One of the great mysteries of prehistory is why so many cultures from different parts of the world spent so much time and effort building giant megaliths, monuments and earthworks to track the perceived movements of the sun, moon and stars. After all, the same effect can often be had by simply placing poles in the ground to match celestial points on the horizon.    

   A megalith, on the other hand, is a large stone or group of stones that forms a monument. The most famous of these is Stonehenge in England, built around 5,000 years ago. Some of its stones weigh as much as 25 tons and are 30 feet tall. They were transported to their current location from 20 miles away and stacked on top of each other using Stone Age tools. This shows that the project was very important and meaningful to its creators.    

   If you visit Stonehenge at predawn on June 20th/21st (the summer solstice) and stand behind Stone #16, located just behind the center of the megalith, you will see the sun rise precisely through the center of the monument and over the Heel Stone in the distance on what will be the longest day of the year. Likewise, if you return in December during the winter solstice and this time stand at the Heel Stone and look back through the center of the monument, the sun will rise precisely over Stone #16 on what will be the shortest day of the year. These two massive stones sit at opposite ends of the monument’s Solstice Axis, on which it is aligned, and point to the two sunrises like sights on a rifle barrel or hands on a clock.    

   Similarly, if you visit Serpent Mound near Peebles, Ohio on June 20th/21st, this time at sunset, you will see the wide-open mouth of the serpent effigy on the ground appear to swallow the sun as it sets over a hill in the distance known as Solstice Ridge, which also acts as a natural target for the summer solstice sunset when viewed from Serpent Mound. The tale of the serpent, in turn, points to the winter solstice sunrise and the coils have been shown to contain other solar and lunar alignments.         

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ABOVE LEFT Stonehenge during an equinox sunset. (Photo in the public domain). ABOVE RIGHT Serpent Mound during a winter solstice event in 2009. The event no longer takes place. BELOW A wide view of Serpent Mound.  Solstice ridge is behind the trees in the top right part of the photo. (Photos by Matt Bayman)

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   The list of prehistoric sites that contain these kinds of celestial alignments and anomalies is vast.    

   The Pyramids of Giza, for example, are thought by some to be earthly representations of the three stars in the constellation of Orion’s belt, with the Nile River that once flowed closer to the three pyramids representing the Milky Way as it “flows” through Orion in the night sky. This effect creates a massive mirror image or model of the sky on the ground. Like Stonehenge, the pyramids are thought to have been built about 5,000 years ago.    

   Located next to the pyramids, and built roughly during the same time, the Sphinx “gazes” straight at the sunrise on both the spring and autumn equinox, when night and day are equal in length. Additionally, if you stand in front of the Sphinx on the summer solstice, you will see the sun set precisely between the pyramids of Khafra and Khufu. What is even more interesting here is that, at this precise moment in time, the Sphinx, with the sun crowning around its head and the two pyramids on its sides, forms the image of the Egyptian hieroglyph “Akhet,” which means “horizon” or “the place in the sky where the sun rises.”  (see below right image)  

   Thousands of miles away at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, if you visit on the morning of the autumn and spring equinox, the sun will rise directly over the central tower of this impressive temple, engulfing the monument with a tapestry of light and shadow.    

   In South America, the Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu in Peru, built by the Inca about 600 years ago, contains a window that on the winter solstice allows the sun to shine on a specific spot that was carved on a sacred rock at the site.      

   The circular rooms, or kivas, built by the Pueblo more than a thousand years ago at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico align with the movements of the sun, moon and stars, including solstice events.    

   The Mayan pyramid of Chichen Itza in Mexico, built about 1,000 years ago, has very interesting features. As the sun sets on the spring equinox, it casts a shadow on the pyramid and makes it appear as if a serpent is slithering down the northern steps of the structure. Also, during the summer solstice the north and east sides of the pyramid become illuminated while the south and west sides become dark. This makes it appear as if the pyramid is split in half.    

   Last, but certainly not least, and as discussed in the first part of this series (READ HERE), there are the massive earthworks built by the Hopewell Indians in Ohio and throughout the Eastern United States some 2,000 years ago. This includes the giant Newark Earthworks in Newark, Ohio, which contains alignments with the complicated 18.6-year lunar cycle and demonstrates a deep understanding of complex astronomy and mathematics, as do many other Hopewell earthworks in Ohio known collectively as the Hopewell Ceremonial Sites.    

