Thoughts from EarthWorks Team Members

Professionals from across the country have contributed to EarthWorks.  The team has  included archaeologists, historians, architects, religious studies faculty, astronomers, teachers, graphic designers, computer modelers, animation artists, videographers, photographers, musicians, and Native American descendents of the Miami Tribe that once inhabited the region.

Among the team members:

• Author Roger Kennedy, director emeritus, the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, served as an EarthWorks narrator.  He is the author of numerous books on American architecture and history, including Hidden Cities: The Discovery and Loss of Ancient North American Civilization, which deals with earthworks.

Regarding EarthWorks and his involvement, Kennedy says, “While working on my book, Hidden Cities, it became clear to me that the Ohio earthworks are among the wonders of the world and of signal importance in understanding the American past….The ability to visualize these architectural and engineering achievements is the precondition to appreciating their role in the human story, and preserving them.  That’s why this project is important.”

• Archaeologist Brad Lepper of the Ohio Historical Society has extensively researched and written on Newark’s earthworks, the largest set built by the Hopewell.  He provided archaeological and archival assistance to the project, including detailed, unpublished 19th century maps.

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Said Lepper, “I remember when I first sat down to use EarthWorks.  I felt like I was a hawk up in the sky, swooping over the works and seeing them as the Hopewell dreamed of seeing them 2,000 years ago.  I look at this effort as the most exciting development in public education in connection to the earthworks.   John presents the earthworks in a way that is immediate, that is food for the imagination.  Before, our tools were maps drawn in the 1800s that seem quaint to modern sensibilities.  With EarthWorks, we literally see that there’s nothing quaint about the Hopewell’s achievements.  We appreciate their power.  I simply couldn’t be more enthusiastic.”  

• Rick Perkins, chief ranger, Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, Chillicothe, Ohio, has assisted in installing a portion of EarthWorks in the center.  The interpretation staff there has been testing the program for two months prior to the project’s official debut March 6.  The park’s interpretation division hosts school groups from around the state in order to teach on Hopewell culture, a required part of Ohio’s education proficiency testing for 4th and 6th graders.  The center’s archaeologists – Jarrod Burks and Jennifer Pederson – also contributed to EarthWorks in its developmental stages.

Said Perkins, “…Many of the daily life aspects of the [Hopewell] culture have never been displayed, and through this program, it gives visitors a glimpse of what life may have looked like 2,000 years ago….  Until this point, we only had drawings and words that described these Native Americans.  Now, EarthWorks visitors can actually enter ceremonial structures for the first time.  It opens people’s eyes.”


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