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Old News Is Good News

By · October 11th, 2006 · Letters
The recent news article about Serpent Mound ("History Mystery," issue of Oct. 4) incorrectly attributes to me the following quote: "Native Americans are different from the Hopewell, the Adena and the Archaic cultures." To claim that I made this statement, which the author puts in quotation marks, is to suggest I subscribe to some version of the discredited "Mound-builder Myth," which asserts Ohio's ancient cultures were something other than "Native Americans." The cultures are distinctive, reflecting change over time, but all are Native American.

Another problem is the conflation of the "Fort Ancient culture" with the "Fort Ancient site." This can be confusing, and it would appear that I was unclear in my comments to the reporter.

Therefore, Ross Hamilton's statement that "Fort Ancient actually began more than 2,100 years ago and was not made by the so-named Fort Ancient Culture" does not reflect any withholding of facts on my part.

The Fort Ancient earthworks were built by the Hopewell culture approximately 2,000 years ago, as Hamilton indicated. One thousand years later, however, a subsequent group built a village within the southern portion of the earthworks.

In the early 20th century, archaeologists mistakenly believed the village and earthwork walls belonged together and named the culture after the site. For clarification, please see the information readily available on the Ohio Historical Society's Web site at www.ohiohistorycentral.org.

Finally, the evidence for Serpent Mound being a Fort Ancient effigy is far more extensive than simply the radiocarbon dates.

It includes the nearby Fort Ancient village site and burial mound (the so-called "Elliptical Mound") and the relative importance of serpents in the art of the Late Prehistoric versus the Adena (or Hopewell) cultures.

There is no credible evidence whatsoever that Serpent Mound might be as old as 5,000 years as claimed by Hamilton. It is a pity that the archaeologist Robert Connolly wasn't asked whether he would bet the farm on that suggestion.

-- Bradley T. Lepper Curator of Archaeology

Ohio Historical Society

Help Your Rural Neighbors
With elections around the corner, one issue that should concern all voters is the future of the Universal Service Fund, an essential element of our nation's telecommunications network.

The Universal Service Fund is an industry-funded program that pays a portion of the high cost of connecting rural consumers, schools, libraries and hospitals with modern telephone service. It provides access to telecommunications services for countless state residents, supports education in rural schools and brings high-quality healthcare to rural hospitals through telemedicine programs.

Thanks to this fund, the telephone penetration rate in rural areas is approximately 95 percent, and broadband access in these areas stands at 70 percent and is increasing. Independent rural telephone companies are offering state-of-the-art services such as IP video, distance learning and full motion interactive video that allows children to take classes from teachers hundreds of miles away.

Would these capabilities be possible without the Universal Service Fund? The answer is "no." Last year, rural telephone companies in Ohio invested $2.4 billion to build, operate and maintain our telecommunications networks.

Some members of Congress want to put a lid on the Universal Service Fund. But this position ignores the fact that installing and maintaining telephone and Internet lines over vast distances to rural consumers is extremely expensive. Without the fund, the average cost of telephone service for rural residents in Ohio would increase significantly.

When you go to the polls, ask yourself: Does the candidate support rural communities and the Universal Service Fund program? Their support of this fund is vital to the economic health and stability of our state, especially in rural areas.

-- Donald Hoersten Ottoville, Ohio



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