Earthworks/Mounds

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Hopewell Culture National Historic Park

16062 St. Rt. 104
Chillicothe, Ohio
740-774-1126
Open Monday – Sunday 8:30am to 5:00pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Free admission.
www.NPS.gov/hocu

At the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, you can view history first-hand by visiting the mounds dating back to 200 B.C. Visible remnants of Hopewell culture are concentrated in the Scioto River valley near the present-day city of Chillicothe, Ohio. These Earthen mounds and embankments forming huge geometric enclosures grace the area landscape. These monumental structures were built by Native American hands almost 2,000 years ago. Hopewellian people gathered at these earthworks for feasts, funerals and rites of passage.

The most striking Hopewell sites contain earthworks in the form of circles, squares, and other geometric shapes. Many of these sites were built to a monumental scale, with earthen walls up to 12 feet high outlining geometric figures more than 1,000 feet across. Conical and loaf-shaped earthen mounds up to 30 feet high are often found in association with the geometric earthworks. Hopewell Culture National Historical Park preserves five earthwork complexes: High Bank Works, Hopeton Earthworks, Hopewell Mound Group, Mound City Group, and Seip Earthworks.

The park was originally established on March 2nd, 1923 as “Mound City Group National Monument” and was the first federally created National Park Service site in Ohio. The park was eventually re-named Hopewell Culture National Historical Park on May 27th, 1992 after congressional legislation was approved in the House and the Senate.

Currently, the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park along with partners from the Ohio Historical Society are organizing and strategizing to ensure that the remaining monumental works in our region gain recognition by becoming classified as a World Heritage Site. For more information on World Heritage accreditation, click here.

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Ancient Ohio Trail

www.AncientOhioTrail.org

Discover ancient America where, two thousand years ago, Native Americans filled the Ohio River region with vast and precise earthen monuments. Tour these spectacular ceremonial centers, discover their architecture and their meanings, and the remarkable cultures that built them. Follow the trail to all of Ohio’s major earthworks. The routes link Newark (Octagon, Great Circle) with Chillicothe (Mound City, Hopewell Mound Group) and Serpent Mound, and then via Fort Ancient to Cincinnati (Shawnee Lockout) and Dayton (SunWatch Village). Also listed, with driving directions and tour resources, are many other well-preserved ancient and early historic sites.

Seip Mound

Seip Mound is the central mound in a group of geometric earthworks. Farming and erosion have degraded the surrounding earthworks leaving the central mound an outstanding feature. It is 240 feet long, 130 feet wide, and 30 feet high. Excavations have revealed that prehistoric Indian buildings existed near the earthworks. Today, visitors can see the location of some of these buildings as they are outlined by short posts in the ground. The Hopewell Indians (100 BC-AD 500) built Seip Mound for burials. This culture had a highly developed craft industry, as is evidenced by artifacts found with bodies in the burial site. Owned by the Ohio Historical Society.

Story Mound

Allen Ave. & Delano St.
Chillicothe, Ohio
1-800-686-1535
Open all year – Daylight hours only

Story Mound, of interest primarily to archaeologists, consists of a large, rounded earthen mound located on slightly less than an acre of ground in Chillicothe. This prehistoric burial mound stand 19.5 feet high, with a basal diameter of 95 feet. Erected by prehistoric Adena Indians (800 BC-AD 100) it was excavated in 1897 by Clarence Loveberry. It yielded the first documented example of a circular Adena timber building, a structural type now known as the norm in Adena ceremonial and domestic architecture. Please note that the mound is surrounded by a chain-link fence and is not accessible. Owned by the Ohio Historical Society.