EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally published on May 24, 2020 by the Ohio History Connection. Richland Source has entered into a collaborative agreement with the Ohio History Connection to share content across our sites.
NEWARK -- The Newark Earthworks are the largest set of connected geometric earthworks in the world. Originally, they covered more than four-and-a-half square miles.
They were constructed by the Hopewell Indians and used for honoring the dead, social gathering, trade, worship and ceremony. Some sicentists believe the Octagon Earthworks are an observatory for tracking the moon's orbit.
They are a National Historic Landmark, Ohio’s official State Prehistoric Monument, and are part of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, which is on the United States Department of the Interior’s Tentative List of sites to be considered for nomination to the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization’s World Heritage List.
The 1,200-foot (370 m)-wide Newark Earthworks Great Circle stretches into Heath and is one of the largest circular earthworks in the Americas. A 5-foot moat is encompassed by walls that are 8 feet high.
Nothing can take the place of actually visiting the site and walking where the ancient American Indian pilgrims walked, but here is a link to a video that was part of C-SPAN’s “2012 LCV (Local Content Vehicles) Cities Tour” in which I can give you a virtual tour of the remnants of this monumental ceremonial center.
Researchers report their work has revealed the prehistoric cultures had advanced scientific understanding which keyed their complex construction.
I hope you enjoy the tour and that it inspires you to someday come and see the site for yourself.