5. Reviews By
Bret J. Ruby, National Park Service, Hopewell
Culture National Historical Park.
Exploring Prehistoric Mounds on the
Rix Mills-High Hill Divide: The Archaeology
of the Wilds and Vicinity, Southeastern Muskingum
County, Ohio. Jeff Carskadden, Jeff
Brown and Gary Felumlee. Published by The
Muskingum Valley Archaeological Survey, Zanesville,
Ohio, in cooperation with The International
Center for the Preservation of Wild Animals,
1995; 102 pp., 49 photographs, 10 maps, 4
tables, references; $20.00 (paper).
For more than 200 years, interest in the mounds
and earthworks of the Ohio Valley has been focused
on the more spectacular and often monumental
constructions found along the main valley trench
and its major tributaries, especially the central
Scioto Valley. Carskadden and his colleagues
offer some useful points of comparison and contrast
in this consideration of a poorly known hinterland
region. The work focuses on the prehistory of
an upland divide along the central Muskingum
Valley in the unglaciated Appalachian Plateau
of east-central Ohio. The data presented here
offer an opportunity to compare hinterland trajectories
of Woodland period cultural change with those
documented in the main valleys, and to explore
relationships between main valley and hinterland
The Rix Mills-High Hill divide is a moderately
steep and narrow ridge rising some 600 feet above
and running parallel to the central Muskingum
River for about 13 miles in eastern Muskingum
County. The study focuses on a 97 square mile
area (Union, Rich Hill and Meigs Townships) encompassing
the divide and the upper reaches of three creeks
(Salt, Wills and Meigs Creeks) that eventually
drain into the central Muskingum River some 6
to 12 miles west of the divide.
Part I, "The Divide and its Early Occupants," provides
an overview of the environmental setting and
prehistory of the divide. The local environment
was rich in nuts and deer, but poor in aquatic
and chert resources. Paleoindian and Archaic
occupations are briefly described before turning
to a more in-depth discussion of the Woodland
and Late Prehistoric period occupations. The
prevalence of Early Archaic and especially Late
Archaic bifaces illustrated, if reflective of
real patterns of prehistoric land use on the
divide, ought to be of interest to those exploring
models of Archaic period settlement and subsistence.
Woodland period habitations on the divide are
treated in more detail, including quantitative
estimates of site densities through the Early
and Middle Woodland periods. Contrary to some
models of Woodland period land use which predict
an abandonment of upland settings during the
Middle Woodland, the data presented here indicate
that site densities along the divide actually
increase at a modest rate into the Middle Woodland
period. The divide apparently witnessed a population
nucleation during the early Late Woodland, with
the establishment of a small village surrounded
by an earthen ramp art and exterior ditch. After
ca. AD 650, there is little or no evidence of
human habitation on the divide, with the exception
of a single, small Late Prehistoric occupation.
The ebb and flow of human occupation documented
here should stimulate the development of more
refined models of prehistoric land use and demography
in the Ohio Valley area.
Part II, "Exploring and Recording Mounds on
the Divide", provides an historical overview
of archaeological explorations on the divide.
Historians of Ohio archaeology will be interested
to learn that Warren K. Moorehead, who went on
to become the first Curator of Archaeology at
the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society,
had his first experience with mound exploration
as a young man visiting relatives on the divide
in 1882. The other accounts presented here of
early explorations, private collections and more
recent investigations are of particular value
because of the relative lack of professional
interest in the region, and the loss of many
mounds and habitation sites to surface mining.
Part III, "A Checklist of Mounds Along the
Divide", provides brief site-by-site summaries
of the history and current condition of each
of the known mounds and earthworks on the divide.
The publication itself meets high technical
standards. The book is printed with paper cover
in 8 ½ x 11" format on glossy paper with
sewn bindings. The maps and tables follow a clear
consistent format throughout. The 49 black and
white photographs are reproduced at high resolution,
if a bit low in contrast on occasion, and most
of the artifacts pictured are accompanied by
metric scales. The book is available through "The
Wilds", 14000 International Road, Cumberland,
Ohio 43732. Cost is $20.00 per copy plus $3.00
postage and handling. Ohio residents please add
6.5% sales tax. Proceeds from the book benefit
The International Center for the Preservation
of Wild Animals (the Wilds), a 9000 acre wild
animal preserve and research center in Muskingum
The Hopewell Mound Group: Its People
and Their Legacy. Presented by the
Ohio Historical Society, 1995. CD-ROM. $49.99.
