From about 200 BC to AD 500, the Ohio River Valley was a
focal point of the prehistoric Hopewell culture. The term
Hopewell describes a broad network of beliefs and practices
among different Native American groups over a large portion
of eastern North America. The culture is characterized by
the construction of enclosures made of earthen walls, often
built in geometric patterns, and mounds of various shapes.
Visible remnants of Hopewell culture are concentrated in the
Scioto River valley near present-day Chillicothe, Ohio. The
most striking Hopewell sites contain earthworks in the form
of squares, circles, and other geometric shapes. Many of
these sites were built to a monumental scale, with earthen
walls up to 12 feet high outlining geometric figures more
than 1000 feet across. Conical and loaf-shaped earthen
mounds up to 30 feet high are often found in association
with the geometric earthworks.
Serpent Mound is now a State Memorial to the aboriginal people
who created these fascinating earthworks.