Serpent's Mound is a well-known Native American site that holds a lot of mystery and questions. It's located near Cincinnati, Ohio and forms the shape of a snake. It's one of the places in Ohio that everyone should visit if they happen to be in the area.
Even if you have heard of this place, there are probably quite a few things you didn't know. This mound has been around for ages and will continue to be preserved as long as people exist to protect it. Keep reading to learn 10 things you should know about Serpent's Mound!
10 It's The Largest Surviving Effigy Mound In The World
An effigy mound is a mound that is formed in the shape of an animal, and in this case, that animal is a snake. It spans a total of 1,348 feet in length, and to put it in perspective, that is about 100 feet longer than the Empire State Building is tall.
Serpent's Mound isn't very tall, as it only comes about 5 feet off of the ground and is in the ballpark of 23 feet wide. This thing is massive and definitely deserves a second look even if you have seen it a time or two before.
9 The Earliest Excavation Was Performed By Frederic Ward Putnam
The first excavation ever performed on this mound was done back in the 19th century by a man named Frederic Ward Putnam. He was an archaeologist with Harvard University and was the man who was in charge of uncovering the secrets the mound held within itself.
He found evidence of both the Early Adena Woodland culture and the Fort Ancient culture within his finds. Putnam correctly assumed that it probably belonged to the Adena culture, as they had been there before the latter.
8 Both Adena And Fort Ancient Native American Cultures Were Involved
We have just stated that both the Adena and Fort Ancient cultures were involved, but we have yet to explain how. Serpent's Mound was built by the Adena culture, but it was recognized through further excavation and carbon dating that another culture had lived here as well.
It was ultimately decided that the effigy was created by the Adena's due to the fact that there is another similar creation located in Portsmouth, Ohio that has been identified as being from the Adena period. It is assumed that any Fort Ancient samples that were collected can be attributed to renovations performed by the peoples from this culture.
7 An Ancient Meteor Crashed Here
This is not only the site of a Native American creation, but it is also the place where an ancient meteor crashed. It landed here about 300 million years ago and it created a crater that is between five and eight miles in diameter.
They have nicknamed this area the Serpent Mound Crater after the structure that now resides inside of it. This place is always associated with Native American culture, but now when you think of this place you can remember the astronomy lesson you learned as well.
6 It Was A Public Park Until 1900
The area was originally bought by the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. They ended up converting the area into a public park, so they could preserve the archaeological specimen while allowing the public to educate themselves on this topic.
It remained this way until 1900 when the Ohio State Archaeological Society took over. Yale was on the right track, but more needed to be done in order to preserve this great piece of history from disappearing forever.
5 Later, An Observation Tower Was Built
After the Ohio State Archaeological Society came into power, which is now known as Ohio Connection, they made a few changes to the sight. People wanted to be able to see the mound, and they wanted to keep the public from walking all over the sacred grounds.
They erected an observation tower in 1908 and ever since then they have continued to give guests an aerial view of the grounds. They later added a museum to help educate people even further about this amazing place.
4 Professionals Disagree About What The Head Symbolizes
The head of the mound is a strange pattern that has baffled archaeologists for ages. Some have declared the large oval to a singular eye, while others have stated that the two halves on either side of the oval are a set of jaws that are closing over an egg.
Some spiritual or cultural explanation probably exists to explain exactly what the Native Americans were thinking when this was created, but with that civilization lost to time, there is no one left to explain this mystery.
3 It Is Still In The Consideration Phase For The UNESCO World Heritage List
The UNESCO World Heritage List is an organization that seeks to preserve aspects of our past that give insight into historic cultures and natural phenomenons. Serpent's Mound has not made it onto this list yet, but its nomination has brought it greater fame to help in its preservation.
It also has an Ohio Historical Marker placed near it as it is such an integral part of this state's history. If you open any fifth-grade history book in this state, you're bound to find some mention of this place.
2 There Are Three Burial Mounds Nearby
The mound itself is surrounded by three smaller burial mounds. There were two created by the Adena culture, and one was later added by the Fort Ancient culture according to carbon dating performed by scientists.
Serpent's Mound itself was not a burial mound, but these bring us one step closer to discovering what this great effigy might have been used for. These sacred places should be cherished and respected, because like a cemetery, it was a place used to lay the dead in their final resting place.
1 It's Still A Mystery
No one really knows exactly what purpose the mound served the people who used it. It could have been used as a place built for spiritual purposes, to determine the solstices, or even a guide to help a lost soul find the north star.
It is known that snakes were believed to have supernatural powers by these people, but it is confusing as no artifacts or graves have been found within the mound itself. We may never know the true purpose of this place, but we can continue to appreciate it and learn as much as we can about these ancient peoples and their ways.