Let's face it, having a pipe as a state symbol in today's politically correct environment is something short of a miracle, but that's what happened back in 2013. Just to be clear, nobody in recent years ever smoked this pipe, and in fact it may never have been smoked, we just don't know.
The Adena Pipe is as of this writing, the oldest artifact ever discovered in Ohio that even remotely resembles a group of people that lived here more than 2000 years ago. Because of its unique shape it is known as an effigy pipe. This pipe was discovered in a burial mound in 1901 by William Mills on Thomas Worthington's property located in Chillicothe and is a little over 7" tall.
This particular mound was the first burial mound to be excavated and after examining the results of that excavation, it was determined this to be the burial site of a distinct culture that lived in southern Ohio 1000s of years ago. Because the mound was located on Worthington's estate that he had named "Adena" that name was assigned to the archeological record for the name of that culture. To date we have not discovered or interpreted other artifacts from that time period that may shed clues on the name of the culture.
The culture known as Adena arrived in Ohio many years before the birth of Christ and because archeologists were not been able to study all of the burial mounds in Ohio we may never know exactly who these people were. What we can say from studying these artifacts is that these items bare a striking resemblance to the Mayan Culture of Central America.
What really makes this pipe unique is that it was intact. Many pipestone pipes have been discovered but they are more often than not broken as if it was part of their ceremonial practices for the living to break their pipes and cast them in the grave site. The Adena Pipe was completely intact and lying next to burial remains.
ADENA: when Thomas Worthington (Ohio's 6th governor) first built his home overlooking the Scioto River near Chillicothe, he called the estate "Mount Prospect Hall." However, about 5 years later he was reading an ancient history book and came across a word that described a particular place as being "remarkable for the delightfulness of their situation." This word really stuck with him and shortly afterwards he made the decision to change the name of his estate to "Adena."
Read more about Ohio's Ancient People
Archeological evidence has been recovered that suggests there may have been people roaming Ohio anywhere from 12,000 to 19,000 years ago. A relatively new archeological site is being explored along the Ohio and Pennsylvania border that perhaps dates back almost 20,000 years and in that cave, archeologists have found flint tools that came from Flint Ridge in eastern Ohio. The age dating is the result of radiocarbon testing of organic materials found in the cave. These old artifacts were recovered at around 11' below the cave's existing floor. This sheds interesting light that supports the idea that the Adena Culture arrived in Ohio perhaps 3,000 years ago bring with them their cultural practices of burial and that they were not an evolution of people that were already living in Ohio. This has not yet been proven and is only a theory under consideration.