They cluster like pearls in a giant oyster, but the earthen mounds at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park are clearly not a natural phenomenon.
How do we know?
First, the mounds have been carefully constructed in geometric shapes and patterns. Nature rarely carves several tons of soil into a perfect parallelogram.
Second, the mounds are organized into five distinct groups—the High Banks Earthworks, Hopeton Earthworks, Hopewell Mound Group, Mound City Group, and the Seip Earthworks.
Third, earthen walls built to precise mathematical specifications—circles, rectangles, octagons—surround each group.
This was clearly “prime real estate” for the Hopewell culture, as archaeologists discovered when they excavated the mounds. They unearthed a priceless treasure—thousands of beautifully crafted artifacts hammered out of iron, silver, gold, and even meteorites.
The museum in the visitor center near the Mound City Group houses more than 167,000 of these precious items. Watch a film about the Hopewell Culture, see the exhibits, and then tour the Mound City Group or the Seip Earthworks, via trails that circle the walls and traverse the mounds inside.
The Hopewell Culture disappeared suddenly from the Ohio Valley in 500 A.D. They left behind a fascinating puzzle at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.