Monthly Archives: February 2013

Important Vietzen Artifact Acquired

This large portion of a Flint Ridge blade was found by a bulldozer operator many years ago while excavating for a road near Newark, Licking Co., Ohio.   The beautiful Flint Ridge material is Ohio’s state gemstone; it measures 3 1/8″ long and 2 3/4″ wide.  It was given to then-director of the Ohio State Museum, Erwin Zepp.  Col. Vietzen became a friend of Mr. Zepp as they were acquaintances in the formation of the Archaeological Society of Ohio, then known as the Ohio Indian Relic Collectors Society.  The artifact was given to Col. Vietzen by Mr. Zepp, and it reposed in Col. Vietzen’s study for many years.

Col. Ron Sauer acquired the piece when the Col. Vietzen collection was dispersed, and he donated it to the New Indian Ridge Museum for Col. Nahorn’s graduation from Oberlin College.  It was donated February 27, 2013.  This well-documented piece has an interesting history, and we are very pleased to be able to preserve it at the New Indian Ridge Museum.  As Col. Vietzen once stated, “a broken or damaged Indian artifact is as good as the finest ever made.  It tells a great story, if you are willing to listen to its spirits.”

Beautiful Flint Ridge Material and nice patina is evident.

Beautiful Flint Ridge Material and nice patina is evident.

Reverse of the blade showing Col. Vietzen's inscription describing the artifact's provenance.

Reverse of the blade showing Col. Vietzen’s inscription describing the artifact’s provenance.

A photo of Mr. Erwin Zepp at his home in Wellington, Ohio which appeared in one of Col. Vietzen's books, "The Old Warrior Speaks" (1981).  Zepp was director of the Society from 1947-1964.  He was associated with the Society for years before becoming director.  He was given the artifact by the bulldozer operator.  He later gave it to Col. Vietzen.

A photo of Mr. Erwin Zepp at his home in Wellington, Ohio which appeared in one of Col. Vietzen’s books, “The Old Warrior Speaks” (1981). Zepp was director of the Ohio Historical Society from 1947-1964. He was associated with the Society for years before becoming director. He was given the artifact by the bulldozer operator. He later gave it to Col. Vietzen.

Interesting photo of a view of Col. Vietzen's study, which was in his home.  The artifact described in this article is located in the center case, second row from the bottom, on the right.

Interesting photo of a view of Col. Vietzen’s study, which was in his home. The artifact described in this article is located in the center case, second row from the bottom, on the right.

Franks Site Celt Acquired

A large, well-polished stone celt from the Franks Site in Brownhelm, Ohio was recently acquired by the Museum.  It was donated by the Rounds family February 12, 2013.

The 6″ celt has a well-preserved bit and is completely polished around all sides.  The Franks Site and Brownhelm Site were two large archaeological sites on the high cliffs along the east bank of the Vermilion River in Brownhelm, Ohio.  The entire site encompassed some 80 acres of land, and Col. Vietzen referred to it as an Erie village.  He worked on that site in the early 1940s and served as site supervisor when classes from Oberlin College did their studies there.  He most likely found this piece during excavations of the village site.  It is inscribed as being from that site, and the inscription is in Col. Vietzen’s handwriting.   This is a fine, local artifact; we are very pleased to be able to preserve it here locally.

Franks Site Celt from Brownhelm, OH.  Col. Vietzen collection.

Franks Site Celt from Brownhelm, OH. Col. Vietzen collection.

Important Rattlesnake Effigy Pipe Acquired

In December 2012, Col. Nahorn, director and founder of the New Indian Ridge Museum, completed studies at Oberlin College, receiving his B.A. in Environmental Studies.  Jean and Jay Rounds and Bill and Diane Nahorn, trustees of the Museum and integral individuals in the Museum operations, decided to purchase and donate a very important artifact to the Museum, in honor of Col. Nahorn’s graduation milestone.

The Rattlesnake Effigy pipe from Arkansas was purchased from the Col. Ron Sauer collection and donated by the Nahorns and Rounds on February 2, 2013.  This important artifact has an important, documented history.  Outlined in Col. Vietzen’s “Ancient Man in Northern Ohio” (1941, p. 141-42), under the heading, “A Pipe from the Old Caddo Culture,” we learn that this carved stone pipe was found in Pike County, Arkansas by a Mr. Ross, prior to the Civil War.  He was a farmer and merchant in Pike County at that time.  It was then presented to his brother-in-law, Mr. Chas. Trickett of Oklona, AR.  It was said that Trickett smoked the pipe for some years.  In 1912 he presented it to Mr. T. J. Laird of Elyria, OH.  (Laird had previously owned a farm in Oklona, AR. and knew Trickett from their time there.)

The bowl and stem feature entwined rattlesnake carvings.  Three snake heads are on the top, facing the smoker.  The coil at the end of the stem has uniquely carved rattles.  In his book, Vietzen states that, “This pipe is one of the finest of the stone pipes ever found in Arkansas.”  Most of the pipes from the area are of pottery.  It was made and used by the Mound Builder culture in that state, an early culture of the Caddos.

The pipe is of a tannish-cream colored quartzite.  It was later acquired by Col. Vietzen and was a part of his collection for over 50 years.  It has been featured in several publications.  After Col. Vietzen’s death, it was acquired by Col. Ron Sauer.  On February 2, 2013, it became part of the New Indian Ridge Museum and once again rests in one of Col. Vietzen’s old cases.

Rattlesnake Effigy Pipe from Arkansas, found before the Civil War.  Col. Vietzen collection.

Rattlesnake Effigy Pipe from Arkansas, found before the Civil War. Col. Vietzen collection.

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Notice the snake heads facing the smoker and rattles around the end of the pipe’s stem.

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The Rattlesnake Effigy pipe, carved from quartzite.

Notice the Rattlesnake Effigy pipe as it rested in one of the cases located inside Col. Vietzen’s house, where his private collection was kept.