A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Visiting Newark Earthworks
The Newark Earthworks are located in Newark, in Licking County, Ohio, just a bit east of Columbus, off I-70. The most scenic way in and out of Newark is through the village of Granville where there are spectacular historic inns.
Great Circle, Octagon Earthworks, and Wright Earthworks are open all year during daylight hours. The Octagon Earthworks is also the site of the Moundbuilders Country Club, but there is a viewing platform near the parking lot (viewing guidelines are posted at the site). The golf course halts play four times a year, allowing visitors to see the earthworks up close.
The Great Circle Earthworks Museum has an interactive video explaining the site's significance. The exhibits include a timeline of Ohio's ancient cultures, an explanation of why Native Americans consider the earthworks sacred, and how the earthworks align with the rising and setting of the moon. For more information, contact the Newark Earthworks State Memorial at (740) 344-1919 or (800) 600-7178.
Before you go, check out www.ancientohiotrail.org. This site is a comprehensive resource for visitors wishing to plan a trip to Newark, with information about what visitors can see and links to useful web sites. The Great Circle Museum is also the new home of the Licking County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which assists visitors to Licking County. For more information, call 800-589-8224 or visit www.lccvb.com.
The Ohio Historical Society website has information on Newark Earthworks and individual pages for Great Circle Earthworks Wright Earthworks and the Octagon Earthworks You can also download a site-management plan that has a comprehensive chronology section.
If you're in Newark, take a 10-minute drive to Alligator Mound between Granville and Newark in the midst of an upscale development known as "Bryn du Woods." The mound is about 200 feet long and although it is called "alligator mound," OHS archaeologist Brad Lepper believes it represented the mythological creature known as the "underwater panther." Lepper thinks that Native Americans described the creature to Europeans, who mistakenly took it to be an alligator.
If you want to expand your tour of Ohio's Native American sites, the www.ancientohiotrail.org website is a great starting place. It includes sections on several sites, but see these websites as well for Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, which includes several mound groups and was perhaps linked to the Newark Earthworks by a sacred road; Serpent Mound (see also stateparks.com), and Fort Ancient Earthworks (with hiking trails and a site museum on the grounds). These sites and others can be seen in a multi-day driving tour, and you might add SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park a 13th-century village near Dayton that has been excavated and partially reconstructed.Share