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Project No.

19-83001

Summary Report of a Ground-Penetrating Radar Survey of a


Portion of Triangle Park, City of Dayton, Montgomery County,
Ohio

Prepared by:
Michael Striker, M.A., RPA and Seth Van Dam, M.A.
Gray & Pape, Inc.
1318 Main Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(513) 287-7700

_________________________________
Michael Striker, M.A., RPA
Principal Investigator
May 13, 2019
1.0 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Between May 8 and May 10, 2019, Gray & Pape performed a ground-penetrating radar
(GPR) survey of 2.6 acres in the southernmost portion of Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio. The
survey was performed in response to concerns of a local organization that American
Indian ancestral remains might be present in the area of the park where a proposed
project is planned. On behalf of the project proponents, Gray & Pape performed the
GPR survey to provide information on the likelihood that American Indian ancestral
remains are present in a non-invasive manner.

1.1 Project Setting


Triangle Park is located at the confluence of the Stillwater River and the Great Miami
River. Soils in southern portion of Triangle Park are reported as Ross silt loam (Davis et al.
1976). Ross silt loam is a dark-colored, well-drained soil that formed from recent alluvium
on floodplains. According to the Soil Survey of Montgomery County, Ohio:

A representative profile has a very dark grayish-brown plow layer about 8 inches
thick. At depths between 8 and 22 inches is very dark grayish brown and very dark
brown silt loam that differs only slightly from the plow layer. Between depths of 22
and 56 inches, there are brownish layers of fine sandy loam, silt loam, and loam.
Gravelly loamy sand is below a depth of 56 inches (Davis et al. 1976:89).

Although Triangle Park is located in an urban setting, the project location is relatively free
of development. A cursory review of historical mapping and aerial photography dating
back to 1885 provides no evidence of use of the area of Triangle Park for purposes other
than agriculture or recreation. The earliest aerial photograph that turned up in our cursory
review is from ca. 1920 (Figure 1) and shows the Dayton Triangles football stadium along
with the southern tip of the park. The southern tip of the park contains baseball fields.
These baseball fields were present in all aerial photography up to 2000. After 2000, the
baseball fields have become overgrown and a soccer field is visible.
Figure 1. Aerial photograph of Triangle Park ca. 1920.

1.2 Known Archaeological Sites in the Vicinity of the Project


There has been no systematic survey of Triangle Park or the area around the park. The
first recorded account of an archaeological site in the area comes from the American
Antiquarian and Oriental Journal in 1885:

The cemetery is situated on the left bank of Stillwater, near its mouth. The discovery
was made last summer while constructing a levee, the material for which was
taken from the space between the levee and the bank of the river. The removal
of about twenty inches of surface material revealed patches of burned clay,
under which reposed the remains, with fragments of pottery, mussel shells,
implements of bone and deer's horn…The extent of this old burial place has not
been determined as no excavations have been made where the soil is
undisturbed. From indications it covers many square rods [a square rod is equal to
30-1/4 square yards or 1/160 acre] (Binkley 1885:297).

In April 1959, Jacob S. Royer provided an account of some artifacts from the Island Park
Site in Ohio Archaeologist. Ohio Archaeologist is a publication of the Archaeological
Society of Ohio, an organization composed predominantly of amateur archaeologists
and artifact collectors and is not a professional journal. Jacob Royer’s contribution
(1959:44-45) is a photograph of artifacts from the Island Park Site and information about
them. These artifacts were reportedly taken in 1913 from a field “just back of the river
park” (Royer 1945:45). If “back” in this context means upstream, then these artifacts may
be from an area north of the proposed project. It should be noted, however, that Island
Park is located east and south of Triangle Park, and the site may not be at Triangle Park
at all.

These two documents provide the basis for the location on the Island Park Site/Stillwater
Cemetery (33My2) as depicted on Figure 2. The location of the site depicted on Figure 2
is that which is recorded in the records of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office based on
the original Ohio Archaeological Inventory Form (Smolek 1976a). This location is
approximate based on the information summarized above.

Also present in Triangle Park is the Triangle Park Mound (33My34). According to the Ohio
Archaeological Inventory Form, “[t]his site has erroneously been called the Island Park
Site, (OHS #33 My 2) which is apparently on the east side of the Stillwater River, to the
west of the Triangle Park Mound” (Smolek 1976b:1). Again, it should be noted that Island
Park is located east and south of Triangle Park.

Royer also mentions the Triangle Park Mound in Ohio Archaeologist, stating:

Two of the former Steele High School professors gave this mound a cursory
examination while I was in school, but found nothing of interest in the mound but
they did find many artifacts and a small amount of pottery in bad repair, on the
lower side of the river. These things were all put into the Dayton Library Museum,
but have since disappeared (Royer 1959:45).
Figure 2. Locations of Previously Reported Archaeological Sites in Relation to the GPR Survey.
Archaeological site 33MY1 can be seen on Figure 2 on the west bank of the Stillwater
and Miami rivers. The original Ohio Archaeological Inventory Form (Smolek 1976c) calls
this site both the Steele Dam Site and the Dayton Village & Cemetery, however, the
remarks indicate that this is the site described by Binkley and recorded as the Island Park
Site/Stillwater Cemetery (33My3). The inventory form (Smolek 1976c) also indicates that
this site was reported on in the 1885, however, that source reports upon an
archaeological site containing ancestral American Indian remains found during
construction of a levee on the west bank of the Stillwater River in Dayton, without
providing a more specific location (Foerste 1883:838-839). Griffin (1966:109) describes this
site as being located on the west bank of the Miami River between Island Park Steele
Dam, which places it somewhere in this vicinity, although its location remains uncertain.

