Why Does DPL Fund Archaeological Projects?

Since 1991, Dayton Power and Light has made the investment in history to allow historians and archaeologists to document who lived on those lands dating back to 12,000 years ago. As of October 1, 2017, archaeological sites near DPL plants are owned and operated by DP&L's affiliate, AES Ohio Generation, LLC.

archaeological dig

The historic research goes hand in hand with the National Historic Preservation Act, passed in 1966, which balances historic preservation with the needs for economic development. The federal law declares that “the spirit and direction of the Nation are founded upon and reflected in its historic heritage.”

In Ohio, archaeological projects are coordinated with the State Historic Preservation Office, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and other parties. Over the years, DPL has contracted with Gray and Pape, Inc., a cultural resources management firm, to conduct archaeological research projects in compliance with federal and state law.

DPL will continue to periodically share information with the public about significant historic discoveries made on our property in southern Ohio.

Archaeology - Why is it important?

archaeological digArchaeological investigations produce an amazing record of history. Archaeology is about finding lost stories, and is the scientific study of the human past to extend our knowledge of humanity beyond the limits of written records.

In the United States, written history goes back only a few hundred years. Archaeological investigations can support, or debunk theories and provide new information about Native Americans and European settlers.


How do you conduct an archaeological investigation?

Any archaeological investigation requires a great deal of organization and planning. From organizing field crews, to meticulously mapping out a grid for excavation, archaeologists efficiently and expertly coordinate years of work.

  • Surface collections recover artifacts identified on the surface by a trained eye.
  • Mechanical excavations use a track hoe or similar equipment, under the careful supervision of an archaeologist. It allows archaeologists to remove an educated, pre‐determined amount of dirt quickly - sometimes less than a foot of dirt to upwards of several feet - to get to where the artifacts are buried.
  • Hand excavation is the slowest technique because it requires precise and careful digging to avoid damaging artifacts, and to make sure all details are recorded.

Additional Resources

State Historic Preservation Office

Gray and Pape

Archaeological Discoveries in Southern Ohio - Part 1

Archaeological Discoveries in Southern Ohio - Part 2

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