   All of these places, often separated by thousands of years and thousands of miles, point to a widespread prehistoric knowledge and passion that has somehow been lost to us, but that many people are now interested in finding, learning more about and preserving.

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ABOVE LEFT The Pyramids of Giza. ABOVE RIGHT The view of the Sphinx during the summer solstice sunset, creating the image of the Egyptian hieroglyph  "Akhet." BELOW LEFT Angkor Wat in Cambodia. BELOW The Mayan pyramid of Chichen Itza. (Photos in the public domain).

WORLD HERITAGE OHIO

   Every place just mentioned above is a World Heritage Site, that is, except for the two sites in Ohio—the Hopewell Ceremonial Sites (consisting of 8 separate works) and Serpent Mound. However, this may soon change as both are currently up for World Heritage inscription.    

   World Heritage inscription is based on stringent criteria and signifies that a site possesses “outstanding universal value to humanity.” The goal is to recognize and encourage the protection of the world’s most important cultural and natural treasures. Along with these two sites, the Dayton Aviation sites related to the Wright Brothers are also up for inscription. If all three are accepted, Ohio will have more Cultural World Heritage Sites than any other state.    Even though Serpent Mound and many Hopewell earthworks have much in common, Serpent Mound is being considered for inscription separate from the Hopewell sites. This is because it is not absolutely clear who built the effigy, or when, or why. In fact, the answers to these questions keep changing, adding to the mystery of this very special place.

WHO BUILT SERPENT MOUND?

   Like its name suggests, Serpent Mound, the largest effigy mound in the world, resembles a giant sinuous snake with a curled tail at one end, a head with a triangle-shaped mouth swallowing or regurgitating an oval on the other end and seven winding coils in between. It measures 1,348 feet, or a quarter-mile long, and varies in height from one to three feet. It has a width of between 20 and 25 feet.    

   The earthwork conforms to the curve of the land on which it rests, with its head approaching a cliff above a stream that naturally “points” toward Solstice Ridge in the distance—and the location of the summer solstice sunset.    

   Interestingly, the “head” of the cliff resembles the head of a snake or serpent, with an “eye” and “mouth” visible. This, along with the cliff’s alignment with Solstice Ridge, may have been the reasons the site was chosen to build the sacred effigy in the first place.  

   Another interesting geologic feature at Serpent Mound is that it was built on the edge of a 5-mile-diameter area of highly disturbed bedrock located at the intersection of Adams, Highland and Pike counties. Geologists from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources believe this disturbance area, named the Serpent Mound Disturbance, is a deeply eroded crater that was formed by a meteorite impact in Ohio approximately 250 to 300 million years ago. It is the single-most complex geologic structure exposed at the surface of Ohio, according to the ODNR.

   Most scholars believe the Native Americans living in the area would have noticed the unique features of the land, although they probably didn’t understand how it got that way.    

   The meaning of the oval in the effigy is up for debate. Some scholars believe it represents an egg or the sun, while others think it’s the body of a frog or turtle, an enlarged eye, the universe being reborn, an eclipse, or possibly even the remnant of a platform that was used during ceremonies at the earthwork. Evidence of large fires burning in the oval have been discovered and stones that may have once been stacked in some kind of formation in the oval have been found strewn about a nearby hillside, possibly by some early treasure hunter who thought there was gold beneath them. This means we’ll never know what the formation looked like or if it even existed.    

   There are three burial mounds located in the vicinity of Serpent Mound. Because there are no artifacts or burials found within the serpent effigy itself, it was the excavation of these artifact-rich mounds that provided the first clues to the serpent’s origins.      

   In the 1880s and 90s, Frederic Ward Putnam, an archaeologist from Harvard University, conducted the first scientific excavations at Serpent Mound.      

   Although scientists hadn’t yet named them, upon excavating the three mounds, Putnam noticed that there were two distinct cultures represented at the site. These would later be named the “Adena,” who lived in Ohio about 3,000 years ago, and who built two mounds at the site, and the Fort Ancient, who lived here about 1,000 years ago and built the other. (The Hopewell would have been in the middle of these two traditions, and they are all related). Based on what he saw, Putnam attributed Serpent Mound to the Adena, and for quite some time his theory was widely accepted.    

