright State professor Lance Greene.
“There’s this great opportunity here to look at this period in history and this group of people that haven’t really been studied very much,” Greene said about the site just off Ohio 4.
The group of 16 students are working at the Peckuwe battle site — the biggest Revolutionary War site in Ohio — near George Rogers Clark Park in Clark County.
“You know you can read about these things in books, and you can look at maps and charts, but then to actually pull an item out of the ground that’s been there forever, that’s exciting,” said sophomore Joshua Keeton.
So far students have found musket balls, a metal plate used on guns supplied to American Indians by the British and several artifacts from a Shawnee village, Greene said.
The Clark County Park District has been helping the students prepare the land they want to dig, Greene said.
The excavations through last week will continue this week with students examining the artifacts in a lab to try to date how far back the items go.
Clark County and the Miami Valley are prime for archaeological digs, Greene said, that are almost “untouched” by other researchers.
“There’s this great opportunity here to look at this period in history and this group of people that haven’t really been studied very much,” Greene said about the Shawnee tribe that lived in the area that is now George Rogers Clark Park.
More than 2,000 Shawnee lived in the village, he said. Wright State has never studied the site before.
“We had no idea what we were going to find out here,” Keeton said, adding that the students have unearthed items every day.
Greene plans to continue his study into the Shawnee village in Clark County for years to come, he said.
This dig is something many of his students can use in their professional career, Greene said.
Many anthropology majors use archaeology skills in a job in cultural resource management, he said.
Federal law now requires an archaeological study must be done at a site of any federally funded construction, such as roads, to make sure no important pieces of history are destroyed.