Local spotlight: Clifton archaeology fair

By: Max Bruns ~Staff Writer~

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) held its first archaeology fair for Cincinnati on Oct. 18 at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center.

The day ended with an attendance of 300 visitors and 60 volunteers. Meg Sneeringer, graduate student of the University of Cincinnati’s archaeology program, helped to organize the event.

“The fair (was) a result of a lot of fortuitous circumstances. With the aid of many local organizations, such as the art museum and Ohio’s Native American preservation sites, I think the fair accurately represents a totality of what archeology is,” Sneeringer said.

The fair had presentations on cultures from all different eras and areas, ranging from Native American sites in Ohio to places like Ancient Greece and Rome. Each presentation had a permanent setup with authentic artifacts and some reproductions and models.

The Ancient Rome presentation featured performers who were reenacting a Roman legion. One performer, Dex, had been reenacting for 40 years. “My favorite part of the reenactment process is the living history side of things.

I am taking what I think I know and I’m trying to show whether or not that could be the truth,” Dex said. Dex and the other performer were carrying around re-creations of the Roman Legion’s knapsack, which they had to carry for miles each day on their backs. “Humans are tactile creatures, and handling artifacts makes the learning process that much more real,” he said

All of the people working at the fair had similar attitudes about the study of archeology, including Sneeringer, who said, “I think it really gives a perspective on the depth of the human experience. There is a lot to be said about appreciating the time depth of humanity. It gives a sense of how long humans have been on earth.”

Sneeringer hopes the AIA will continue the fair far into the future. “We absolutely want this to become an annual event.

We’ve had a really good response from attendees and staff alike,” she said For more information about the AIA, visit its website at http://www.archaeological.org/. There are exhibits of Ancient Egypt on permanent display at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the AIA is presenting a guest lecturer at the Cincinnati Art Museum on Oct. 22.