   In the 1940s, archaeologist James Griffith analyzed artifacts that Putnam had excavated and determined they were indeed Adena. He also believed Serpent Mound was built by the Adena because it is similar to other earthworks they were known to have built, including the sophisticated (but long ago destroyed) Portsmouth Earthworks, which were located on both sides of the Ohio River in modern-day Portsmouth, Ohio and in Kentucky.  

   However, in the 1990s, a research team reopened one of Putnam’s trenches at Serpent Mound and collected charcoal from three locations above and below the base of the mound. They then used radio carbon dating to determine that the samples—and thus Serpent Mound—date to about 1000 A.D., making it a Fort Ancient structure. They also noted that the Adena were not known to build effigy mounds, while the Fort Ancient were. These findings were enough to cause Ohio History Connection to replace the official historical marker at Serpent Mound to give credit to the Fort Ancient tradition, not the Adena. However, this claim would soon be challenged.     

   In 2014, yet another research team carbon-dated a number of other charcoal samples at Serpent Mound and, once analyzed, placed its construction between 381 and 44 B.C., with a mean date of 321 B.C. The new evidence suggests that the Adena built the earthwork and that the Fort Ancient people likely modified or renovated the site at a later date, noting that other nearby monuments also show evidence of repair and modification.    

   Judging from the evidence, the team believes that the Fort Ancient people made repairs to the effigy about 900 years ago. There has also been recent evidence of an erased coil that once existed near the head of the serpent, as if the structure was changed or improved, or a failed design abandoned.    

   Why there are no Hopewell artifacts in the vicinity of Serpent Mound remains a mystery, especially since it’s located in the center of the Hopewell Heartland in Ohio and near other known Hopewell earthworks. However, it may be that Serpent Mound was “used” by all three traditions—the Adena, Hopewell and Fort Ancient, but that only the Adena and Fort Ancient felt compelled to bury some of their dead near the effigy. Or, the site could be from the Fort Ancient, who came after the Hopewell, therefore it wouldn’t contain any of their artifacts. As with much about the Mound Builders, we simply don’t know for sure. There are even some who believe Serpent Mound, or at least the “sacred” site on which it was built, dates back even further in time, possibly even thousands of years before the Adena, but that’s a different story. 

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FAR LEFT One of the first surveys of Serpent Mound done by Squier and Davis in the 1800s. LEFT The “head” of the bluff located below the head of the serpent. Notice how it could appear as the head of a snake. Image from Ohio History Connection. ABOVE A LIDAR image of Serpent Mound and the surrounding area. Image from Ohio History Connection. BELOW An old post card of Serpent Mound in the public domain.

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WHEN DID THE TRADITION OF MOUND BUILDING BEGIN IN OHIO?

   Not long ago, it was believed that the first humans to populate the Americas migrated across the Bering Strait Land Bridge from Asia about 13,500 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. Before this point in time, scientists believed that glaciers that covered all of Canada and much of the northern United States blocked migration routes between Asia and the Americas, and had done so for millennia.    

   When the glaciers finally began to melt, it was believed that people from Asia followed large mammals through a new corridor that had formed between two melting ice sheets and eventually reached what today is the western United States. From here they then quickly spread throughout all of North and South America, eventually grouping together to form such vast empires as the Olmecs, the Aztecs, the Hopewell, the Inca and the Maya, among many others, and building massive pyramids in South America and huge earthworks in North America that, just like those found in Egypt and throughout the world, align with celestial points and events.    

   However, just like the exact age of Serpent Mound, with new evidence, the date of migration from Asia to the Americas, as well as the oldest mound sites in North America, continues to change.    

   Although disputed, recent archaeological excavations in North and South America have uncovered evidence of people living in the Americas for much longer than 13,500 years. For example, Blue Fish Caves in the Yukon shows a human presence 23,000 years ago. Monte Verde in southern Chili—located more than 8,000 miles from the Bering Strait—appears to have been inhabited 18,500 years ago. Located just across the border from Ohio in Pennsylvania is the Meadowcroft site, estimated to have been inhabited between 16,000 and 19,000 years ago. A site in Topper, South Carolina, near the Savannah River, produced a tool nicknamed the “Chopper Topper” that was dated to be between 16,000 and 20,000 years old. There is even some data indicating a human presence at Topper as far back as 50,000 years, but the evidence, although compelling, is not yet conclusive.

