During the Newark Earthworks Open House, visitors are invited to explore and fully experience all three segments of these ancient, expansive earthworks built masterfully by American Indians. The site will be open daylight to dusk, with staff on site to answer questions from Noon–4 p.m. There is no registration or reservations needed for tours.
Octagon Earthworks is part of Newark Earthworks, remnants of a 2,000 year-old complex that is the largest set of geometric earthworks ever known. Enclosing 50 acres, the Octagon Earthworks has eight walls, each measuring about 550 feet long and from five to six feet in height. The earthworks are located at 125 N. 33rd St., Newark, OH.
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 earthworks are located at 455 Hebron Rd., Heath, OH.
Wright Earthworks consists of a fragment of a geometrically near-perfect square enclosure and part of one wall that originally formed a set of parallel embankments, which led from the square to a large oval enclosure. Originally, the sides of the Newark square ranged from 940 to 950 feet in length, and they enclose a total area of about 20 acres. The earthworks are located north of Grant St. on James, parallel to State Route 79 in Newark.
The Newark Earthworks served social, ceremonial and astronomical functions for their builders, people of the Hopewell Culture. The site is a National Historic Landmark and Ohio’s official prehistoric monument.
The site will be open daylight to dusk. Staff will be on hand at the Octagon and Great Circle from noon to 4 p.m. to answer questions. Please practice social distancing throughout or wear a mask if you cannot or when in the museum at the Great Circle.
Activities will be held at the Great Circle and Octagon. See below for times.
The Works Mobile Unit Activity Table • Noon–4 p.m. Learn a little about archaeoastronomy with The Works! Dive into science about the moon and its phases and a little about American Indian culture and their mounds! Visit them at the Great Circle.
Information Tables • Noon–4 p.m. Whether you’re waiting for or resting from your Octagon Earthworks guided tour, there is still a lot to learn about. Visit one of the information tables hosted by Heartland Earthworks Conservancy, Licking Valley Heritage Society (Flint Ridge) and the Ohio History Connection.
Guided Octagon Earthworks Tour • 12:30, 2:30 & 5:30 p.m. Join Ohio History Connection archaeologists and World Heritage staff Brad Lepper or Jennifer Aultman as they walk with guests through the circle and octagon earthen walls that make up the impressive Octagon Earthworks. Stops along the way will point out specific features including Observatory Mound and the many openings in the earthworks that are key to the 18.6-year lunar alignment encoded into the landscape. A special “after work” 5:30 p.m. tour is also offered. Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, hat and water are suggested.
Great Circle Museum Talks • 1 & 2 p.m. Join us inside the museum at the Great Circle to hear from our staff about the Fort Ancient Earthworks in Warren County (1 p.m.) and about the precise astronomical alignments that are encoded in many earthworks. (2 p.m.).