Glenford Fort Earthworks-

67 Acres in Perry County – donated to Perry County Soil and Water District

An Enigmatic Ridgetop Enclosure. Glenford Fort Earthworks is a ridgetop ceremonial enclosure built by the Hopewell American Indian Culture 2,000 years ago. Its walls, still nearly intact, are made entirely of stacked stone that encircle the bluffs of a flat-topped ridge. The property boasts a handsome and healthy Appalachian hillside of oaks and hickories that is studded with beautiful fern-covered sandstone boulders.  In 2017, the Arc completed fundraising to purchase a 67 acre tract that includes a section of the wall, a natural and dramatic cleft in the exposed bedrock that serves as the main gateway, and half of a square mound that once stood in front of the main entrance and now spans the boundary of the property. The tract was donated by the Arc to the Perry County Soil and Water District.

Located in Perry County near Buckeye Lake, the earthworks belong to a geographic and cultural ceremonial region shared with Newark Earthworks and Flint Ridge. To our knowledge, only 14 ridgetop enclosures were ever built in the Hopewell heartland of Ohio, and almost nowhere else. Glenford Fort is the ninth ridgetop Hopewell enclosure to be saved in the state.

Glenford’s Notable Features. The walls that encircle the 24.4 acre ceremonial grounds average 20 feet in breadth and 3 to 6 feet in height. In earlier years the ridgetop’s most arresting feature was a stately stone mound that rose from the interior enclosure, its footprint still marked by a canopy of trees. Still highly visible is a squircle enclosure (rounded off square) that sits directly in front of the main gateway, and a small mound in front of the squircle.

Aging the Enclosure. A 1987 excavation of the mound uncovered a collection of Adena spear points, potsherds, a copper bracelet, and pipe fragments. Evidence of postholes revealed the existence of an oval building at the base of the stone mound. Radiocarbon dating placed the structure’s age at 280 B.C., near the end of the Adena era, indicating that the mound was likely several centuries older than the stone wall and the squircle enclosure which are of classic Hopewell design. Since most archeologists now consider the Hopewell to be the cultural descendants of the Adena in Ohio, it is not necessarily surprising to have both cultures in evidence at one site.

Glenford Fort lies at the corner of a sacred triangle of the Hopewell culture.
Aerial photo of Glenford Fort
The native Hopewell people used the natural stone opening at Glenford Fort as the main gateway to their ceremonial earthworks