The park is open, although the museum remains closed until further notice. The restrooms near the shelter houses are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
A guided tour of the Great Circle is offered the first Friday of the month at 12:30 p.m. Please meet at the map in front of the museum.
The Newark Earthworks are the largest set of geometric earthen enclosures in the world. Already a National Historic Landmark, in 2006, the State of Ohio designated the Newark Earthworks as “the official prehistoric monument of the state.” Interpretive signage around the park will help to explain the significance of the site and why American Indians regard the Newark Earthworks as a sacred site. Average visit time: Allow 1+ hours.
Note: the parking lots are a moderate distance from earthworks and museum. A paved path with some steps provides access to the museum but there is no direct walkway to the center of the Great Circle.
While visiting Newark Earthworks, consider traveling 15 miles east to visit Flint Ridge.
Built by people of the ancient Hopewell Culture between A.D. 1 to A.D. 400, this architectural wonder of ancient America was part cathedral, part cemetery and part astronomical observatory. The entire Newark Earthworks originally encompassed more than four square miles. Over the years, the growth of the city of Newark destroyed many of the Newark Earthworks, but three major segments survived because of the efforts of interested local citizens:
The three segment site-inclusive 2022 Newark Earthworks Open House dates are:
Advanced registration to the Open Houses is not required; admission is free. Please note all tours will be postponed or canceled in the event of severe storms that include high winds, thunder and lightening.
While we can never know with any certainty the Hopewells’ purpose in designing the earthworks, one theory is that the Hopewell built these earthworks on such a massive scale for astronomical accuracy—long, straight embankments provide longer sight lines that increase the accuracy of astronomical alignments. In 1982, professors Ray Hively and Robert Horn of Earlham College in Indiana discovered that the Hopewell builders aligned these earthworks to the complicated cycle of risings and settings of the moon. They recovered a remarkable wealth of indigenous knowledge relating to geometry and astronomy encoded in the design of these earthworks. The Octagon Earthworks, in particular, are aligned to the four moonrises and four moonsets that mark the limits of a complicated 18.6-year-long cycle.
The Newark Earthworks are one step closer to becoming part of Ohio’s first World Heritage site. The site is one of seven Ohio sites in a serial nomination of Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks. In addition to Newark Earthworks, the sites are Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve and five sites that make up Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe. For more information on World Heritage and how you can help, visit worldheritageohio.org.