   To date, there are more than 50 archaeological sites in the Americas that pre-date the original migration model, including sites in Oregon, California, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Nevada. Because of this new evidence, there is a growing belief that, along with migrating across the Bering Strait, some groups from Asia must have used boats to travel along the ice-covered coasts of Alaska and Canada to reach the “New World” in modern-day Washington, Oregon and California, and probably far beyond.    

   Intriguingly, recent DNA evidence has also linked Native Americans in the Amazon with indigenous Australians. Genetic researchers from Harvard Medical School found that at least three Amazonian groups had more in common with Australasians than any group from Siberia, who are considered Eurasians. Although an explanation that involves land travel is still favored by many experts, this connection raises the possibility that people from Polynesia somehow reached South America by crossing the Pacific Ocean, or at least by following coastlines to reach the Western Hemisphere. Maybe they were even the first true discoverers of the “New World” who eventually met up with the larger Bering Strait group when they reached South America at a later date. We may never know.    

   Regardless of who came first and when, it was the decedents of these migrants that started the tradition of mound building. But when? And why? 

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A DISTANT SIGNAL AT WATSON BRAKE

   At 5,400 years old, the oldest yet discovered earthwork in North America is a place called Watson Brake in northern Louisiana. It’s a complex mound site that is older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge. In fact, its discovery changed the ideas of American archaeologists about the capabilities of ancient cultures in North America and pushed back the date of the first mound building on the continent by 2,000 years.    

   Prior to this discovery, most scholars believed that simple hunters and gatherers (as this was prior to the First Agricultural Revolution and pottery making, when people were assumed to have lived from hand to mouth) did not have the ability to manage large, complex projects, such as mound building, over hundreds of years. However, Watson Brake, and many other sites now being discovered around the world, is proving this wrong.    

   Watson Brake (see below) is a massive oval pattern that contains 11 different man-made mounds that are connected by ridges and surround a huge flat area that appears to be manmade. The long axis of the oval is more than 1,200 feet, while the short axis is nearly 920 feet. It is currently located on private property, but archaeologists are routinely given access to the area.    

   According to research conducted by the late archaeologist Joe Saunders and published in Science magazine, mound building took place at Watson Brake for a span of 500 years. During this time, the mounds were enlarged in several stages and the site may have been used as a “base by mobile hunter-gatherers from summer through fall.” Saunders suggested that episodes of building at Watson Brake coincided with periods of unpredictable rainfall caused by El Nino events and that it may represent “a communal response to new stresses of droughts and flooding that created a suddenly more unpredictable food base.”    

   So far, no human remains or ceremonial objects have been found at the site, so it is not clear what purpose it served. However, it has been noted by archaeologists that the area enclosed by the mounds and ridges was kept clean of debris, which means it may have been a ritual space, rather than a living space. Or, it could have been built this way to protect residents from floods. Again, nobody knows for sure.    

   In 2012, archaeologist Norman Davis demonstrated in Louisiana Archaeology that there are five separate solar alignments running through the site that target the summer solstice sunset. He wrote: “Even if the alignments were not to the sun, the ability to establish five perfectly parallel, nearly equidistant sightlines across several hundred meters would be remarkable. The sightlines had to have preceded construction. Their pattern suggests a master site plan with construction to the plan taking years or perhaps centuries to complete.”    

   In 2014, using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), archaeoastronomy expert and archaeologist William Romain built on Davis’ work at Watson Brake and discovered that the earthwork also contains alignments to the winter solstice sunrise and the spring and fall equinox. Romain noted that this makes Watson Brake “the oldest solstice-aligned earthwork complex in the Americas.”    

   Interestingly, this is around the same time that two of the oldest centers of civilization in the Western Hemisphere were coming into existence, both in Peru—Sechin Bajo, which contains what is believed to be the oldest man-made structure in the Americas, and modern-day Norte Chico, a coastal area whose early people are known to be the “oldest-known civilization in the Americas.”      

   While the Norte Chico civilization lacked pottery and artwork, they achieved monumental architecture, including building large earthwork platform mounds and sunken circular plazas, just like Watson Brake, even though they were separated by thousands of miles.    

   Is there a link between these two groups?

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LEFT Map of the Watson Brake archaeological site. Map by Maximilian Dörrbecker from Wikimedia Commons. ABOVE Artists conception of Watson Brake by Herb Roe. Image from Wikimedia Commons. (CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGES)

OHIO EARTHWORKS IN PERU & BRAZIL?