1.3 Previous Professional Archaeological Surveys in Triangle Park


A single professional archaeological survey has been conducted in Triangle Park. In 2006,
Gray & Pape conducted a Phase I Cultural Resources Survey for the Great Miami
Recreational Trail (Kelly and Trader 2006), which runs along the eastern edge of the park.
This survey identified no archaeological sites within Triangle Park.
2.0 METHODS

The survey area was divided into a series of six 40-m-by-40-m blocks and two 10-m-by-40-
m blocks, for a total area of 80-m-by-130-m. The GPR survey was conducted using a GSSI
SIR-3000 with a 400 Mega-Hertz antenna. Transects were placed at an interval spacing
of 0.50 meters along the X-axis (East-West axis) with a sampling rate of 512 samples per
meter.

All data was processed using RADAN 7.0 software. GPR data is processed in several steps
which utilizes the raw vertical radargram datasets collected. After cleaning and clipping,
the data was transformed into horizontal “slices” for further interpretation. The processing
steps include: time zero correction, bandpass filtering, deconvolution, migration and
range gain.
3.0 RESULTS

Weather conditions varied during the survey as conditions started out dry on May 8 and
then were followed by periods of rain during May 9 and 10. This caused white banding to
occur in sections of the dataset caused by data being collecting during different levels
of soil moisture. As a result of the soil moisture and soil composition, the GRP signal was
unable to penetrate to a depth greater than ~1.25 m (4.10 ft.).

The results of the GPR survey suggest that the area of the survey has not been significantly
disturbed by historical or modern activities beyond plowing and some minor earth
moving. The uppermost 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) of soil is of a different composition
than that below it, which probably represents either the remnants of a plow zone, or
some other superficial earth moving. Below this depth soil composition is consistent,
suggesting intact alluvial soils as would be expected from the Ross silt loam reported for
the area.

The GPR survey was successful in identifying four anomalies in the project area. hese
were labelled Anomalies 1 though 4 (Figure 3-6). Anomalies 1 and 2 (Figure 6) are areas
where the top 8 or so inches of native soils were replaced by sandy soils for the infields of
baseball fields visible in Figure 1. As was noted previously, these baseball fields are visible
on aerial photos as recently as 2000.

Anomaly 3 appears to be a shallow basin approximately 0.30 m below the surface


measuring approximately 10.0 m long, 6.5 m wide and 0.5 m deep (Figures 4 and 5). It is
oval in shape and while it could be a natural feature, the fact that this anomaly is unique
within the dataset makes it more likely that it is manmade. Its age is unknown, but its
depth below the surface suggests that it predates the park and has the potential to be
prehistoric.

Anomaly 4 is a series of wheel ruts on the surface are causing excessive reflection off the
clayey soil transition located approximately 0.75 m below the surface (see Figure: 6).

Anomaly # Plausible Explanation for Anomalies Depth


1 Baseball Infield 0.0-0.25 m
2 Baseball Infield 0.0-0.25 m
3 Unknown Object 0.30-0.75 m
4 Surface Wheel Ruts reflecting off soil At surface but show in
horizon radar data at ~0.75 m
Anomaly 2

Anomaly 1

Figure 3. GPR Grid, Slice Depth 0.25 m, showing Anomalies 1 and 2.


Anomaly
3

Figure 4. GPR Grid, Slice Depth 0.55 m, showing Anomaly 3.


Anomaly 3

Figure 5. Radargram showing Anomaly 3.


Anomaly 4

Figure 6. GPR Grid, Slice Depth 0.75 m, showing Anomaly 4.


4.0 REFERENCES CITED

Binkley, S.H.
1885 A Fortification and a Cemetery at Dayton, Ohio. American Antiquarian and
Oriental Journal, vol. VII: 295-297.

Davis, Paul E., Norbert Lerch, Larry Tornes, Joseph Steiger, Neil Smeck, Howard Andrus,
John Trimmer, and George Bottrell
1976 Soil Survey of Montgomery County, Ohio. United States Department of
Agriculture Soil Conservation Service, Washington, D.C.

Foerste, Aug. A.
1885 Ancient Relics at Dayton, Ohio. In Annual Report of the Board of Regents of
the Smithsonian Institution for the Year 1883, pp. 838-844. Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C.

Griffin, James Bennett


1966 The Fort Ancient Aspect. Anthropological Papers No. 28. Museum of
Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Kelly, Christina E. and Patrick D. Trader


2006 Cultural Resources Survey Short Report of the Mot-Gr. Mia. Recreation Trail in
the City of Dayton, Harrison Township, Montgomery County, Ohio. Gray & Pape,
Cincinnati, Ohio. Copies on file at the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, Columbus.

Smolek, Michael A.
1976a Ohio Archaeological Inventory Form for 33 MY 2 Stillwater Cemetery. Copies
of file at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus.

1976b Ohio Archaeological Inventory Form for 33 MY 34 Triangle Park Mound. Copies
of file at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus.

1976c Ohio Archaeological Inventory Form for 33MY1 Dayton Village and Cemetery.
Copies of file at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus.