In a shocking story developing in Southeastern Ohio, Antero Resources is desperately trying to secure rights to excavate, drill, and create a producing horizontal gas and oil well. The shock isn’t what they’re trying to do, but rather where they’re trying to do it.
Jeff and Kerry Bond own around a 200-acre parcel in Noble County, Ohio – an area once known for its greenspace, sparse population, and untouched wilderness and is now becoming known as a driller’s paradise. This area has been discovered to be extremely rich in natural gas deposits deep within the earth. Nearly a mile down, the deposits found in the Utica shale formation have been found to contain large amounts of “wet” gas – or natural gas and crude oil. With oil prices near record highs and natural gas still (domestically) very inexpensive, the large conglomerate drilling operations have found this entire “wet gas” region to be very lucrative and have focused much of their new exploration activities within Noble and Guernsey counties.
Jeff and Kerry believe their parcel of land in rural Ohio to be sacred – not just to them but to humanity as a whole. At the top of their ridge (the highest in Noble County), lies ancient Native American ruins and what is believed to be a burial mound. This particular site is referred to as “Bate’s Mound” and carries with it a history surrounded in legend.
A primitive excavation of the site in 1872 unearthed the skeletal remains of three giant humanoid creatures:
In 1872,Seneca Township, Noble County, Ohio, in what is now called ‘Bates’ Mound three skeletons were found. All three skeletons unearthed were at the very least eight feet tall in height with bone structure proportional to their height. Another amazing discovery about these skeletons is that they all had double rows of teeth.
Henry Howe wrote in Historical Collections in the State of Ohio:
In Seneca township was opened in 1872 one of the numerous Indian mounds that abound in the neighborhood. This particular one was locally known as the Bates Mound. Upon being dug into it was found to contain a few broken pieces of earthenware a lot of flint heads and one or two stone implements and the remains of three skeletons whose size would indicate they measured in life at least eight feet in height. The remarkable feature of these remains was they had double teeth in front as well as in back of mouth and in both upper and lower jaws. Upon exposure to the atmosphere the skeletons crumbled back to mother earth.
While the lore of the Bates Giants has been forgotten by many, archaeological excavations of the area (as noted above) have yielded artifacts indicative to other burial mounds around the state.
This is, the Bonds believe, an ancient and very sacred site.
The Almighty Dollar
Jeff and Kerry have been approached many times by land prospectors with big oil and gas companies about leasing their land. Antero Resources even went so far as to give the couple a presentation on what the Bates Well Site would look like.
The plan is to remove the hilltop from the highest point in the county and place a large scale Hydraulic Fracturing rig and well directly in the place of the Bates Mound.
While the Bonds have turned down sizable cash payments for drillers to secure a mineral rights lease on their property, they’ve also been informed that the state of Ohio might manditorily pool or even “unitize” the property – both of which are legal tools in which drilling companies can take property without the owners’ consent for the purposes of mineral extraction.
For now the site remains intact. How long that will last remains to be seen. The Bonds have been able to stave off the bulldozer up until this point, but without raised awareness a critical and sacred part of our country’s history could be lost forever.
Other Mounds In Noble
While researching information on this story, it’s been reported that this area of heavy industrial mineral development has several American Indian burial mounds within it. It is unknown how many have already been lost due to horizontal gas exploration.