   One of the consequences of deforestation in the Amazon jungle in Peru and Brazil has been the discovery of, to date, more than 450 earthen circles, squares, octagons and ellipses, many that appear to be linked by parallel walls or ceremonial roads.    

   Anyone who read the first part of this series will recall that the Hopewell Indians of Ohio used these exact same shapes and patterns to build hundreds if not thousands of earthworks in Ohio.    

   As noted by the Curator of Archaeology at Ohio History Connection, Brad Lepper, in an article for the Columbus Dispatch in 2017 (click HERE to read), the Brazilian earthworks appear to have been built between 3,000 and 1,000 years ago, about the same time as the Hopewell, and “are remarkably similar to the earthworks of Ohio’s Hopewell culture.”

   Archaeologists working in Brazil and Peru believe that, just like the Hopewell, the earthworks were used for ceremonial purposes and large gatherings.    

   Lepper writes that there have been no published studies of whether the South American earthworks contain celestial alignments, but that archaeologists in the area note that modern indigenous Ashaninka people living in the region “position their plazas so that, at a specific period in the lunar cycle, the moon illuminates the ritual space.” Further study of the region, as well as at Watson Brake, could shed more light on the origins of mound building in the Americas, as well as how much interaction existed between the peoples of North and South America.

A GIANT SUN DISK RISES AT POVERTY POINT

   For an unknown reason, Watson Brake was abandoned in 2,800 B.C. And, for the next thousand years there is no evidence of further mound building taking place in the eastern United States. No one knows why.    

   However, the knowledge of mound building and astronomy must have been passed on from one generation to the next, or relearned from traders and travelers who visited the area from distant places where the traditions had been kept alive, because about 1,000 years later, and not far from Watson Brake in Louisiana, a giant earthwork appears almost out of nowhere at a place—and people—we now call Poverty Point.    

   The Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point (see below) is a 402-acre World Heritage site that contains “the largest and most complex Late Archaic earthwork occupation and ceremonial site yet found in North America.” It’s made up of a series of earthen ridges, mounds and a central plaza that includes six concentric, C-shaped ridges that are unique to Poverty Point and that extend to the edge of the nearby Bayou Macon River.    

   As noted on Wikipedia, the scale of the ridges is so massive that it wasn’t until researchers examined aerial photographs of the area in the 1950s that they recognized the geometric pattern on the ground.      

   Radiocarbon dates suggest that most of the ridges were constructed between 1600 B.C. and 1300 B.C. There is evidence that buildings stood on top of the ridges, which may have been where the Poverty Point people lived and worked or used as a place for trade or ceremony.    

   It has been estimated that as many as 5,000 people lived in and around Poverty Point.        

   In the 1970s, the late archaeologist William Haag interpreted the aisles that divide the ridge sectors as having “astronomical significance aligned to the solstices.”    

   Haag was convinced that Poverty Point was not just a community, but an astronomical device “used” by its creators, just like those that would be built hundreds of years later in Newark and at Serpent Mound. As quoted in a 1981 issue of The New York Times, Haag said he believed Poverty Point was a solstice marker that was, “less complex than the world’s most famous one at Stonehendge, but built on a grander scale,” and that it served as a religious center. He stated in the article: “Man has for thousands of years set apart his religious structures and distinguished them from his dwellings,” adding that the monument shows that “without writing or a mathematic system, people were capable of noting regularity in their universe and of using that regularity for further organizing their life.”    

   Interestingly, several mounds located near the Poverty Point earthwork are much older than the structure itself, possibly dating to between 3900-3600 B.C.

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LEFT A map of the Poverty Point archaeological site. Map by Maximilian Dörrbecker from Wikimedia Commons. ABOVE Artists conception of Poverty Point near Epps, Louisiana at it's height by Herb Roe. It may have been the Poverty Point people who brought mound building to Ohio and throughout the Midwest. The matter is still up for debate. The site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the spring of 2014. Image from Wikimedia Commons (CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGES)

THE ARRIVAL OF THE ADENA & SERPENT MOUND?

 Upon researching Poverty Point, it didn’t take long for archaeologists to notice that its mounds are very similar to those found in Ohio, specifically those built by the Adena. This caused them to wonder if the knowledge to build Serpent Mound and other earthworks came from the Poverty Point tradition in Louisiana and spread north to Ohio and elsewhere.            

