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Newark Earthworks
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The Great Circle Earthworks Octagon Earthworks
The Great Circle Earthworks. Octagon Earthworks.

There is a certain amount of sadness to look upon the remnants of the earthworks left behind by a people that are practically forgotten. Who were these people? As a modern nation we have virtually wiped clean the land, which was occupied by former inhabitants and only some traces remain.

The Newark Earthworks is one example of both preservation and destruction. The Newark Earthworks were built by the Hopewell culture between 100 BC and 500 AD and was one of the architectural wonders of ancient America with the largest set of geometric earthen enclosures in the world. It originally spanned more then four square miles, but now only three small segments remain located in the heart of Newark, Ohio. The Hopewell used the earthworks as a burial ground, places of ceremony, social gatherings, trade, worship, and as an astronomical observatory.

The alignments, placements, dimensions, and site-to-site interrelationships of the earthworks indicates that this people had a more advance scientific understand of construction than later Indian tribes who came after.

Ancient Works, Newark, by D. Wyrick, 1860 Newark Works, Ohio - E.G. Squier
Survey of the Newark Earthworks by D. Wyrick. Survey of the Newark Earthworks by E.G. Squier.

The Great Circle Earthworks

The Great Circle Earthworks was built by the Hopewell people about 2000 years ago. It was used as a great ceremonial center and is nearly 1200 feet in diameter. The walls were approximately 8 feet high with a 5-foot deep moat on its interior which is a little unusual as moats usually occur on the outside rather than on the inside.

The Great Circle Earthworks The Great Circle Earthworks

Octagon Earthworks

Octagon Earthworks

The Octagon encloses 50 acres and is joined by parallel walls to a 20 acre circular embankment.. Small mounds are located within the octagon just opposite openings. The Octagon Earthworks are believed to have been used as a lunar observatory to track the moon's orbit during its 18.6-year cycle and at the northernmost point of the cycle the moon rises within one-half of a degree of the exact center of the octagon. The accuracy is twice as precise as Stonehenge.

From 1892 to 1908 the Octagon Earthworks was used as a militia encampment by the state of Ohio. It was then owned by the Newark Board of Trade until 1918. It was leased to the Mound Builders Country Club in 1910 and was developed into a golf course.

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