When DPL decided to develop a large parcel of land in southern Adams County near the J.M. Stuart Station power plant, we recognized the importance of working with archaeologists and historians to document its history prior to construction. DP&L contracted with Gray and Pape, Inc., a cultural resources management company, to conduct the work in compliance with federal preservation laws and regulations. Because the parcel of land is along the banks of the Ohio River, which the Iroquois tribe referred to as “the great river,” it was likely the project would result in Native American artifacts.

The project, conducted periodically between 1991 and 2011, did indeed result in a number of noteworthy and significant finds in how people, from the earliest Native Americans to the latest Euro-American families lived, dating back to about 12,000 years ago. Among the 200,000 artifacts recovered on the site were a 1,500-year-old child’s clay pot, a bone from the now-extinct passenger pigeon, post holes indicating a wooden structure used in ceremonies and a rare 8,000- to 10,000-year-old spear point.

Those artifacts are currently preserved at Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society) in Columbus.

History we've learned about the Greenlee Tract

  • While people have lived in America’s oldest cities like St. Augustine, Florida, for 500 years, Greenlee Tract has documented 12,000 years of human occupation.
  • The excavation determined that native people 1,500 years ago were hunting, eating and making use of elk, deer, black bear and wild turkey, as well as turtles.
  • 2,000 years ago, people were cultivating food sources, including nuts, chenopod, maygrass, erect knotweed, grape, sumac, raspberry, blackberry, pawpaw, elderberry, persimmon and plum.
  • Samples of material at Greenlee Tract date to about 3,300 BC – almost 5,000 years before Columbus sailed for the Americas.
  • When native people first stepped foot on Greenlee Tract 12,000 years ago, the landscape would have been mostly wetlands with a few open fields and trees. Animals such as mammoth, mastodon, elk, caribou, American bison and giant beaver would have been common sights.

If you would like to learn more about human history in the lands of southern Ohio, Gray and Pape has compiled a Timeline of Human Use on the Greenlee Tract.

As of October 1, 2017, archaeological sites near DPL plants are owned and operated by DP&L's affiliate, AES Ohio Generation, LLC.