The construction of new athletic facilities for Indian Valley High School in Tuscarawas County has unearthed a rare find that speaks to the area’s Native American legacy.
The discovery has had the community talking.
“People would catch me on street in town and in our community and say, 'Hey, I heard we found bones out there,'" said Indian Valley Local Schools superintendent Ira Wentworth. "No, no, no,” Wentworth had to correct misinformation about just what archaeologists discovered on 19 acres of former farmland behind Indian Valley High School in Gnadenhutten.
"They found a fire cracked rock," Wentworth explained. "And this fire cracked rock, which would be indicative of a cooking pit, they dated that to be between 500 and 2,000 years old."
That discovery led to further excavation. Archaeologists found pottery and hand held tools likely used for farming. Satisfied with the work done to gather the important artifacts, the State Historic Preservation Office has approved construction of the stadium to proceed. Wentworth says the new facility will include a display for visitors.
“They can see and recognize, understand the heritage of the land they’re setting on," he said.
The project, being paid for with a $7 million bond issue approved by voters last fall, should be complete by fall of next year.