As executive director of ARI, Liz Sedler is livin’ the dream. Every day, she is helping to make her family’s dream come true. Liz was hunting and finding arrowheads at the Guard site with her dad, Mike Sedler, before she was old enough to take them to kindergarten show-and-tell. Archaeology, anthropology, artifacts and museums are a shared love in the Sedler family, and family vacations were (and still are) travels to archaeological sites throughout the world. Liz grew up in Bright, Indiana, and graduated from Oldenburg Academy. Throughout high school and college, she worked at Home City Ice in office and maintenance. After earning her honors vdegree in business administration at University of Dayton, Liz headed West. During her 10 years in Jackson, Wyoming, and Park City, Utah, Liz worked as project manager in the development, construction and management of both residential and commercial projects. Similarly, for two years she worked on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, applying her experience and skills – ranging from research, analysis, marketing and accounting, to working with architects, contractors and clients. Liz loves construction and start-ups. Now she is back home again in Indiana. Before starting up ARI, Liz went back to school to study non-profit management through the Masters of Public Administration program at Northern Kentucky University, and she is also a member of Leadership Dearborn, Class of 2019. Her masters in business administration at University of Dayton is a work in progress. Committed to the community in which she lives, Liz in a member of her local United Way’s Action Counci.l All the while, Liz has overseen the details and big picture in the creation and daily operation of ARI. She is livin’ the dream, the opportunity to “show the world we have some amazing archaeology right here in Southeastern Indiana.”
Marcus Schulenburg is ARI’s full-time staff archaeologist. That’s the first thing to know about him. Perhaps second is that Marcus loves baseball and is a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. His most important tools are a trowel and a radio tuned to baseball. Marcus grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, where a trip to the Field Museum was a favorite activity. After graduating from Ohio State University with a history degree, Marcus worked construction for a while deciding what to do next. Archaeology was not even on his radar as a real job. He returned to Ohio State and took an archaeology course out of general interest. The spark turned into a fire when he spent the summer learning how to excavate at an important Hopewell site near Chillicothe. After earning an undergraduate degree in anthropology, Marcus went on to earn his masters in anthropology at University of Wisconsin, where he was a teaching assistant, a field supervisor for many projects and won awards for teaching and research. Marcus is (this close) to earning his doctorate in anthropology from University of Wisconsin. For seven years, Marcus worked on seasonal digs at the Guard site before the creation of ARI. As ARI’s senior archaeologist, Marcus is responsible for planning and conducting field seasons, curating artifacts, research and site reports, interacting with the community, and training volunteers and interns. Working alongside volunteers, he shares their excitement every time the clink of a trowel signals the unearthing of even the tiniest of artifacts.
If it weren’t for Mike, ARI simply would not exist. He is a founding member, along with wife Connie. Mike found his first arrowhead at age 8, and forevermore has been intensely interested in archaeology, the ancient cultures of the Midwest, preserving village sites, and getting others interested and involved. Mike grew up in Delhi Township, on Cincinnati’s west side, and graduated from Elder High School and what is now Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. The family business is Home City Ice, where Mike worked his entire career – notably in charge of ice production, lugging 300-pound ice blocks with ice tongs through saw blocks, and later in charge of the machinery that modernized the ice-making process. Mike is now retired and a member of Home City’s board of directors. When he wasn’t working, Mike was walking fields near waterways for Indian artifacts and learning about the cultures that came before us. His experience, working knowledge and expertise has made him a go-to guy among go-to professional archaeologists. He has worked side-by-side with many archaeologists and helped them develop theories and hypotheses. In the 1980s, he and Connie purchased the eight-acre Guard site to enjoy and preserve. Three decades later, they welcomed archaeologist Rob Cook and his Ohio State University students to seasonally dig the site, which proved even larger and more significant than anyone expected. Today, ARI is Mike’s dream-come-true.
Connie Sedler’s first date with Mike wasn’t hunting for Indian artifacts, but many more were. As she fell for Mike, she also fell hard for archaeology. Connie grew up in Delhi Township and graduated from Oak Hills High School. She and Mike had known each other since grade school and began dating when they were in college. At Mount St. Joseph College, Connie majored in English, and in the years after graduation enjoyed a career as a paralegal for the IRS. For nearly 40 years, she and Mike have lived in Bright, Indiana, where they raised their two daughters. When they purchased the Guard site acreage in the 1980s, where Mike had hunted for artifacts years before, archaeology became a family affair. Connie and Mike would set up a tent for the girls to play and nap in as they all explored the site. Family vacations were often adventures to intriguing archaeological locales. As laws and permits governing excavation became increasingly complicated and restrictive – even on one’s own land -- Connie dug in with her ability to decipher law, research and write. Eventually, the Sedlers welcomed the Ohio State University to explore the site for several digging seasons. As a founder of ARI, Connie has been a ground force in the vision, creation and launch of ARI, and she is eager to share the intrigues of archaeology and expand knowledge and understanding of the Guard site.
