A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Off the Grid
Volume 62 Number 5, September/October 2009
Fore! If you find yourself near Newark, Ohio, archaeologist Bradley Lepper suggests you check out the golf course at the Mound Builders Country Club, which suspends play four times a year so visitors can take in the ancient world's largest geometric earthworks. (On the other days, a platform near the parking lot offers views of the site.)
The Mounds: The Newark Earthworks were constructed between 100 B.C. and A.D. 500 by a people known today as the Hopewell Culture. Part temple, part astronomical observatory, and part cemetery, they originally covered 3,000 acres. Lepper enjoys the earthworks for their grandeur, complexity, and rich history. "The monumental architecture creates a ceremonial landscape that encodes remarkably sophisticated geometrical and astronomical knowledge we're only just beginning to decipher," he says.
Don't Miss: Take a 10-minute drive to the 200-foot-long Alligator Mound, located between Newark and Granville, in the midst of an upscale housing development called Bryn du Woods. According to Lepper, this mound may actually not represent an alligator, but rather the Native American mythological creature known as the "underwater panther."
Mark Your Calendar: October 17, 2009, is Newark Earthworks Day, which will feature speakers, exhibits, crafts vendors, and native food. Visit www.ancientohiotrail.org for more information on this event, as well as a seven-day, 60-mile group walk from the Hopewell National Historical Park to the Newark Earthworks (October 10-16).