SIA4107: National Park Serivce Marker: Gathering Place

Photographer:Calvin J. Hamilton
Copyright:Copyright © 2013 Calvin J. Hamilton. All rights reserved.
Date Added:2013/10/02
Location:Hopewell Mound Group, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Chillicothe, Ohio

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Gathering Place

On this side of Hopewell Mound Group, the earthen walls came up the slope to about where you are now standing. The 130-acre field before you was completely enclosed by this earthwork. What was it used for? It was not a city. Archaeologists have not found any evidence of long term habitation and think it was used as a gathering place. For hundreds of years, people made pilgrimages here to memorialize the dead and may have held religious ceremonies, and engaged in social, economic, and political events. During this long time period, people constructed buildings to hold ceremonies and later covered those locations with earthen materials to create the mounds that you see today.

Many families worked together to build these earthworks and mounds, perhaps coming together within its walls for religious and mortuary ceremonies and to renew friendships and alliances.

The Hopewell were a woodland people, living in small family groups in dense old-growth forests. Imagine the awe that a vast earthwork such as this could have inspired in people coming to worship, socialize, or trade.

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