David Meyer is professor emeritus of the Department of Geology at University of Cincinnati, where he taught for 40 years. Specifically, he is an invertebrate paleontologist. In other word, fossils. However, the study of long-dead things (fossils/geology) requires the study of living things (coral reefs/biology), and David’s career as researcher and teacher has involved adventuresome fields trips all over the world, including living 50 feet underwater in a hydrolab. David grew up in upstate New York, which -- much like Greater Cincinnati -- has a unique abundance of exposed fossils and prehistoric Indian sites and artifacts. He collected both. David earned his undergraduate degree in geology from University of Michigan and his PhD in geology from Yale University. He first worked for four years at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, a marine research station. At UC, his teaching included courses in invertebrate paleontology, paleoecology, geology and biology of coral reefs, historical geology, and dinosaurs. David and his wife, Kani – a marine biologist – live in Cincinnati. They were involved in the planning of Trammel Fossil Park at Sharon Woods Park, and they volunteer at the Geier Collections & Research Center of the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Greg Altenau has never found an arrowhead, but then again, he never went out looking for one. What Greg brings to ARI is financial and management oversight, and establishing a non-profit organization. Greg is a licensed Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFc) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). He is the founder and president of Altenau Financial Services, which offers conservatively based financial services and life insurances to individuals, families and small businesses. Greg grew up in Delhi Township, on Cincinnati’s west side, and graduated from Elder High School. After graduating from Purdue University, Greg became a life insurance representative for Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., and he soon began adding a wide range of financial services and insurance products. He and his wife, Rose, live in North Bend, Ohio. While Greg is the self-described “numbers guy” for ARI, he also enjoys playing numbers on the clarinet with a variety of groups -- including a traditional lederhosen-wearing, polka-pah-pahing German band.
Donna Hartman grew up in Reading, Ohio, fascinated by creek fossils. Asked by her first-grade teacher what she wanted to be when she grew up, Donna was undecided: either an archaeologist, a scuba diver, or an Ice Capades performer. For years, she lobbied her parents to family vacation in Egypt so they could dig up mummies. None of that played out. She graduated from Ohio State University with a journalism degree, and worked as a writer and editor at newspapers, including The Cincinnati Enquirer. In 2000, she married and moved to Dearborn County. In her first spring as a Hoosier, while digging a garden, Donna troweled up her first arrowhead. She was over-the-moon, and even more so when the artifact was identified as a +5000-year-old Mantanzas point. Donna and her husband, Jim Scott, live on 135 hilly, wooded, creek-ribboned acres near Perfect North Slopes. That people walked and hunted that very land long before King Tut was even born is a wondrous notion. Also wondrous to Donna is the creation of ARI, and the unique opportunity for enthusiasts to hands-on participate in a local and significant archaeological dig. Donna is excited for all of us to discover and learn together about the peoples who lived in our corner of Indiana hundreds and thousands of years before us.
Bob Genheimer has been the curator of archaeology for the Cincinnati Museum Center since 2003. A life-long Cincinnatian, Bob grew up in Clifton, graduated from Roger Bacon High School and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology from University of Cincinnati. As a kid, he
constantly scoured the woods and brought home all manner of things found. As a freshman at UC, he was interested in history and anthropology and knew he wanted to “get my hands dirty” and “touch history.” That’s when he found his first arrowhead in a creek. And the rest was history. He joined the Museum Center staff in 1990 and was archaeological collections manager for 11 years before becoming
curator. During his career at the museum, Bob has processed and catalogued more than 300,000
artifacts. He also oversees the endeavors of all archaeology volunteers, both in the lab and the field. For 12 seasons ending in 2019, he led the field school at the Hahn site, a Fort Ancient Indian site in the Little Miami River Valley near Newtown. In addition to the Hopewell and Fort Ancient Indian cultures, Bob is something of an expert in old urban outhouses. Where people once threw their garbage, down the privy hole, Bob has dug through layers of humble history to unearth intriguing relics of 1800s life in Cincinnati’s West End and Northern Kentucky.
When Connie Deardorff retired from Oldenburg Academy in Batesville, Indiana – where she taught for 18 years and served as principal for six years – she was honored as “a student of the world, its people, and cultures.” Students recall her love of learning, her spirited participation in school events, and the element of fun and surprise that she always brought to the classroom as she taught U.S. and world history, English and psychology. Connie’s love of archaeology is a strong thread that connects a lifetime of eclectic experiences. She grew up in the Cincinnati suburb of White Oak, graduated from McAuley High School, and began working her way through college -- attending University of Cincinnati, while working at Hebrew Union College. “I was lucky enough to meet a lot of people who were digging all over the world,” says Connie. At age 19, Connie went to Israel to live on a kibbutz for a year, milking cows in the midst of the antiquities. It fed her fascination with Biblical archaeology. Later, Connie’s volunteer work included classifying Hopewell artifacts for Charles Oehler’s dig at Shawnee Lookout Park, and research work for the Behringer-Crawford Museum on Simon Kenton’s interaction with the Shawnee. While teaching at Oldenberg, Connie received a grant for her history students to have a mini-dig at the convent’s Michaela farm. Connie and her husband, Phil, live in Batesville, and she looks forward to putting her love of native American history and helping others learn to work for ARI.