CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A decade after flood waters uncovered historical artifacts near the original site of the town of Clarksville, the town is finally getting closer to bringing those shards of its history home.
Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced at a meeting of the Clarksville Historic Preservation Commission on Monday that funding has been secured to curate more than 6,000 artifacts that were discovered when rushing waters damaged Emery Crossing Road near Mill Creek and washed away a portion of Old Clarksville near the Ohio River.
The artifacts have been in the possession of the Corps since 2004. The work to curate them had been set to be done that year, but had to be pushed back because of an overrun on a priority project, said Corps Outreach Coordinator Brandon Brummett.
Mike Turner, the Corps’ section chief of environmental resources, told the News and Tribune (http://bit.ly/1kyshuN ) that $50,000 in operation and maintenance funds has been allocated to the curation project that must be spent by the end of the federal fiscal year. The last day of this federal fiscal year is Sept. 30.
“These are not the nicer artifacts you have in the display case,” Turner told the preservation commission.
Though the artifacts include human and animal remains that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, the majority are what archaeologists call “shards.” A shard is “basically a rock chip,” Turner said.
“We anticipate that we’ll get a lot of the artifact analysis done (this year),” Turner said. “The next stage after that is the technical report of everything that’s been done since 2004 to date and provide that to the Indiana State Historic Preservation office.”
Once those steps are complete, the landowner - in this case, the town - will get the artifacts back.
“For 150 years, people have taken artifacts out of Clarksville’s ground,” said Town Historian Jane Sarles. “Now, finally, someone wants to give them back. Thank you.”
Brummett credited Clarksville Government Resources Coordinator Scott Johnson for his efforts to ensure that the artifacts come back to Clarksville.
“You always hear that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Scott does a lot of squeaking,” Brummett said.
Johnson’s efforts and the Corps’ announcement received a round of applause from the preservation commission.
“Thank you guys for all the help,” said board member Bill Wilson. “It’s been a struggle.”
Johnson’s work with the Corps sets the table for greater cooperation between it and the town on other issues, specifically mitigating erosion along the banks of the Ohio River, said Town Council President Bob Polston.
“Next up, erosion,” Polston said. “We want to keep a good relationship with them.”