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Deal offered to run ancient Indian site in Ohio

Oregonia, Ohio (AP) 7-09

A nonprofit group has offered to take over management of Fort Ancient, a prehistoric Indian site faced with closing down this summer because of proposed cuts in state funding.

If approved by state officials, Fort Ancient would be the 34th of 58 Ohio Historical Society sites to be managed by a private entity.

Under the plan, the Dayton Society of Natural History would operate the 100-acre site near Oregonia. The group already manages a similar archaeological complex – the SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park in Dayton.

“They would be a great partner to work with us,” said George Kane, director of historic sites for the Ohio Historical Society.

If approved by the historical society’s board of trustees, the transition to new management could take place by Aug. 1, Kane said. The historical society would still be responsible for capital improvements.

The state is looking to forge similar partnerships to manage 13 other historic places. Gov. Ted Strickland’s proposed budget calls for about $3.5 million in cuts to the Ohio Historical Society.

Fort Ancient’s earthworks were built by Native Americans of the prehistoric Hopewell culture, which used the land for ceremonial and social gatherings.

The site’s series of earthen walls – now covered with grass and trees – are more than 3.5 miles long and enclose about 100 hilltop acres overlooking the Little Miami River near Oregonia, about 30 miles northeast of Cincinnati.

 

 

 

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