The Secrets Behind The Great Serpent Mounds Of Ohio
By James Donahue
Adams County, Ohio, offers the site of the Great Serpent Mount, considered by
archaeologists and historians to be the most dynamic and mysterious effigy mount in the United States.
Measuring almost a quarter mile in length, the twisting, winding mound built in
the form of a massive snake swallowing an egg, is believed to be among the largest serpentine earthworks in the world.
It is a surviving earthwork, but it may not have been the only serpentine mound
of its kind that once existed in Ohio. Another similar to it once was said to have existed in Warren County, located in Southwest
Ohio between Dayton and Cincinnati. George Frederick Wright, in an article published in 1908, described the mound as 1,300
feet in length, three feet high and from 10 to 15 feet in width. Even when he saw it, Wright said erosion from a nearby stream
had destroyed the head. Since his article appeared, the remains of the mound have been destroyed by human encroachment.
Also in Warren County, John R. White, professor of Anthropology at Youngstown
State University, wrote that in the 1980s he examined two large stone effigies of rattlesnakes along the Little Miami River.
He said they were made of flat shaped limestone slaps piled about two feet high and two meters wide. One was 86 feet long
and the other measured 152 feet.
It was White’s theory that the snake effigies were made by the Fort Ancient
prehistoric Indian culture that lived in the region around A.D. 1200. Also, because of the remains of a post hole in front
of the heads of the snakes, White believed that posts were used like a sun dial, with a shadow moving down the backs of the
snakes, to mark the summer and winter solstice.
While unique to Ohio, within most of the United States, serpent mounds have been
found elsewhere in the world, including Britain and Mexico. Also the dragon, snake or reptile image has played an important
role in ancient cultural artworks throughout the world.
So why were the serpent images considered so important to the ancient people that
they would build massive earthworks like the ones found in the rural areas of the Midwestern United States?
Like images found in England, South America and in other parts of the world, the
serpent mounds can only be seen and appreciated for their artwork from the air. The people of that prehistoric era did not
have the capability of flight.
Or did they?
In addition to the serpent mounts, the ancient civilizations in the United States
built many large earthen mounds. The remains of these works are nearly all destroyed now, but they existed throughout the
Midwest. They were round in their shape when found by early settlers. We believe they may originally have been shaped like
The pyramids were built in rock all over the world. They remain a mystery to this
day, but researcher Carl Munck has used mathematics to develop some interesting theories that strangely link these earthworks
together from all corners of the world.
This stuff may be much older than contemporary historians and archaeologists ever
dreamed. And our roots may be much more ancient. We will have more to offer about this story soon.