Inventory of Sites Rebuilt or Otherwise Included in EarthWorks

Below is an inventory of sites rebuilt or otherwise included in scenes (or to be included) found in the EarthWorks project. 

In Ohio, the “mounds” were much more numerous in the southern part of the state; however, there were some in Northeast Ohio around Cleveland, Bedford, Independence and Chagrin Falls.  Starting in Newark, the mounds stretch to the southeast along a dotted line encompassing Mound City, Seip Mound and Serpent Mound.

Adena culture (600 BC)
Lexington, Kentucky

• Mount Horeb Ring (still extant)


Hopewell culture, 100 BC to 400 AD
Newark, Ohio, Licking County

• Observatory Circle, a nearly perfect circle 1,050 feet across, is connected to a 610-foot-long octagon and Observatory Mound, a high, flat-topped mound built against the outer rim of the circle.  (These connected works are still extant; however, a golf course/country club sits upon these ancient monuments.) 

• Observatory Circle once connected to a 930-foot-long square and a 1,800-foot-long ellipse containing 12 burial mounds.  The square and ellipse have been lost to development.

• Great Circle, 1,200 feet across with 15-foot-high walls (still extant) 

• A rectangular enclosure of 740 by 760 feet (only a tiny corner is preserved)

• Seventeen centuries ago, all of the above works comprised what was probably the largest, geometric earthwork complex ever built anywhere, built from seven million cubic feet of earth.  It included wide roadways and vast enclosures spread over four miles in order to mark the movements of the moon as a way of keeping time, as a way of knowing when to plant or harvest crops or when to gather for important festivals.  Today, only two complete works remain along with fragments of others. 

Chillicothe, Ohio
• Mound City is the still-visible center of a ten-mile strip of geometric forms in the Scioto River Valley.  Mound City covers 13 acres and consists of 23 large burial mounds enclosed by a large, square, earthen wall.

• High Banks Works, the second of only two circle-and-octagon combinations built, once threaded along the bank of the Scioto River.  It had the same diameter as Observatory Circle at Newark, 1,050 feet, and both circles and their octagons were aligned to points on the eastern and western horizons defined by the 18.6-year-long lunar cycle.  In total, both the High Banks and the Observatory Circle (in Newark) works incorporated the eight major lunar rising and setting points.

• The Great Hopewell Road would have been Ohio’s first major highway, and it might have been the first in America.  Infrared aerial photographs trace fragments of its 60-mile swath from Newark to Chillicothe.

Ross County, Ohio
• Seip Earthworks, located along Paint Creek which flows into the Scioto River.  Mounds still do exist in this area, but most of the walls that once surrounded them have been leveled due to farming and settlement.  Other sites along Paint Creek also included in this project are Baum Earthworks (no longer extant) and the Hopewell Site (no longer extant) where many of ancient Ohio’s most spectacular artifacts have been discovered.  Using remote sensing instruments, a new circle was discovered in summer 2001.

The Great Miami River Valley, Ohio
• Fort Miami Earthworks, now in Shawnee Lookout Park (still extant)
• Colerain Township Group
• Miamisburg Mound (still extant)
• Alexandersville Earthworks, long ago absorbed by the City of Dayton

The Little Miami River Valley, Warren County and Greene County, Ohio
• Stubbs Earthworks, lost to agriculture and recent school construction, was remarkable for the number and variety of timber structures, including a “Woodhenge,” a temple consisting of a ring of perfectly spaced 30-foot-high poles forming a circle 240-feet across.

• Pollock Earthworks today contains a set of high earthen gateways.  These once supported an impressive ten-foot-high wood stockade.  The stockade was ceremonially burned, broken and then buried with the earthwork to release its spirit into the sky and earth

• Milford Earthworks, long ago absorbed by Milford
• Turner Earthworks, now a gravel pit
• East Fork “Gridiron”

Lebanon, Ohio
• Fort Ancient in the Little Miami River Valley, Ohio, is the largest prehistoric hilltop enclosure in the country (still extant).  Because of summertime plant growth and because of its sheer physical size, it’s impossible to view its entire expanse from the ground.  After all, some of the walls rise as high as two-story buildings.

Adams County, Ohio
• Fort Hill, located along Brush Creek in the Little Miami River Valley, Ohio, is a smaller hilltop enclosure than Fort Ancient.  It remains untouched from the pioneer era.  (still extant)

Indiana
• Anderson Earthworks (still extant)
• New Castle Earthworks


Fort Ancient culture, starting around 900-1200 AD
Adams County, Ohio

• Serpent Mound, an awesome 1,360-foot-long snake-shaped effigy (still extant) dating from 1070 A.D.  It is also located along Brush Creek in south central Ohio.  One interpretation for its existence put forth in the 19th century held that this was the biblical serpent – proof that the Garden of Eden was in Ohio.  Another theory:  since it is so enormous that no one on the ground can see the whole creature at once, the effigies may have been meant to be seen by the stars or the sun, a means for linking earth with the heavens.  Modern archaeologists report that center lines of its coils point to extreme northern rising points of the sun and moon.  Its head points to the sunset on the longest day of the year, the summer solstice.  (still extant)

 

Related Stories

3

Generous alumnus leaves lasting legacy for UC DAAP students,...

February 26, 2024

In a heartwarming tale of alumni generosity, Randal Houts, a 1986 graduate from the University of Cincinnati, has taken a unique approach to ensure his legacy lives on in the halls of UC's School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). Houts recently designated his Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to UC, specifically for an endowed scholarship fund for architecture students and the DAAP Library's ambitious project to digitize Cincinnati archival materials.

Debug Query for this