Exploring Hopewell Culture (and Craft Brew) in Licking County – Part 2

August 20, 2017 – After spending the morning hiking around a bit, we moved on to look for Hopewell Mounds.

Great Circle

We started our exploration of the Newark Earthworks with the Great Circle Earthwork site and museum.  The Great Circle site is southwest of downtown Newark.  Once parked (google map here), stop in at the museum for  displays on the mounds and an interactive set of videos.  When you exit the museum, you’ll be facing the entrance to the Great Circle.

There are a few interpretive signs throughout the circle that help explain what you are seeing.  From the Ohio History Connection website:

… the Great Circle Earthworks is nearly 1,200 feet in diameter and was likely used as a vast ceremonial center by its builders. The 8 feet (2.4 m) high walls surround a 5 feet (1.5 m) deep moat, except at the entrance where the dimensions are even greater and more impressive. 

The space is rather impressive.  We spent a lot of time walking around imagining how much work went into building and maintaining the structures.  Imagine how impressive it would be to come through the narrow entrance with a large group.

Wright Earthworks

After leaving the Great Circle, we headed to the Wright Earthworks.  This section is the small piece that is left of a square formation.  This section is just a few blocks from the Great Circle.  In the museum information, they tell you this is at the corner of “James & Grant”.  It is actually a bit down James, where the road dead-ends.  Go here.

The kiosk gives a good perspective of what you are seeing.  We spent a bit of time wondering if the white house that is sitting right on top of the square or the welding company (in the photo) have any hauntings.  After a bit of discussion on the “no zone” of houses in Newark (those houses built within in earthworks), we moved on to find the Octagon.

Octagon Earthworks

The Octagon Earthworks are part of the Mound Builders Country Club.  Aim here and follow the signs pointing you to the earthworks.  There is a section of parking and an observation deck for this purpose.  The county club is a private club but allows public access for viewing the earthworks.

From the observation deck, you can get a good view of the octagon mound walls.  This is the only spot on our tour where you could really get up above the mounds to see how the connect.   After the observation deck, you can follow the path around to see Observation Mound.

From the bottom of the deck, walk towards the club house and look for the signs to follow.  You will walk along the cart path between the pool and the course and around to the south side of the course.  From the end of the path, you can see a few mounds in the distance.  It is believed that the large mound at the end was used to observe astronomical events.  The sign at the path explains.

 

Alligator Mound

The volunteer at Flint Ridge gave us a tip to check out Alligator Mound over in Granville while we were exploring.

This mound is believed to be a bit newer than the others and related to the Fort Ancient people (rather than the Hopewell).  This mound is called Alligator, but that really makes no sense since there are no Alligators in the Midwest and it is shaped more like a mammal.  Climb to the top of the hill and see what you think it may be.

To find this one, head to the Bryn Du neighborhood and follow the main road all the way up the hill until you get to the end.  Or… Point your GPS here.  Enjoy the fancy, ginormous homes on your way up.

We Need Beer!

After our day exploring, we thought a cold beverage was in order.  From Granville, we headed over to Heath to the Homestead Beer Co.  This brewery and tap room sits right next to the Boeing building, which is rather impressive in its own right.

Situating ourselves at the bar, we both opted for a flight so we could try a few different beers and still make it home safely.  We both liked all the beers we tried.  No food is served here, but they have food trucks several days of the week.  There is also a nice patio out front if you are hanging out for a bit.

We had our beers and decided we should head back and get ready for the week.

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