Sunday, June 4, 2023

The Great Serpent Mound and the Mound Builders of Adams County, Ohio


The Great Serpent Mound and the Mound Builders of Adams County, Ohio

    An old Postcard showing the Great Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio
Adams County
Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, 1848
Probably the most extraordinary earthwork thus far discovered at the West is the Great Serpent mound, of which a faithful delineation is given in the accompanying plan. It is situated on Brush creek, at a point known as "Three Forks," on entry near the north line of Adams County, Ohio. No plan or description has hitherto been published; nor does the fact of its existence appear to have been known beyond the secluded vicinity in which it occurs. The notice first received by the authors of these researchers was exceedingly vague and indefinite, and led to the conclusion that it was a work of defense, with bastions at regular intervals—a feature so extraordinary as to induce a visit, which resulted in the discovery here presented. The true character of the work was apparent on the first inspection. It is situated upon a high, crescent-form hill or spur of land, rising one hundred and fifty feet above the level of Brush creek, which washes its base. The side of the hill next the stream presents a perpendicular wall of rock, while the other slopes rapidly, though it is not so steep as to preclude cultivation. The top of the hill is not level but slightly convex, and presents a very even surface, one hundred and fifty feet wide by one thousand long, measuring from its extremity to the point where it connects with the table land. Conforming to the curve of the hill, and occupying its very summit, is the serpent, its head resting near the point, and its body winding back for seven hundred feet, in graceful undulation, terminating in a triple coil at the tail. The entire length, if extended, would be not less than one thousand feet. The accompanying plan, laid down from accurate survey, can alone give an adequate conception of the outline of the work, which is clearly and boldly defined, the embankment being upwards of five feet in height by thirty feet base, at the center of the body, but diminishing somewhat towards the head and tail. The neck of the serpent is stretched out and slightly curved, and its mouth is opened wide as if in the act of swallowing or ejecting an oval figure, which rest partially within the distended jaws. This oval is formed by an embankment of earth, without any perceptible opening, four feet in height, and is perfectly regular in outline, its transverse and conjugate diameters being one hundred and sixty and eighty feet respectively. 

 The ground within the oval is slightly elevated: a small circular elevation of large stones much burned once existed in its center; but they have been thrown down and scattered by some ignorant visitor, under the prevailing impression probably that gold was hidden beneath them. The point of the hill, within which this egg-shaped figure rest, seems to have been artificially cut to conform to its outline, leaving a smooth platform, ten feet wide, and somewhat inclining inwards, all around it. The section A B will illustrate this feature. Upon either side of the serpent's head extend two small triangular elevations, ten or twelve feet over. They are not high, and although too distinct to be overlooked, are yet too much obliterated to be satisfactorily traced. Besides a platform, or level oval terrace, at B, and large mound in the center of the isthmus connecting the hill with the table land beyond, there are no other remains, excepting a few mounds, within six or eight miles—none, perhaps, nearer than the entrenched hill in Highland county, thirteen miles distant. There are a number of works lower down on Brush creek, towards it mouth; but their character is not known. The point on which this effigy occurs commands an extensive prospect, overlooking the "bottoms" found at the junction of the three principal tributaries of the creek. The alluvial terraces are here quite extensive, and it is a matter of surprise that no works occur upon them.
The serpent, separate or in combination with the circle, egg, or globe has been a predominate symbol among many primitive nations. It prevailed in Egypt, Greece, and Assyria, and entered widely into the superstitions of the Celts, the Hindu, and the Chinese. It even penetrated into America; and was conspicuous in the mythology of the ancient Mexicans, among whom its significance does not seem to have differed materially from that which it possessed in the old world. The fact that the ancient Celts, and perhaps other nations of the old continent, erected sacred structures in the form of the serpent, are one of high interest. Of this description was the great temple of Avebury, in England—in many respects the most imposing ancient monument of the British Islands.

Britain's largest henge at Avebury measuring 1250 in diameter. It is England's largest henge, that was accompanied with a serpentine sacred via of standing stones. The largest henge in the Ohio Valley, is the henge at Newark, also 1250 feet in diameter. Early historians, noted the similarities of Avebury with the works at Portsmouth, Ohio.

The Great Serpent Mound is best viewed from a tower that is accessible at the park. This photo looks west toward the serpent’s head swallowing the egg; that is symbolic of the sun. Many of the Allegewi henges are aligned to solar events, as is the Serpent which is aligned to the summer solstice sunset. William Romain revealed in Mysteries of the Hopewell, Astronomers, Geometers and Magicians of the Eastern Woodlands, 2000; that each of the curves in the snake’s body is aligned to the moon's maximum and minimum sets and rises in it's 18-year cycle. This Serpent is the best example of the Allegewi’s reverence for the number three. The Serpents head is pointed to the three forks of Brush Creek. The Serpent has three bends in its body, and the tail circles three times. Nearby, at the Ft. Hill earthwork, there are thirty-three gateways that interrupt the serpentine walls.

This is one of several mounds near the Serpent effigy mound that has been determined to be Allegewi by the artifacts found within the mound.

Large Adena skeletons measuring over seven feet  uncovered three feet below the surface of the Ohio mound. Diggers removed the bones below the knees before the skeleton was uncovered.

The Great Serpent mound is a short distance from Fort Hill and can be reached by going south on State Road 41 to State Road 73 west about 5 miles to the Serpent effigy. The site is closed during the winter months and does not open until April. A charge of seven dollars a car is charged Wednesday through Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Serpent Mound is one of the few sites in Ohio that is maintained and can be viewed during the summer.

History of Adams County, Ohio, 1900
About one-half mile north of Winchester is a fine mound and three circles, the walls of which were when first discovered about five feet high. These circles are about 150 feet in diameter. At the crossing of Seventh and Broadway in the town of Manchester stood a most beautiful Indian mound twenty-five feet high and perfect as a cone. It is said the Ellison heirs who owned the land had this beautiful tumulus dug down and carted away.

The Winchester Indian mound is located several miles north of Winchester on the west side of State Road 136. There was no evidence of the accompanying earthworks.

This small Indian mound is located one mile east of Manchester, Ohio, overlooking the Ohio River. Turn into the boat launch off of State Road 52 one mile east of Manchester. The mound is on the east side of the parking lot.
Exert from "The Nephilim Chronicles; A Travel Guide to the Ancient Ruins in the Ohio Valley."