F. A. Q.

When are the Newark Earthworks open? Are there guided tours and if so, what do they cost?

Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley.  E.G. Squier and E.H. Davis. Plate XXV.  Page 165. World Digital Library.
"Plate XXV." E.G. Squier and E.H. Davis. 
Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley
 Smithsonian Institute. 1848. Page 165.
World Digital Library.
The preserved portions of the Newark Earthworks include the Great Circle, the Octagon, and sections of the Wright Square.

The Great Circle and its museum are open year round, as are the remains of the Wright Square. The Great Circle is open from dawn to dusk and the museum is typically open from 8.30 AM - 5 PM, visit the Ohio History Connection for holiday hours and more information. 

The Octagon State Memorial is fully open to the public from sunrise to sunset on Octagon Open Houses, this year there are two more,  July 29, and October 13. The guided tours on those days are free and open to the public. If you can't make it out on those days, the public also has year round access to the viewing tower and informational sign at the Octagon. 

 Information for self-guided tours can be found on the
Ancient Ohio Trail's Newark Earthworks page, which you can also print out.

What is the Hopewell Culture? Is it an American Indian nation?

The "Hopewell Culture" is the name archaeologists have given to the people who built the Newark Earthworks. It is an archaeological culture defined on the basis of certain kinds of artifacts, architecture, and cultural practices that occurred in southern and central Ohio (and other regions of eastern North America) from about 100 B.C. to A.D. 400. The term is not the name of any American Indian tribe. We have no idea what the ancient peoples who built the great earthworks might have called themselves, but their descendants undoubtedly include many of the historic tribes who lived in the Eastern Woodlands. The people of the Hopewell culture were farmers, fishers, hunters, and gatherers of wild plant foods. They lived in small villages scattered along the major tributaries of the Ohio River – especially the Great and Little Miami, the Scioto and Muskingum rivers. They are known especially for their monumental earthworks and for their spectacular art objects crafted from materials such as copper,mica, and obsidian obtained from the ends of their world.

For a detailed discussion of this topic, 
Please see Ohio's Earthworks Timeline
on the Ancient Ohio Trail.

What is UNESCO World Heritage? 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, seeks to encourage the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity, such as Stonehenge in England.  For more information go to the National Park Service's World Heritage
UNESCO World Heritage, or World Heritage Ohio.

The attainment of World Heritage will allow a wider audience to experience some of the Hopewell Culture's unique & touching history. For more information on the U.S. World Heritage Tentative List go to the National Park Service's FAQ. In the process of uniting these sites globally, the NEC is collaboratively working with UNESCO and the U. S. Department of Interior. 

No voice is too small, as individuals we can all contribute by contacting advocates to voice your opinion or make a donation towards the effort directly with UNESCO. We would love to receive letters of support; feel free to email us at: earthworks@osu.edu .

For a brief summary of criteria for World Heritage sites
 and state of preservation guidelines, click here.

What are the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks sites?

The Hopewell Culture nomination for UNESCO World Heritage consists of "nine archaeological sites of monumental earthworks constructed by the Ohio Hopewell culture during the Woodland Period (1-1000 CE). These sites are ceremonial centers characterized by large earthwork constructions that feature precise geometric shapes and standard units of measure.  The mounds contain extensive ritual deposits of finely crafted artifacts.  

Images are Courtesy of World Heritage Ohio.
Images are Courtesy of World Heritage Ohio.
This nomination proposal encompasses the variety in Hopewell earthworks and includes examples from each of the valleys of several principal northern tributaries of the Ohio River. 
Together, these earthworks are the best preserved examples of the more than 40 monumental earthworks constructed by the Ohio Hopewell culture during the Woodland Period (1-1000 CE), which trace a cultural florescence distinct from other mound-building cultures in Eastern North America.  The earth walls of the enclosures are among the largest earthworks in the world that are not fortifications or defensive structures.  Their scale is imposing by any standard:  the Great Pyramid of Cheops would have fit inside the Wright Earthworks; four structures the size of the Colosseum of Rome would fit in the Octagon; and the circle of monoliths at Stonehenge would fit into one of the small auxiliary earthwork circles adjacent to the Octagon.   The presence of artifacts from far distant sources, especially of materials that were not widely traded 2,000 years ago, indicates that these sites were important ceremonial centers that interacted with communities in much of eastern North America."
 -National Park Service U. S. 2008 Tentative List (submitted to the World Heritage Centre) 

For more information about the Hopewell Culture UNESCO World Heritage nomination
visit UNESCO's page, here; or visit World Heritage Ohio's page, here.

Couldn't find your question?
Email us at earthworks@osu.edu or visit our webpage.