Archaeology Day
Join us for a day full of Native American demonstrations, presentations, music and displays!!

Saturday, August 25, 2018 10am – 4pm at Serpent Mound

Event is free with $8/vehicle parking fee. Event is under shelter – rain or shine.
Woodies Goodies will be set up in the parking area selling food all day.

Local artifact collectors will be on site displaying their collections. Bring in your own artifacts, a professional archaeologist will be on-site to help identify any artifacts you may have. Native Skill demonstrations such as flint knapping and atlatl throwing will be ongoing throughout the day. In the picnic shelter, professional presentations will be provided by experienced experts. For the children, we’ll have Native American games and face painting. Tours will be offered from the museum throughout the day and you are also welcome to take a self guided hike on our nature trail.


This presentation will discuss what is known about SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park in Dayton. SunWatch is the location of a Fort Ancient period (Late Precontact) American Indian village that was occupied at least once and possibly twice between about A.D. 1,200 and 1,400. Excavations began at this site in the 1960s and continued through the 1980s when the site was opened to the public as SunWatch.


In this presentation we explore the idea that Serpent Mound is part of an ancient Native American story about the journey of the soul to the Land of the Dead. Multiple lines of evidence in support of this interpretation are presented to include ethnohistoric data, archaeastronomic data, and geophysical data. Of particular interest will be discussion of special phenomena likely witnessed and experienced by Moundbuilder people at the site.

Ancient Artifacts on Display

Artifact collectors from all over Ohio will display their collections to the public. These individuals are experts in this field and are ready to share their thoughts about the last 10,000 years of Ohio History.

Ancient American Tools

Living history reenactors will discuss how the ancient Americans made and used various tools. This includes demonstrations on how to use pump drills and fire bows. The public is often invited to try their hand at using these tools.

Artifact Identification Booth

Bill Pickard will be on hand to help Identify and Interpret your artifacts. Bill is a professional archaeologist working at the Ohio History Connection. He has over 35 years’ experience in identifying, classifying, cataloging and preserving Native American artifacts. If you would like to find out who made that old arrowhead your grandfather found in his field, bring it in and Bill will be happy to tell you

Flint Knapping

Flint Knapping is a process of shaping flint/chert into a usable tool or weapon. Harold Elam and Donnie Tincer will demonstrate this hard to learn skill and will answer whatever questions you may have regarding the process. Watch both of these master craftsmen take, what appears to be a common rock, and form it into a beautiful arrowhead in a matter of minutes. Both craftsmen will have samples of their trade for sale.

Atlatl Demonstrations

Bows and arrows are a rather recent invention in the Americas and have been used for less than 1,500 years. However, during the previous 8,000 years it was the Atlatl that was the primary hunting weapon for Native Americans. The Atlatl is basically a uniquely shaped wooden stick that is used to throw a lightweight spear. Vince Schuler will discuss the history and will demonstrate the proper usage of the atlatl. An atlatl throwing range will be set up and the public can try their hand at mastering this unique skill.

Ancient Pottery

Pottery was an extremely important catalyst in shifting Native American cultures from Hunter-Gather groups to the larger and more agriculturally oriented settlements.  Watch as Thomas Grooms demonstrates the art of pottery making.  He will explain the history, usage and refinement of pottery through ages.  Kids are welcome to try their hand at making clay pots

Colonial Life and First Contact 

Living History Reenactors, in colonial garb, will be on hand to talk about life on the frontier and the Indian wars of the 18th century.  A variety of 18th century artifacts will be on display for the public to hold and ask questions about.  These individuals (Craig Nordquist and Craig Goodwin) are experienced historians who know stuff.  Watch as they load and fire an old muzzle loading musket.

Native American Music

Steve Free, an accomplished Native American songwriter, singer and musician will be performing from 1 to 3 PM just outside the visitors’ center.  Steve is an internationally known folk singer.  He will be performing a variety of folk songs, including some in the Shawnee language.  You really don’t want to miss this!

Native American Games

The park staff will engage visiting children with Native American games that they can play, plus face painting.  There will be a variety of face painting designs kids can choose from, which will be based on Native Americans themes.  This activity is free to the public.  (10am to 4pm)

Group Guided Tours

The park staff will be hosting guided tours of the world’s largest Effigy Mound.  These tours will begin just outside the visitors’ center at noon, 2pm and 4pm.

Food Concession Stand

Woody’s Goodies will be located in the parking lot throughout the day.  They will be offering hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks and chips.  There are picnic tables located throughout the park, which visitors are welcome to use.