Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hopewell Culture and the Serpent Mound

Before we move forward in time this history would be negligent if it did not acknowledge the Hopewell culture that thrived in the woodlands around Ohio. Here is another impressive social and ceremonial phenomenon. It thrived between 200 BC and 500 CE. The Hopewell culture united a network of trade with other groups from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. Known as “mound builders” the Hopewell culture is identified by construction of enclosures made of earthen walls, often built in geometric patterns and mounds. Perhaps the most impressive is the Serpent Mound.

The undulating serpent winds back and forth for more than eight hundred feet ending with a triple-coiled tail. The neck of the serpent is stretched out ending with a wide-open mouth surrounding a 120-foot-long hollow oval feature thought to be an egg. This oval-to-head area of the serpent is aligned to the summer solstice sunset. The Serpent Mound's coils are aligned to winter and summer solstices and spring and Autumnal equinoxes.

The Serpent Mound, Ohio