Monday, September 29, 2014

Serpent Mound

On one beautiful afternoon recently I took a break from crop scouting and visited Serpent Mound south of Hillsboro.  I took the best pictures I have ever taken and I will share some here.
Serpent Mound in rural Adams County, Ohio, is one of the premier Native American earthworks in the hemisphere. Its pristine flowing form was enhanced by major reconstruction in the 1880s. That reconstruction now appears to have been the second time in its long life that Serpent Mound has shed some of its skin.
Estimates of the age of the earthwork are now radically revised as the result of a new radiocarbon analysis, suggesting that the mound is about 1,400 years older than conventionally thought. The new date of construction is estimated at approximately 321 BCE, one year after the death of Aristotle in Greece.
According to the Ohio Historical Society, the organization that manages the site in rural in southern Ohio, the mound is over 1,300 feet long, and clearly resembles an uncoiling serpent. Their website says the original purpose of the mound is unknown but was probably built by people from the Fort Ancient culture who lived in the area from 1000 to 1500 A.D. Bradley Lepper, archaeologist for the society, reports that the head of Serpent Mound appears to align with the rising sun during the summer solstice, and since the nearby Newark Earthworks have detailed astronomical alignments built into them, it is reasonable to assume that Serpent Mound does as well. Generations of researchers agree with that theory, but the intent of those who built the serpent remains a mystery. Lepper posits that Serpent Mound may have been a shrine to a spiritual power.

The mound is on the National Register of Historic Places and is being considered as a U.S. nominee to the UNESCO World Heritage sites. According to Glenna J. Wallace, chief of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, the Shawnee consider Serpent Mound a sacred site. The Eastern Shawnee were originally from Ohio but left the area along with several other tribes as part of the federal Indian Removal Act of 1830. Nine tribes removed from Ohio settled on reservations in Oklahoma; by about 1850, most had officially been “removed.” Today, there are no federally recognized tribes in Ohio. “Although we don’t claim that we built Serpent Mound, historically we respected and protected the various mounds and earthworks in Ohio,” says Wallace.

If you are interested in crop circles, you have to read this story about Serpent Mound.

If you get to Hillsboro or for some unknown reason end up in Adams County, visit Serpent Mound!


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