Kerr Mound gaining archaeological interest
Kerr Mound in Pickerington has gained archaeological interest.
In the upcoming weeks, Pickerington’s City Council will decide if local archaeologists will be allowed to begin an investigation on Kerr Mound.
Kevin Nolan, a lecturer for the Department of Anthropology at the Ohio State University, appeared before the Safety Committee at its March 16 meeting requesting authorization to perform an evaluation of the Kerr Indian Mound.
The safety committee has recommended this be approved by a motion of council at the April 5 regular meeting.
Nolan was contacted by Vince Malone, a resident of Pickerington, because he was concerned about the current state of the mound. Nolan agreed to help Malone when he told him he was interested in potentially putting together a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) application for the mound.
“While no immediate threat is apparent, continued degradation of the mound surface by biking and possibly sledding highlights the need to bring the importance of this site to the attention of the local public,” Nolan said.
The site was brought to local archaeologists’ attention in 1982 by a looting event. The site was then preserved by the city of Pickerington. Since the looting, there was no pressing reason to investigate the site further and was forgotten when other sites took precedence.
“The city is interested in its historic and prehistoric heritage, and archaeologists know very little about the area around Pickerington in prehistory," Nolan said.
Kerr Mound is immediately adjacent to two residential homes located on the east and west sides of the mound. These residents should already have been notified about the possible investigation.
The survey will reveal any locations of activity around the mound. This could be activities before the mound was constructed, or during and after. The shovel tests around the mound could provide artifacts that will help date the activity around the mound, Nolan said.
This will provide a useful context for the mound construction and site use and give the archaeologists more information about the activities performed around the mound.
“Our geophysical investigation of the mound and surrounding area will tell us how the site was formed, including any pits and subterranean features around the mound,” Nolan said. “Potentially, the magnetometer and ground penetrating radar will provide information about how the mound is constructed and what it contains. The remote sensing will also provide details about the extent of current damage from the ground hog and, particularly, the 1982 looting of the mound.”
The team will consist of Malone, Nolan, and Jarrod Burks from Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc, along with several volunteers. The fieldwork for the proposed evaluation would be performed one or two days at a time, beginning as soon as the brush can be cleared (late April or early May). In total, the planned evaluation would consist of approximately 6 to 10 days of fieldwork and could be completed in the late spring to early summer.
There are two things Nolan said he wanted people to know.
“First, we will not be excavating the mound, at all,” Nolan said. “We will not be disturbing the mound’s contents. Second, our investigations will only consist of a minimum of dirt being disturbed around the mound, leaving the vast majority of the site completely preserved for future research and posterity. We are simply carrying out a basic evaluative survey to contextualize the site. We will in no way exhaust the research potential of the site.”