Lawhon was selected as the environmental consultant for the Olentangy Trail Expansion from Dragon Fly Day Camp to the Bodycombe property located on the west side of the Olentangy River. The proposed trail is located in an archaeologically “sensitive” area on the Olentangy floodplain, with several previously recorded archaeological sites along the 2 mile corridor. Given the aggressive proposed schedule for design and construction, a hybrid testing strategy was designed in consultation with SHPO that allowed the Phase I survey to include Phase II assessment elements to expedite the review process.
Sections of the trail that were previously undisturbed were surveyed using traditional Phase I survey techniques. For the northern portion of the trail, where two sites were deemed potentially eligible for inclusion in the National Registry of Historic Places (NRHP) during a previous study, expanded test units were utilized. The section that traversed the previously recorded DECCO-1 site, whose hallmarks include the posthole pattern of a circular structure dating to the Middle Woodland and two burials containing the fragmentary remains of multiple individuals dating to the Late Prehistoric period, the original field notes and artifacts were examined and the data obtained synthesized to allow for an accurate determination of the sites NRHP eligibility.
The study resulted in the identification of 7 previously unrecorded archaeological sites, one of which was deemed potentially eligible for inclusion into the NRHP. Additionally, it was determined the DECCO-1 was eligible for inclusion. Based on several considerations, Metroparks chose to avoid the potentially eligible site and to end this phase of the trail prior to crossing the Olentangy River. L&A is currently in consultation with SHPO regarding the recommendations for further study should Metroparks extend the trail from its current terminus to the proposed Bodycombe Property Trailhead on the west side of the river.