Ohio was a mound-building center for the ancient Hopewell Culture. I wrote about our visit to the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park and you can read that post here. On our recent visit to Newark we took time to visit the Newark Earthworks and walk around the Great Circle Mound.
The Newark Earthworks is a National Historic Landmark and the official prehistoric monument of the state of Ohio. It is also the largest set of geometric earthen enclosures in the world.
Tom especially wanted to visit the museum / interpretive center at the Newark Earthworks. We had both seen the mounds on previous trips, but neither of us had ever been in the museum. We arrived at 4 p.m. specifically to visit the center which is supposed to close at 5. A sign on the door said “Closed at 4 p.m. today.” Rats! Tom said he was going to leave a bad review on TripAdvisor, but he doesn’t write reviews online so I wasn’t particularly concerned.
The Newark Earthworks has three significant figures. The Great Circle Earthworks is 1,200 feet in diameter with walls that are eight-feet high surrounded by a five-foot moat. The Octagon Earthworks has eight walls, each measuring 550 feet long and six feet in height. The Octagon encloses an area of 50 acres that is currently the Mound Builders Country Club Golf Course. The Wright Earthworks is a fragment of a geometrically near-perfect square enclosure and part of an additional wall. Originally, the sides of the square were 940 feet in length and enclosed 20 acres.
The Visitors Center is adjacent to the Great Circle Earthworks so Tom and I walked around the inside of the Great Circle. It was a warm day for December and there is a very nice park surrounding the earthworks. We read all the waysides and studied the maps showing the whole Newark Earthworks.
The earthworks are certainly impressive. Hard to imagine building something so large and geometrically correct with the most primitive tools. If you have a chance, check them out and spend some time being impressed with the ancient Hopewell people.