Hopewell Mound Group

From Ohio History Central
Human Hand Effigy.jpg
Human Hand Effigy, Hopewell Culture, Hopewell Mound Group, Ross Co., A 283/000294

The Hopewell Mound Group is a large Hopewell culture (100 BC-AD 500) ceremonial center located along the North Fork of Paint Creek in Ross County. According to the archaeologist N'omi Greber, the Hopewell Mound Group "contains, in both quality and quantity, the most striking total set of Hopewellian cultural remains" of any site in Ohio. The Hopewell culture is named for the Hopewell Mound Group, which was named for the family that owned the earthworks when the archaeologist Warren K. Moorehead explored the site in 1891 and 1892.

The Hopewell site is surrounded by a six-foot high, roughly rectangular earthen enclosure 2,800 feet long by 1,800 feet wide, known as the Great Enclosure. A perfectly square enclosure of 16 acres was attached to the eastern wall. Within the Great Enclosure there were other, smaller geometric enclosures and more than 30 mounds of various sizes and shapes. The largest of the mounds was a series of three conjoined mounds referred to as Mound 25. Mound 25 originally was 500 feet long, 180 feet wide, and 33 feet high making it as large as a three-story building spanning two city blocks.

Ephraim Squier and Edwin Davis initially investigated the Hopewell Mound Group. A summary of their work appeared in 1848 in Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, the first publication of the Smithsonian Institution. The Davis collection of artifacts is now at the British Museum.

Warren K. Moorehead recovered a remarkable collection of artifacts from the site, which was displayed at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. The bulk of this collection is now held by the Field Museum in Chicago.

Henry C. Shetrone, Ohio History Society (now Ohio History Connection) archaeologist, excavated much of the surviving portions of the site between 1922 and 1925. The artifacts recovered by these excavations belong to the Ohio History Connection.

The Hopewell Mound Group is now part of Hopewell Culture National Historical Park and the National Park Service continues to investigate the site. In 2001, archaeologists using remote sensing technology discovered a previously undocumented circular feature.

The Hopewell Mound Group is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Learn more about our effort to inscript several Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks sites (in Ross County, Licking County, and Warren County) to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

See Also


  1. Byers, A. Martin. The Ohio Hopewell Episode: Paradigm Lost and Paradigm Gained. Akron, OH: University of Akron Press, 2004.
  2. Carr, Christopher, and D. Troy Case, eds. Gathering Hopewell: Society, Ritual, and Ritual Interaction. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2005.
  3. Case, D. Troy and Christopher Carr, eds. The Scioto Hopewell and their Neighbors: Bioarchaeological Documentation and Cultural Understanding. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2008.
  4. Greber, N'omi "A Study of Continuity and Contrast Between Central Scioto Adena and Hopewell Sites." West Virginia Archeologist 43:1-26, 1991
  5. Greber, N'omi. The Hopewell Mound Group: its People and their Legacy: An Interactive Educational Resource Tool. The Ohio History Connection. Columbus, OH, 1995.
  6. Lepper, Bradley T. Ohio Archaeology: An Illustrated Chronicle of Ohio's Ancient American Indian Cultures. Wilmington, Ohio, Orange Frazer Press, 2005. 
  7. Pangea Productions. Searching for the Great Hopewell Road. N.p.: Pangea Productions, 1998.
  8. Shetrone, H. C. "Explorations of the Hopewell Group of Prehistoric Earthworks," Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, 1-227, 1926.
  9. Woodward, Susan L., and Jerry N. McDonald. Indian Mounds of the Middle Ohio Valley: A Guide to Mounds and Earthworks of the Adena, Hopewell, Cole, and Fort Ancient People. Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press, 2002.