After our hike at Hocking Hills State Park, there was time left for a visit to the nearby Mound City Group of the Hopewell Culture. This culture was not a single culture, tribe, or society but rather a widely dispersed set of related indigenous populations that were connected by a shared network of trade routes. These people obtained and traded items from as far west as today’s Yellowstone National Park and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. This culture thrived during the Middle Woodland period (100 BCE–500 CE) and was responsible for building some of the largest indigenous earthworks in the United States. Around 500 CE, for reasons not entirely clear, trading ceased, mound building stopped, and art forms were no longer produced.
The Mound City Group is the only fully restored Hopewell earthwork complex. It consists of a 13-acre (5.3 ha) rectangular earth enclosure with at least 23 mounds. All the mounds are dome shaped except for one that is elliptical. The largest mound of the group was described by early explorers as 17.5 feet (5.3 m) high and 90 feet (27 m) in diameter. All the walls and mounds have been reconstructed and are clearly visible. We spent a pleasant hour or so wandering between the mounds and marveling at the sophistication of a culture that flourished contemporaneously with the Roman Empire – but apparently without needing to invade or conquer anyone.BACK TO BLOG POSTS