   While scholars disagree on whether or not the Adena descended from the Poverty Point people, most believe they at least interacted and influenced each other.    

   Whatever the case may be, 4,400 years after the “first solstice-aligned earthwork in the Americas” was built at Watson Brake, and about 500 years after the construction of Poverty Point, a people we call the Adena showed up in Ohio in about 1000 B.C. and eventually built not only Serpent Mound (potentially), but thousands of other mounds and earthworks in the Midwest, including several that can be visited to this day, such as one at Johnston Farm & Indian Agency in Piqua, Miamisburg Mound south of Dayton, which is the largest known Adena mound in Ohio, and, of course, Serpent Mound itself.      

   After the Adena, a group of people we call the Hopewell, often referred to as the “zenith of the Adena tradition,” took this knowledge and skill to a new level and constructed the most sophisticated earthworks ever seen.    

   After the Hopewell came their descendants, the Fort Ancient, who continued the tradition of mound building, possibly constructing Serpent Mound, until it finally disappeared in Ohio, but remained strong in modern-day St. Louis where the final Mound Builder people known as the “Mississippian” tradition built the massive city of Cahokia some time between 1050- 1350 A.D.    

   Cahokia, a World Heritage Site and giant earthwork that also contains numerous celestial alignments, is considered the largest and most complex archaeological site north of the great pre-Columbian cities in Mexico. Experts believe it may have been a resurgence of mound building and archeoastronomy not seen since the days of the Hopewell.    

   However, Cahokia existed and was known to early European explorers, who, as history goes, unknowingly brought diseases with them that, in less than two centuries wiped out more than 90 percent of the Native American population living in all of the Americas, a figure that has been estimated to be as a high as 112 million people at the time, most of them in South America.    

   Soon after this, Native Americans were forced from their homelands and about 90 percent of their earthworks and mounds were simply leveled or destroyed to make room for settlement. In South America, the “large cities” that once housed those mysterious octagons, squares and circles that look similar to the Hopewell in Ohio were deserted and eventually reclaimed by the jungle, disappearing from history until only recently.    

   This is why, although it is possible to trace the construction date of Serpent Mound with at least some accuracy, based on scientific evidence, it is much harder to understand why it was built and what purpose it served. When 90 percent of an entire population on two continents is erased and quickly replaced by new ones, it is safe to assume that 90 percent of its wisdom and knowledge is taken with it, or suppressed, leaving only fragments of what was obviously a very long-standing tradition that spanned thousands of years and bonded generations of people together.

LOOKING FOR MEANING

 It seems apparent that prehistoric cultures from around the world placed great importance on tracking the seasons and connecting with the natural world at a deep level. Almost every earthwork and monument mentioned in this article not only tracked the movement of the heavens, but also brought people together to celebrate, bond and reflect on the mysteries of life. They developed stories, traditions and symbols to try to make sense of their worlds and to pass on to the next generation. Serpent Mound may represent one of these symbols.    

   Serpent symbolism is found throughout Native American traditions in the Americas. Its significance varies from culture to culture, but it often represents change or renewal.    

   The Hopi tradition of modern-day Arizona, for example, was known to perform an annual snake dance to celebrate the union of Snake Youth (a Sky spirit) and Snake Girl (an Underworld spirit) and to renew the fertility of nature. During the dance, live snakes would be handled and then released into the fields to guarantee good crops.    We also know that the rattlesnake was worshiped at the nearby Natchez temple of the sun in modern-day Mississippi and that there have been many serpent-related artifacts found throughout the eastern United States—where  the Mound Builder traditions once thrived. In fact, there are/were dozens of other serpent effigy mounds located throughout North America, and one in Europe. Many of them similarly depict a snake “swallowing” an oval or circle shape.    

   However, none of the other serpent mounds yet discovered come close to the scale and precision found at Serpent Mound in Ohio. At this enchanted place, the knowledge, skills and passions of countless generations of people, dating back thousands of years, is engraved into one powerful symbol and set in place to perfectly match the clockwork of the seasons and heavens.    

   With World Heritage inscription on the horizon, and more research to come, it may be possible to bring new light and life to this mysterious and intriguing part of our past. 

VISITING SERPENT MOUND
Serpent Mound is located at 3850 OH-73 in Peebles, about two hours from most of the Miami Valley. It contains a museum and lookout tower that allows guests to see the effigy from above. A fee is charged. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Learn more HERE.