Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 23, 2013

Cicadas, artifacts and a look at feral children

By Ben Morris, MA, RPA
Daily News

---- — Return of the Cicada

I can’t believe it’s that time again. The cicadas are emerging from their 17-year cycle – the longest gestation period of any animal. According to Professor David Rothenberg at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, we humans got our ideas of rhythm, synchronization and dance from the world of insect sounds that surrounded our species over the millions of years of which we evolved.

Interesting artifacts

At last month’s Native American exhibit at the Decatur County Historical Museum, about 50 people attended. I was delighted to see a couple of artifacts especially. One was a well-made (but broken) distinctive fluted projectile point with very distinct flutes. These points have been found over the years in direct association with mastodon bones and other large beasts such as bison that freely roamed Decatur County during the late Pleistocene (Ice Age) more than 12,000 years ago.

The other point was a large, finely crafted artifact made from chert and chalcedony, about seven inches long with nicely pronounced serrated edges that would have made the job of butchering a good deal easier. Perhaps my students at Ivy Tech Community College in Lawrenceburg will find these artifacts interesting.

Feral children

Recently in my Lawrenceburg cultural anthropology class, I had the class research and discuss feral (wild) children. One especially interesting – but terribly sad case – was that of Oxana Malaya, “the dog child.” Oxana was born in Russia in 1983 and lived in near isolation from the time she was a very young child. She grew up with minimal human contact and no language. Those interested in the subject can find a good deal of information on the web and at the local library.

Ben Morris, MA, RPA, is an archaeological columnist for The Daily News. He can be reached at 812-932-0298 or