Monthly Archives: January 2015

Ancient Wood Fragment Acquired

This ancient fragment of white cedar wood was found at the corner of Middle Ridge and West Ridge Roads in Lorain County, Ohio.  It was found approximately 25′ deep into the Earth during excavations for the high-tension electric wire metal towers.  Col. Vietzen recounts the story of this artifact and others like it found there, on page 21 of his last published book, “Prehistoric Indians from Darkness Into Light” (1995), which was actually printed after his death:

“There really are more Paleo specimens [projectile points] than we at once thought, and most are in areas not covered by ice from the last glacier, when the top of Ohio was uninhabited.  White cedar trees were buried under 12′ of dirt, rock, and ice.  I excavated many of these ossified trees, about 10″ in diameter.  The Schmitkons farm on Middle Ridge, about 4 miles north of my home and Route 2, also have hundreds of such ossified trees.  These are not quite petrified and are very black and are very interesting.  I went down 12′ to reach their deposit.  Few people have ever seen such a site in northern Ohio.  This condition reappeared in North Ridgeville at the edge of the glacier beach – where the bank was built, these trees were also evident.  I only regret I did not have more time to spend on the sites, but I do have specimens and records.  The Schmitkons family had a horse manger in their barn which was filled with this wood.  People often asked if they could burn it in their fireplaces.  Such disregard for such a discovery.  A few pieces were taken to Germany to be studied there.  About 200′ from the wood deposit, on a high spot, a dark grey flint Paleo point was found by the farmer, in his garden.  This was given to me to study.  He had about 400 artifacts, but most were Archaic, Adena, and Hopewell.”

This piece of wood came from the above-described deposit and was in Col. Vietzen’s collection.  It was later given to Col. Ron Sauer.  Col. Sauer donated it to the New Indian Ridge Museum on January 27, 2015.  It is a rare and unique piece of ancient, local history.

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A fragment of an ancient white cedar tree from 25′ deep into the Earth, found by Col. Vietzen. It measures over 8″ long.