This offering from the Ohio Historical Society
represents the first attempt to exploit emerging
CD-ROM and multimedia technologies in the study
of Hopewell archaeology.
The main menu is organized around three parts.
The first part is "The Hopewell Culture in Ohio",
an original research paper interspersed with
links to illustrative photos, maps and diagrams.
The second part is the "Photo Album", which collects
a series of images into topically organized thumbnail
views linked to full screen views of each of
the images. The third section is the "Research
Catalog", presenting the full text, figures and
plates from four classic works in Hopewell archaeology:
Squier and Davis's (1848) "Ancient Monuments
of the Mississippi Valley"; Charles Willoughby's
(1916) "The Art of the Great Earthwork Builders
of Ohio"; Henry C. Shetrone's (1926) "Exploration
of the Hopewell Group of Prehistoric Earthworks";
and Warren K. Moorehead's (1922) "The Hopewell
Mound Group of Ohio".
Casual users will probably spend most of their
time in the Photo Album. Here they will find
dozens of color images of artifacts derived from
Warren K. Moorehead's 1891-92 exploration for
the World's Columbian Exposition (now curated
at the Field Museum, Chicago), and Henry C. Shetrone's
1922-25 explorations for the Ohio Historical
Society (now curated at the Ohio Historical Center,
Columbus). The objects selected successfully
portray the remarkable range of media and forms
that set the Hopewell site collections apart
from all others. The images presented here are
certain to foster an appreciation of the outstanding
level of technical mastery and artistic expression
attained by Hopewell artisans. Many of these
objects have not been previously illustrated.
The resolution of the images is adequate, however
a few appeared a bit dark on the system used
for this review. Images and text throughout the
application may be sent to a printer.
Users who delve into "The Hopewell Culture
in Ohio" will find an original research paper
that considers the cultural context of the objects
featured in the Photo Album. The essay is accessible,
comprehensive and up-to-date in its interpretations.
Icons scattered throughout the text provide links
to images which may be viewed alongside the text
or in full screen mode. The CD-ROM format lets
users explore and interact with the material
in a unique and nonlinear fashion that many will
find more engaging than traditional publications.
The ability to jump between topics, images and
text according to individual interest fosters
a sense of personal exploration and discovery
that is lacking in more traditional presentations.
Scholars will be most interested in the Research
Catalog. Here, collected in a single volume,
are the four most important primary sources relating
to the Hopewell site. The collection provides
ready and affordable access to four works that
were previously beyond the reach of most private
No technical problems were encountered with
either the installation or operation of the application
on the modest 486/66 platform used for this review
(minimum system requirements are listed below).
Technical support is available by phone or e-mail.
Navigation proved to be simple and intuitive.
Some users may be disappointed that this offering
does not include the audio and video clips, animations
and opportunities for interactivity that abound
in some other CD-ROMs marketed as "edutainment".
The emphasis here is clearly more on education
than entertainment. Scholars may wish that a
search tool had been included in the application.
In all though, this work is a unique and welcome
offering that will appeal to and benefit both
popular and scholarly audiences.
The CD-ROM is available from the Sales Office,
Ohio Historical Society, 1982 Velma Avenue, Columbus,
Ohio 43211-2497, or call 614-297- 2414. The cost
of the CD-ROM is $49.95. Ohio residents add 5.75%
sales tax. Add $5.00 shipping and handling. Payment
may be made by check or money order payable to
the Ohio Historical Society, or by VISA, MasterCard,
Discover or American Express with account number,
expiration date and signature.
Minimum system requirements: 386SX 16 MHz or
better (486 or better recommended). Microsoft
Windows 3.1 or later. MSCDEX version 2.2 or later.
MS-DOS 3.1 or later. 4 MB RAM (8 MB recommended).
MPC-compatible CD-ROM drive (150 KB/s sustained
transfer rate). SVGA graphics card (640x480 with
256 colors- 65,000 colors recommended) with compatible
monitor. 5 MB free disk space.