Saturday marked the 28th time Serpent Mound has hosted Archaeology Day.
The sun was out, there was a nice breeze, and the temperature was in the low 70s. Bill Pickard, an archaeologist set up in the artifact identification tent at the park on Saturday, remarked that they couldn’t have asked for better weather for the event.
“If it had been 95, we wouldn’t have had nearly as many people come out,” Pickard mused.
By the time Dr. Jarrod Burks presented findings from his ongoing search for earthworks in Southern Ohio at noon, the parking lot was packed. Park manager Tim Goodwin told The Times-Gazette that he estimated there were around 90 people just in the covered picnic area where Burks gave his presentation. Goodwin estimated that 600 people in total came out for the event on Saturday.
Though there were fewer demonstrations this year than in years past, there was still plenty to learn and do between stations like the two flint knapping demonstration tables, an atlatl-throwing range, and a booth on life in colonial America. Deks Nordquist, who has been participating in re-enactments for around 40 years and collecting historical artifacts like the original American Revolution-era guns that took up most of his table, ran the Life and First Contact booth with his wife, Pam, and Craig Goodwin, park manager Tim Goodwin’s son, who grew up wanting to do re-enactments. Every now and then a crowd would gather around their table, caught up in Deks’ stories about how sayings like “it’s raining cats and dogs” got their start or even just to ask the trio, “Aren’t you hot in those costumes?”
This isn’t what Serpent Mound’s Archaeology Day was like a decade ago. When it was first held at Serpent Mound in 1992, it was just a showcase of local collectors’ artifacts. The event was expanded to include demonstrations and presentations in 2014 when Tim Goodwin became the park’s manager. Goodwin might not get to sit and enjoy the presentations or demonstrations on Archaeology Day, but because of him, hundreds of visitors do.
Serpent Mound is pretty active for a prehistoric site. Though Highland County residents may only find themselves at the park for things like family reunions, Arc of Appalachia, the organization that manages the park, holds several events at Serpent Mound throughout the year. Check out the park’s calender of events at arcofappalachia.org/serpent-mound-events.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.