Great Circle Earthworks455 Hebron RD
Heath, OH 43056-1446
740-344-0498 | http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Great_Circle_Earthworks
Great Circle Earthworks
Part of the massive complex of the Newark Earthworks, the Great Circle Mound is perhaps the most important prehistoric Indian site in the eastern United States.
Located within the massive complex of the Newark Earthworks, the Great Circle Mound is one of the most significant remaining Hopewell Cultural structures in Ohio. At nearly 12,000 feet in diameter, 8-foot high walls rise out of a 5-foot deep moat. The vastness of the encircled space is breathtaking. If transported, the Great Pyramid at Giza and the Empire State Building laid on its side could fit comfortably within the mound structure. At the center of the circle is Eagle Mound, which contains traces of a ceremonial long house.
The Great Circle Mound was built by the people of the Hopewell Culture between 100 B.C. and 500 A.D. as part of the miles of mounds that made up the Newark Earthworks. Mysteries still abound about how the Native Americans used the space, but the circle was almost undoubtedly a sacred place of prayer. Where the nearby Octagon Earthworks were likely used as an astronomical observatory, the Great Circle Mound may have been closely connected with the sun.
Over the years, the city of Newark built over much of the greater mound complex. Newark was established in 1802 by William C. Schenck. Canals, railroads, and industry all contributed to Newark's steady growth in the 19th and early 20th centuries, which doomed much of the Newark Earthworks complex. Only three portions of the original earthworks remain today, the Great Circle, Octagon, and Wright mound systems. The Great Circle Mound has remained mostly intact though not unscathed over the years, thanks in part to the decades it spent as the site of the Licking County fairgrounds.
Today the sites are protected and poised to be a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Notes for Travelers
The site also has a small museum with guided tours offered on Fridays and Saturdays in June, July, and August.