The Dynamic Landscape:

Is the Sandy Springs Landscape at Rock Run Preserve Concealing A Big Secret about Ohio’s Past Climate and Native American Occupations?  

July 22, 2017 | 1pm  at Serpent Mound Picnic Shelter; free of charge, no registration needed


A Special Presentation on Ancient Forces and Earlier Peoples by Matthew P. Purtill

In association with Applied Anthropology Laboratories – Ball State University


Sponsored by the Arc of Appalachia and the Ohio Environmental Council


In southeastern Adams County, Ohio, the natural landscape of Sandy Springs on the outer edge of Rock Run Preserve near the Ohio River may be hiding a big secret. As part of his PhD research at Sandy Springs, Matthew Purtill has been documenting how this unique landscape evolved over the past 20,000 years and how Ohio’s earliest known inhabitants, Native American’s referred to as Paleo-Indians by archaeologists, lived upon the land. The presence of large sand “hills” or dunes at Sandy Springs has long drawn interest from both the general public and scientists. Although once hypothesized to have been largely static and stationary since the end of the Ice Age, Purtill’s findings suggest that dunes have been dynamic and have actively “migrated” multiple times throughout the Holocene in response to specific climate conditions. This presentation will discuss these findings and elaborate on how Paleoindian groups may have interacted with this progressive landscape.

Other than the usual $8.00 parking fee to enter Serpent Mound, this event is free and open to the public without need for registration.

Brief History of Rock Run. For well over a decade, the Arc of Appalachia has been seeking to build upon the lands already owned and managed by the Ohio Division of Forestry to achieve the goal of protecting the entire Rock Run watershed. The main ravine of Rock Run is one of the deepest v-shaped valleys in Ohio – boasting a major elevation change from rock-strewn stream bottom to lofty ridgeline, dissecting some of Ohio’s wildest Appalachian foothills before reaching its confluence with the Ohio River, sheltering bobcat and timber rattlesnakes. The Arc of Appalachia has purchased four tracts of land in the watershed to date, totaling 400 acres – land which includes a significant portion of the sand deposits bordering a portion of the Ohio River  known as Sandy Springs. Rock Run’s sandy soils harbor the largest colony of prickly pear cactus in Ohio, as well as other plants adapted to extremes of wet and dry.

Growing Rock Run. Currently the Arc is working on a land campaign to fund three additional tracts in the Rock Run watershed. When completed, another 192 acres will be added to this beautiful wilderness preserve. Click here for more information.