I love history. Good or bad, there is always something to learn from it and in the case of the first Ohioans much to appreciate. This week we traveled to Southern Ohio to check out the remnants from the mound builders. There are multiple sites where you can see these fascinating archaeological sites near Chillicothe OH. Interesting fact, Chillicothe was the first capital city of Ohio. All of the complexes we visited were small and can easily be seen in a day trip.

Our first stop was to the Mound City Group, the only fully restored Hopewell earthwork complex at the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. While the visitor center is closed (no restrooms), you can still go out and see the mounds and as a bonus, it is pet friendly. There are 23 mounds, most small with a large mound near the center of the complex. A 3-4 foot earthen wall surrounds the complex. At one point this was a training field for the US Army. Like many of the mounds in the area, this complex was leveled and had to be recreated. There were many artifacts found in the mounds including ceremonial pipes, masks, and remains.

The next stop on our trip was the Seip Earthworks. There are fewer mounds here, but it does have the 3rd largest burial mound known to have been built by the Hopewell. In the past this site was a bit more impressive as it was encircled by over 2 miles of earth works that were plowed over for agriculture. Today, there are areas maintained to show this that provide a nice hike. All of these sites have picnic tables and if someone would have been more on the ball he would have packed a picnic lunch to save some money. There are no food options onsite and slim pickings on restaurants near the sites.

Our last stop is really the main event. The Great Serpent Mound is internationally known as the largest earthwork effigy mound in the world! The museum is open here but it is more of a souvenir shop. It costs $8 to park, but well worth it. There is a paved trail that goes around the entirety of the mound so this is handicap friendly. The other 2 locations do not have that feature, there, you will be walking through grass to get close to the mounds. At the head of the trail, there is a 2 story watch tower you can climb to get a fantastic birds eye view of the mound.

Check out our Facebook album for more pictures. If you would like to learn more about the mounds here are links to the sites.