The first Open House of 2014 for the Octagon Earthworks will be Sunday April 13th! Guided tours and activities for kids of all ages will be provided from 1:00 to 4:00 PM, although the entire grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk. This is your chance to come and see one of the true wonders of the ancient world in all its glory! And if you think “glory” is too strong a word, read what early Ohio archaeologist Gerard Fowke had to say about the entire Newark Earthworks in the 1893 Report of the Geological Survey :

Gerard Fowke (1855-1933)

In Plate V are shown the Newark works, which in extent, variety of structure, and amount of labor involved, probably surpass any similar remains in the world. Mile after mile of embankment circles and other geometric figures, parallels, lodge-sites, and mounds covering an area of more than four square miles, amaze the archaeologist and curiosity-seeker alike as they spend hours and days traversing the ground in every direction, constantly finding something worthy of investigation and description. No one who visits this place can fail to be impressed with the thought that he is viewing the results of a vast amount of labor intelligently performed for a definite purpose; and few can avoid the temptation of endeavoring to interpret this purpose, to fathom the motives which would impel men thus to labor, or to frame a theory that will clear away the obscurity impending as a cloud over these mysterious tokens of an unknown people. Many have tried; none has succeeded.” Plate V was a version of the map produced by Ephriam Squier and Edwin Davis and published in 1848 as part of the very first volume of the Smithsonian Institution’s Contributions to Knowledge series. If you can’t make it Sunday, Monday the 14th also is an Open House, but no tours are scheduled for that day. You still can come and tour the entire grounds, but you’ll be on your own. Whether you come on Sunday or Monday, but especially if you come on Monday, I recommend you first stop at the Great Circle where you can see the exhibits at the Visitor Center, which also provide some interpretation about the Octagon Earthworks. The other Open House dates for 2014 are Tuesday May 27th and October 12th. Stay tuned for announcements about what activities may or may not be scheduled for those other dates. I hope to see you at the Octagon this Sunday! Brad Lepper

Map of the Newark Earthworks as surveyed by Charles Whittlesey, Ephraim Squier and Edwin Davis. Published in 1848, Squier and Davis wrote that “the ancient lines now can be traced only at intervals among gardens and outhouses.”



Posted April 9, 2014
Topics: Archaeology

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