“mysterious ancient monument!”
Over three hundred million years ago a meteor crashed in what would become Adams County, in southwestern Ohio. This created a 5-mile wide crater, upon which ancient Native Americans built a massive mound in the shape of a serpent about 900 years ago. Semi-nomadic descendents of the Hopewell culture, known as the Fort Ancient peoples, settled in this part of Ohio between AD 1000 and AD 1650. They had an acute interest and understanding of both solar and lunar alignments. Although originally attributed to the Adena peoples, this has no been accepted as false, based on radiocarbon dating tests completed in the mid-1990s, which suggest the mound was built by the Fort Ancient peoples. The purpose of the serpent mound, called a "Cryptoexplosive Structure" by the United States National Parks, is still considered quite mysterious. Though there are nearby burial grounds, there have been no human remains discovered in or directly by the mound itself. The National Park Service states that it is a structure of "undetermined origin exposed by differential erosion." Many anthropologists believe that the shape of the Serpent Mound is actually a massive lunar calendar, built to align with solstices and equinoxes. Animal mounds are widely-considered to be effigies reflective of cosmic alignments. In fact, the towns and surviving structures also reflect this interest in the cosmos. However, who exactly built it is still open to conjecture (it's attributed to three different prehistoric indigenous cultures, but it's actual purpose is still heavily-debated). Serpent Stats: Discovered in 1847 by Ephraim Squire and Edwin Davis. Measures 1,348 feet long, 1-5 feet high. 120 foot long snake head, with an open mouth. Serpent's head is aligned with the summer solstice sunset. Serpent's tail coils aligned with the winter solstice. Currently the Ohio Historical Society maintains the mound. Radiocarbon dating places the creation of the mound to AD 1070, four years after Halley's Comet. Some historians believe it was a ceremonial site. -Roadtrippers
Went here for school field trips pretty much every other year as a kid. It's a interesting little spot with a cool story but you're only going to get a few hours out of this at the absolute maximum. Still, it's an interesting bit of history that's worth a stop.
This was a cool stop. Unfortunately we got there very late and the shop/museum part was closed. But it was cool to walk through and go down the side of the crater. Getting there was cool too for us; the GPS brought us through an hours of back roads! Real road trip experience!
drove out of our way to see this....unless you can get an aerial view you cant get the effect....so disappointing for my friend who wanted very much to go here
WHAT WE SAW
We took our 5 and 11 year old boys here. They weren't terribly impressed. We enjoyed it. We walked the path around the Serpent Mound. There were two overlooks, display the steep surroundings. We climbed up the stairs to the tower for the aerial view.
We visited the museum, which was just a room with a video and some posters. The gift shop had a lot of books about local Native American history, maps, odds and ends.
WHAT YOU NEED
Not much. Enjoy an easy stroll. You'll need some guts to get up the tower if you're fearful of heights. There are two restrooms buildings (one for men, one for women) but they were closed for the season. Two port-a-johns were available in their place.
TIME AND MONEY
We spent about an hour there. Parking was $8.00 which was paid in a small outdoor box. Bring cash. You may be able to pay inside the museum, idk.
I have no reason to not give this place my wholehearted recommendation. We just watched the video in the visitor center and then walked the short paved path around the mound. Love that there was an observation tower for a birds’ eye view but it’s a bit rickety so BE CAREFUL. You could probably make an afternoon of other trails here.
You can visit the Serpent Mound every day from dawn to dusk, and during the equinoxes the mound is open even longer. Some interesting facts: Serpent's head is aligned with the summer solstice sunset, and the tail coils aligned with the winter solstice.
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- Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Sun, Sat: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
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