I mean, what’s not fascinating about an old man hiding out in an old cave?
But the unexpected gift was the beauty and grandeur in this state park tucked into a rural area of Southern Ohio. The towering cliffs, serene waterfalls, deep, jagged gorges with streams and caves… it was a sight to behold!
After spending the morning in Hocking Hills, we ventured off to discover a bit about the mound-building civilizations of Northern America by traveling along a short section of the Ancient Ohio Trail.
I was in state of awe over this, but Levi kept asking in utter exasperation, “Mounds! Mounds! Mounds! Mom-mom, are we really going to go see ANOTHER MOUND?!?”
I guess a bunch of mounds of dirt that you can’t play on are just not so exciting to a 4-year-old.
Stephen corrected me multiple times as I sang, “Three of the advanced civilizations of Mesoamerica…”
“MOM! Ohio is NOT in Mesoamerica!!” (I think he had to say that more than once.)
Oh, yeah. Well, someone’s got to keep their children on their toes. I just wanted to make sure they knew that. That’s why I kept singing the wrong song. [Truth is, I couldn’t remember the memory work song for mound-building civilizations no matter how many times Stephen told it to me. At this point, I can recite all the history memory work for Cycle 2 and 3, but Cycle 1 is still a complete muddled mess in my mind! In fact, Stephen says that proofing me on history sentences helps him to realize the torture I must feel when I try to get him to recite all of his multiplication facts. Hmmm….]
Anyway, the photos below tell you the story of the Hopewell culture, but I’ll highlight a few interesting tidbits:
- “When Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Jesus lived, the Hopewell culture built and used Mound City Group.” The Hopewell culture flourished in southern and central Ohio from 200 BC to 500 AD.
- Archaeologists have concluded that the mounds were used for ceremonies and celebrations (and burial practices).
- Hopewell earthworks consist of enormous, precisely constructed geometric shapes which are thought to align with the solstices and the complicated lunar standstill cycle. “The earthen walls at Mound City Group could enclose 10 football fields.” Still, Mound City Group is actually one of the smaller Hopewell earthworks in existence today.
Serpent Mound is a quarter-mile earthworks originally thought to have been constructed by the Adena Indians (who lived in Ohio from 800 BC to 1 AD) but was later determined by archaeologists to have been built by the Fort Ancient Indians (who lived in Ohio from 900 to 1550 AD). Again, the curves of the mounds are aligned to different astronomical events. It’s humbling to consider how much these ancient people knew about astronomy and geometry. We consider them primitive and less knowledgeable than we are today, but, really, they knew so much more about the world in which they lived. (And my thoughts once again return to the truths revealed in Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child…)