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Witness ancient brilliance in each of the Hopewell earthworks

A memorable and enriching experience

Discover the Awe-Inspiring Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks

Ohio’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site

Masterpieces of human creative genius, the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are gigantic earthen enclosures built by American Indians 2,000 years ago. They were places of ceremony connected to the cosmos by alignments to key risings and settings of the moon and sun. Come and experience these sacred earthworks of the ancient Hopewell culture and gain a new appreciation of the achievements of Ohio’s Indigenous peoples—as well as a deeper connection to the world and our place in it.

Masterpieces of human creative genius, the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are gigantic earthen enclosures built by American Indians 2,000 years ago. They were places of ceremony connected to the cosmos by alignments to key risings and settings of the moon and sun. Come and experience these sacred earthworks of the ancient Hopewell culture and gain a new appreciation of the achievements of Ohio’s Indigenous peoples—as well as a deeper connection to the world and our place in it.

Where Earth Meets Sky

The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are complex masterpieces of landscape architecture. The huge squares, circles, and octagons, which are geometrically precise and align perfectly with the cycles of the sun and moon, were built by dispersed communities of American Indians who periodically gathered at these special places to worship and stay connected to one another. The earthworks are incredibly big to accommodate those large numbers of people.

Artifacts found at these sites are made from unusual raw materials such as mica from Appalachia, seashells from the Gulf of Mexico, and obsidian from the Rocky Mountains. This shows that people traveled here from the ends of the Hopewell world bringing with them rare and precious gifts. The immense effort this would have required further solidifies these earthworks as centers of human ingenuity.

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Universally Revered, Globally Recognized

UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Stonehenge, The Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Great Wall of China, must have outstanding universal value to humanity. No matter where they’re located, these sites serve to honor and preserve the world’s cultural and natural heritage. The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks joined more than 1,100 other important places on this distinguished list. It is the first and only UNESCO site in the state of Ohio.

News and Events

News

Family Field Trip Friday Tours

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  Explore Ohio’s First UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks during our Family Field Trip Friday Tours! Pack your curiosity and sense of adventure this summer for a unique journey through time with Family Field Trip Fridays! Every Friday from June onwards, visitors can immerse themselves in the rich history and landscapes of… Read More

Event – Chillicothe, OH

“Sharing the Hopewell with the World” Student Art Exhibition

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Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

On display through June 23, 2024

Artwork created by students from all over the country will be on display in the Mound City Group Visitor Center auditorium. This will be the park's fourth year collaborating with International Fiber Collaborative to produce the exhibit. Artwork can be viewed every day during normal business hours.

The Mound City Group Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., 7 days a week.

Event – Oregonia, OH

Summer Solstice Sunrise

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Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve

Thursday, June 20

Join Fort Ancient in welcoming the first day of summer through this exciting program of observing the sunrise as the Ancient people did 2,000 years ago. Watch the sunrise between two walls of earth when aligning yourself between the earthen wall and a stone covered mound.

Grounds open at 5:30 a.m. Free admission until 10 a.m.

Feel Ancient Wisdom Written in the Land

You can experience a feeling of wonder, connection, and reverence at each of these amazing earthworks. Find everything you need to plan your visit to one or all of them here.

The People Behind the Earthworks

History & Discovery

Dig deeper into the archaeological discovery of the earthworks, the impact of the arrival of European settlers, and the Indigenous perspectives on their history.

The Hopewell Culture

The ancient American Indian Hopewell culture created these magnificent monuments though cooperation and shared beliefs. The earthworks and the artifacts found there are clues to the way of life of these unique people — a biography written in the land.

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