Ross County Earthworks

Chillicothe, Ohio, the Capital of an Ancient Culture



The Most Spectacular Concentration of Earthworks in the World!

Of the three dozen major earthwork complexes ever built by the Hopewell, a full two thirds of them fall within the boundaries of Ross County. Six of these sites are on our nations priority list for World Heritage Site nomination. Perhaps someday, when the Junction Works is appropriately studied, funding may be found to restore some of the earthworks so that visitors can see them in their orginal splender and grandeur; just as has been done at the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Tikal and closer to home, Serpent Mound and Mound City Group.

Earthwork Destruction & Protection

Unfortunately, all of the great earthwork complexes built by the Hopewell Culture have been badly damaged.These complexes were built on sites that later became prime farmland causing these earthwork sites to be converted into agricultural use. Nearly 200 years of plowing has destroyed the earthworks, spreading the structures wider and lower making most earthworks no longer visible to the eye. Of these three dozen earthworks  in Ross County, seven have been fully protected, two of which are protected by the Arc of Appalachia; Junction Earthworks and Spruce Hill.

With Modern Technology, earthworks are able to come alive once again!

Fortunately, the Hopewell builders dug below the topsoil before beginning the construction of their monuments, allowing modern Archaeologists to use a magnetic survey to reveal the location of the  destroyed earthworks, without excavating. This technology was used on Junction Earthworks, by Dr. Jarrod Burks, to reveal the location of the nearly invisible earthworks.


Chillicothe 1987, A reproduction of Squier and Davis' Earthworks Survey
Magnetic survey showing the perfectly preserved foundations of Junction Earthwroks. Photo Courtest of Jarrod Burks