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“New Discoveries at Hopewell Culture NHP”
August 27, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Hidden Hopewell Landscapes: New Discoveries at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
Park Archeologist Dr. Bret Ruby will describe new discoveries resulting from an international partnership with the German Archaeological Institute. Large-scale magnetic surveys and small-scale excavations are revealing hidden Hopewell landscapes at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.
The park preserves and interprets six elaborate American Indian ceremonial precincts built nearly 2000 years ago. These sacred landscapes are marked by monumental mounds and geometric earthwork enclosures encompassing 120 acres or more. Excavations at the dawn of American archaeology in the 19th century encountered exquisitely crafted artifacts fashioned from exotic raw materials: evidence of a religious movement that linked Native American societies in spheres of interaction that spanned half the continent. But archeological investigations in the 20th century remained narrowly focused on mounds and mortuary contexts, ignoring the vast spaces in between. Meanwhile, agricultural plowing steadily eroded the above-grade features.
But now, 21st century technologies are revolutionizing our understanding of these sacred landscapes. Magnetic surveys are revealing remnants of a rich array of ritual architecture in the “empty” spaces between the monuments. This presentation will describe newly discovered ditched enclosures, shrine buildings, workshops, and several timber post circles that may have served as “world center shrines” during the Hopewell episode.