Remembering Dr. N’omi Greber

Jul 31, 2014

This week Dr. N’omi Greber, an advisor to the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy, an accomplished Hopewell archaeology scholar, and a dear colleague passed away.

N’omi was more than a colleague to most of us, she was a mentor, a friend, and a kind heart. Her research at the High Bank Works, Hopewell Mound Group, the Seip Earthworks, and the Harness Works greatly advanced our knowledge of the Hopewell and brought much attention to earthworks. She was a pioneer in the application of geophysics to Hopewell archaeology and her publications helped bridge the gap between the Hopewell and Adena. I first encountered N’omi through her writing when I arrived for graduate school at Ohio State University in 1994. I was asked to proof read an edited volume my advisor Bill Dancey was putting together, and when I got to the chapter N’omi had written it was apparent to my young eyes that N’omi stood out from the crowd. At first I thought she seemed less scientific, but in fact her research and field work were always very rigorous and well planned, adhering to the highest standards. Now that I look back on it, what I think set N’omi’s writing apart was her attempt to bring real people into her discussions and conclusions about the past. That’s not an easy thing to do when counting pot sherds and mapping posthole locations. And N’omi’s attention to detail was unparalleled. I know because in the last eight years she and I worked together very closely on a project to summarize and present work originally done by the Ohio Historical Society in the 1970s at Seip. My job was to create maps of all of the excavation results, including very detailed plans of building foundations and such. Though we were many miles apart as I did my work, I could almost feel N’omi looking over my shoulder…making sure every line was in just the right place. Thank you N’omi for instilling in me an attention to detail that I shall carry on for the rest of my career, and pass on to others. Your legacy of patience, scholarship, and kind-heartedness lives on in all of us who you touched over the many decades of your career. And I hope you finally get to have a word with all of those mischievous “Hopewell sprites” who you were always crediting with any technical glitch we encountered during research and presentations.

Jarrod Burks, President
Heartland Earthworks Conservancy