Ohio Historical Society takes action after Serpent Mound desecrated
Press release from the Ohio Historical Society:
Criminal charges sought and damage assessed
COLUMBUS: The Ohio Historical Society, in coordination with the Adams County Sheriffs Department, is in the process of taking legal action against the individuals allegedly responsible for the desecration in mid-September 2012 of Serpent Mound. The world-renowned earthwork effigy of a serpent is a National Historic Landmark, officially recognized by the US government for outstanding historical significance. “Desecration of one of Ohio’s ancient earthworks will not be tolerated”, said Burt Logan, executive director of the Ohio Historical Society. “We take any vandalism and desecration of historic sites extremely seriously. We are taking steps to file criminal charges against those responsible”. Under Ohio Revised Code 2927.11, desecration of any earthwork is a second degree misdemeanor and equivalent to the desecration of the American flag with penalties of up to a $5,000 fine.
In mid-September, Adams County community members and others notified the Ohio Historical Society about suspicious activity at Serpent Mound. Numerous small objects had been inserted into the earthwork. The objects are being identified and the Ohio Historical Society is making every effort to retrieve all of the objects from the vicinity of the mound. “We are charged with preserving historic sites which incorporate an incredible wealth of natural, archaeological, and historical significance in Ohio”, continued Logan. “We have always been vigilant in caring for and protecting our sites and we are increasingly attentive to safeguarding them and assuring visitor safety. We are appalled at the irresponsible behavior and deliberate vandalism by some. Ohio’s history must be preserved and protected for future generations. Preserving and protecting our historic sites and assuring visitor safety are our first priorities. In response to this act of desecration, we are increasing our vigilance. Violation of spiritual sites, or any historic site, is absolutely unacceptable”, added George Kane, director of historic sites and facilities for the society.
Serpent Mound, thought to be built between 800 to 1,000 years ago, is the largest surviving example of a prehistoric effigy mound in the world. Archaeology experts around the world have compared the earthwork to the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, Pompeii, Stonehenge, and the Taj Mahal. Ohio Historical Society archaeologist, Bradley Lepper, refers to it as perhaps the most recognizable icon of ancient America. Most recently, Serpent Mound’s significance has garnered international attention and is being considered for inscription on the prestigious World Heritage List. In addition to its archaeological and anthropological significance, Serpent Mound and other ancient earthworks in Ohio hold great spiritual value to the members of Native American communities. Serpent Mound represents the peak of prehistoric effigy mound-building in the world and is part of a tradition of effigy mound building among some American Indian cultures of the present Eastern United States. Managing partner of Serpent Mound, The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System, welcomes over 20,000 people throughout the year to Serpent Mound. Fortunately, the vast majority of the visitors demonstrate the respect and humility appropriate for visiting a Native American site of this stature, said Nancy Stranahan, director of the Arc. “It is tragic that the narrow self-interests of a few individuals defied the publics overwhelming sentiment to protect this ancient site for the present and future generations”.
To learn more about Serpent Mound and its visiting hours, visit www.ohiohistory.org/serpentmound. The 63-acre park is one of 58 state memorials administered by the Ohio Historical Society.
ABOUT THE ARC OF APPALACHIA PRESERVE SYSTEM The non-profit Arc of Appalachia Preserve System manages 14 preserves in South-central Ohio totaling 5000 acres. In its mission to protect the states rich diversity of native plants and animals, the Arc actively acquires land for the purpose of building large blocks of healthy contiguous forests. At the systems largest preserve, the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, are the Appalachian Forest Museum, 15 miles of hiking trails, lodging retreats, and outdoor education facilities. For more information see www.arcofappalachia.org, or contact the Arc at 937.365.1935>; [email protected].
ABOUT THE OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY Founded in 1885, the non-profit Ohio Historical Society provides a wide array of statewide services and programs related to collecting, preserving and interpreting Ohios history, archeology and natural history. The Society has about 1.6 million items in its collections throughout its 50+ sites and museums and within its 283,000-square-feet Ohio History Center at 800 E 17th Ave. (Exit 111 off Highway I-71), Columbus, Ohio, 43211. The Society receives a portion of its funding from the state, but relies on admission fees, memberships, grants, donations and other forms of revenue to continue to serve Ohioans in the future. For information regarding the Society, contact Jane M. Mason, Director of Marketing and Communications, Ohio Historical Society: 614.297.2312, [email protected].