Monday, May 21, 2018
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Professor to delve into artifacts

Archaeologist will try to ID items people bring in


Josh Lieto, a former archaeology student of Professor Ken Mohney and a current volunteer, working on a dig in Temperance last summer. Professor Mohney teaches archaeology at Monroe County Community College and will speak May 5 at the Bedford Branch Library.


TEMPERANCE — If you have potsherds, arrowheads, or other artifacts you’ve found while gardening or just digging in the yard and wonder what they are, an upcoming program at the Bedford Branch Library may be just for you.

Ken Mohney, an archaeologist and professor at Monroe County Community College, will be at the library at 7 p.m. May 5, in an appearance sponsored by the Bedford Historical Society in conjunction with the library branch. The public is welcome.

The presentation will be a little different for Mr. Mohney, who earned his doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh and has spoken at the Monroe County Historical Museum and the Manor House at Wildwood Preserve Metropark. It will be short, with the rest of his time spent taking audience members’ questions about their artifacts.

Mr. Mohney spoke about archaeology in Bedford last year and drew 80 people, said Carolynn Newman, president of the historical society. She hopes for at least that many again.

Mrs. Newman said she was inspired to try the new format by some artifacts she acquired from her father, who dug them up on his farm field in Oregon.

“They’re pieces of pottery, but I’d like to know more about them,” she said. “Do they have historical significance? How old are they? A lot of people have things like this and they just want to know what they are.”

Professor Mohney said his classes attract a lot of students who want to know more about archaeology.

“If anyone wants to enroll in cool classes, archaeology is among them,” he said, adding that MCCC added his teaching position in the first place “because there is such an interest in history in Monroe.”

He has one caveat for his appearance at the library.

“One thing I don’t do is paleontology,” he said. “I don’t identify bones. If people bring them, I won’t be able to help.”

Mr. Mohney, 45, said his professional focus is Native American artifacts, although his expertise extends to other areas. This is his 10th year at MCCC.

He teaches several courses and takes students out in the field “to work on a site and get their hands dirty.” He also teaches cultural anthropology. Last year, he was named MCCC’s Outstanding Faculty Member.

He said this spring he and his students will return to Temperance where they have been working a Native American site containing artifacts dating back hundreds or thousands of years.

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