Mound City Group

From Ohio History Central

The Mound City Group is a large Hopewell culture (100 BC -- AD 500) ceremonial center located along the Scioto River in Ross County. It consists of 24 burial mounds framed by a large earthen enclosure shaped like a square with rounded corners. The enclosure is 2,050 feet across and the walls are about three feet high.

Ephraim Squier and Edwin Davis of Chillicothe excavated several of the mounds in the 1800s. They made a number of remarkable discoveries, including a deposit of more than 200 animal effigy pipes. Their collection is now at the British Museum.

Ohio Historical Society (now, Ohio History Connection) archaeologists William C. Mills and Henry C. Shetrone excavated several mounds in the 1920s. Mills concluded that the Mound City Group was the "best example of Hopewell culture in Ohio." Following their investigations, the mounds were restored. Mound City was declared a National Monument in 1923.

Beginning in 1963 and continuing into the 1970s, the Ohio Historical Society, working with Northwestern University archaeologist James Brown, conducted further investigations at Mound City clarifying the locations of mounds, gateways, and borrow pits and obtaining radiocarbon dates that established Mound City as one of the earliest major centers of the Hopewell culture.

The Mound City Group is a National Historic Landmark and is part of Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.

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. Brown, James. "Mound City and Issues in the Developmental History of Hopewell Culture in the Ross County Area of Southern Ohio." Aboriginal Ritual and Economy in the Eastern Woodlands: Essays in Memory of Howard Dalton Winters, edited by Anne-Marie Cantwell, Lawrenece A. Conrad, and Jonathan E. Reyman, Illinois State Museum Scientific Papers, Vol. 30, 147-168. Springfield, IL, 2004.
  2. CERHAS. EarthWorks, Virtual Explorations of the Ancient Ohio Valley. The Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historical and Archaeological Sites (CERHAS). Cincinnati, OH, 2006.
  3. Byers, A. Martin. The Ohio Hopewell Episode: Paradigm Lost and Paradigm Gained. Akron, OH: University of Akron Press, 2004.
  4. Carr, Christopher, and D. Troy Case, eds. Gathering Hopewell: Society, Ritual, and Ritual Interaction. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2005.
  5. 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.
  6. Lepper, Bradley T. Ohio Archaeology: An Illustrated Chronicle of Ohio's Ancient American Indian Cultures. Wilmington, Ohio, Orange Frazer Press, 2005. 
  7. Mills, William C. "Exploration of the Mound City Group," Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, 423-584, 1922.
  8. Pangea Productions. Searching for the Great Hopewell Road. N.p.: Pangea Productions, 1998.
  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.