Archaeology Tour of Serpent Mound Please join us every second Friday of each month for a guided walk around the World’s Largest Effigy Mound with archaeologist Bill Kennedy of the Ohio History Connection. This walking tour gives an overview of precontact American Indians in Ohio and at Serpent Mound: one of the most iconic effigy mounds in the world. Tour begins in front of the museum visitor center at 1:30 pm. Tour last for 1.5 hrs
The Serpent Mound Observation Tower, built in 1908, is closed for the season due to needed repairs. The project is in the planning phase and work will begin in 2024.
Hours vary seasonally.
Seasonal Hours (Apr. 1, 2023 – Nov. 19, 2023)
Tuesdays-Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sundays: Noon-5 p.m.
Parking fee: $8/car
SPECIAL HOURS AND HOLIDAYS
SUMMER SOLSTICE – 6/21 (TTBA) AUTUMNAL EQUINOX – 9/23 (TTBA) CLOSED 11/23 & 11/24
WINTER SOLSTICE – 12/21 (TTBA) CLOSED 12/24 – 12/25
Please note that access to the site is limited to these hours. Monday, holiday, and after-hours access is not permitted. No trespassing when gates are closed.
Serpent Mound is an internationally known National Historic Landmark built by the ancient American Indian cultures of Ohio. It is an effigy mound (a mound in the shape of an animal) representing a snake with a curled tail. Nearby are three burial mounds—two created by the Adena culture (800 B.C.–A.D. 100), and one by the Fort Ancient culture (A.D. 1000–1650).
Thousands of years ago, Native Ohioans populated the landscape with mounds and massive earthworks. In the late 19th century, Harvard University archaeologist Frederic Ward Putnam excavated Serpent Mound, but he found no artifacts in the Serpent that might allow archaeologists to assign it to a particular culture. Based largely on the nearby presence of Adena burial mounds, later archaeologists attributed the effigy to the Adena culture that flourished from 800 B.C. to A.D. 100. This theory on the site’s origin was accepted until a 1991 site excavation used radiocarbon dating to determine that the mound was approximately 900 years old. This would suggest that the builders of the Serpent belonged to the Fort Ancient culture (A.D. 1000–1500). In 2014, another team of archaeologists presented new radiocarbon dates for the Serpent suggesting that it was built by the Adena culture at around 300 B.C. More work is needed to clarify the age of Serpent Mound.
The significance of Serpent Mound and other ancient Ohio earthworks has garnered international attention. In 2008, Serpent Mound and eight other Ohio American Indian earthworks were selected by the United States Department of the Interior for inclusion on the United States’ Tentative List of sites to be submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for inscription on the prestigious World Heritage List. If it is eventually inscribed on the World Heritage List later this decade, Serpent Mound will join the ranks of the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, Pompeii, Stonehenge and the Taj Mahal, all of which are World Heritage sites. World Heritage status has the potential to elevate local and international awareness about the site’s value, further encourage communities to protect and invest in its preservation and increase potentially beneficial tourism to the site.
Pets are welcome at Serpent Mound but must remain leashed at all times while on site.
Serpent Mound is managed by the Ohio History Connection.