Ohio-Erie Canal Closure Assessment Project

Services:

  • Phase I Archaeological Survey
  • Coordinate Concurrence with Mitigation Strategy
  • Develop Data Recover Plan
  • Phase III Archaeological Excavation

ASC Group completed a Phase III Data Recovery Excavations at 33SU679 for the Ohio-Erie Canal Closure Assessment Project, which was a follow up to a Phase I cultural resources survey ASC Group completed in 2017. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail is managed by the Summit Metro Parks. The proposed project was designed to install barrier structures between Long Lake, the Tuscarawas River, and the Ohio and Erie Canal to prevent invasive fish species from migrating from the Ohio River watershed to the Lake Erie watershed during extreme flooding events. The Phase I survey identified intact and sealed strata that appeared to be historic towpath surfaces or related to the original construction and repairs to the historic towpath that were recorded as 33SU679.

The State Historic Preservation Office concurred with ASC Group’s recommendation that 33SU679 be determined eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Through coordination with the client and various federal, state, and local agencies it was determined that the archaeological investigation should move directly to Phase III. Subsequent coordination resulted in concurrence with a proposed mitigation strategy that ASC Group developed and formalized in the Data Recovery Plan. It included hand-excavated test units to document the remains of 33SU679 at three strategic locations. The completion of the archaeological project was included as a stipulation in a Memorandum of Agreement between the State Historic Preservation Office, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and invited Consulting Parties.

One test unit was completed in each of three areas determined to have the greatest potential to affect 33SU679. The units were completed to recover vertical and horizontal stratigraphic information that could be connected to the original towpath construction and its maintenance and repairs, and ultimately the creation of the Towpath Trail. One of the units exposed evidence of modern utility disturbance that has likely grossly affected the site in the eastern half of the project area. The units in the two relatively undisturbed areas confirmed that intact structural elements of the towpath persist in the project area. This information is largely based on vertical and horizontal stratigraphy, with limited artifact data present.