SMITH TWP., Ohio (WKBN) — November is National Native American Heritage Month. This Thanksgiving, First News wants to shed light on the story of what’s known about some Valley history.
Smith Township is home to the site of what was once a Native American earthwork, though it’s difficult to tell exactly where it is now.
According to Bill Lawson with the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, the mound is near the intersection of State Route 14 and 12th Street.
“Previous owners had leveled the mound, and then after they did the archeological work in the 1940s, they covered it all up again,” Lawson said. “Just a little upstream from Berlin Reservoir. And there is a burial mound and ceremonial place from the indigenous period’s prehistoric — probably the Hopewell — time period.”
The Hopewell Period lasted from 100 BC to 400 AD, but people started to migrate here thousands of years before that, crossing the Bering Strait ice bridge, then traveling east.
“Going back 12,000 years, which right after the Wisconsin glacier receded and uncovered this part of Ohio,” Lawson said.
Without the existence of written records, historians do not know nearly as much about these ancient people as they would like.
“Over tens of thousands of years, a lot of things got dropped, mostly haphazardly. Notions of where villages were before have for a lot of times been obliterated,” Lawson said.
These wayward items turn up all over the area.
“Out of all that we know and all the sites that have been uncovered and preserved, there’s for each one, there’s probably at least 10 or 20 that we don’t know anything about,” Lawson said. “There are literally hundreds of thousands of objects, and these would be projectile points, spear and arrowheads, tools, ornamental pieces — like finely polished pendants that the indigenous people would have worn.”