Serpent Mound

Serpent Mound

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Serpent Mound is the world’s largest surviving effigy mound—a mound in the shape of an animal—from the prehistoric era. Located in southern Ohio, the 411-meter-long (1348-feet-long) Native American structure has been excavated a few times since the late 1800s, but the origins of Serpent Mound are still a mystery. Some estimates place the construction of the National Historic Landmark—also called Great Serpent Mound—at around 300 B.C.

What Is Serpent Mound?

As its name suggests, Serpent Mound resembles a giant sinuous snake with a curled tail at the west end, a head at the east end, and seven winding coils in between. In all, the snake stretches a quarter of a mile and ranges from 1.2 to 1.5 meters (3.9 to 4.9 feet) in height and 6.0 to 7.6 meters (19.7 to 24.9 feet) in width.

Serpent Mound is located on a high plateau overlooking Ohio Brush Creek in Adams County, Ohio, about 73 miles east of Cincinnati. It’s on the site of an ancient meteor impact dating to around 300 million years ago; the crater, measuring 8 to 14 km (5.0 miles to 8.7 miles) in diameter, is known as Serpent Mound crater.

Experts disagree about what the head of the mound represents, with some scholars positing the oval shape signifies an enlarged eye while others believe it’s an object—a hollow egg, for instance—being swallowed by open jaws.

Purpose of Serpent Mound

Serpent Mound may have had a spiritual purpose, given that the many native cultures in North and Central America revered snakes, attributing supernatural powers to the slithering reptiles.

Additionally, graves and burial mounds near the site suggest Serpent Mound’s builders may have constructed the structure for some kind of important burial or mortuary function, such as to guide spirits. But the mound itself doesn’t contain any graves or artifacts.

Serpent Mound may have further had temporal significance—the head of the serpent aligns with the summer solstice sunset while the tail points to the winter solstice sunrise. As such, ancient peoples may have used the structure to mark time or seasons.

The design of the mound also matches the shape of the constellation Draco, with the star Thuban (Alpha Draconis, which served as the north pole star from the 4th to 2nd millennium B.C.) lining up with the first curve in the snake’s torso from the head. This alignment suggests another purpose for Serpent Mound: a kind of compass that helps determine true north.

Great Serpent Mound Excavations

In the late 19th century, Frederic Ward Putnam, an archaeologist at Harvard University, conducted the earliest scientific excavations of Serpent Mound.

Since these first excavation efforts, archaeologists have attributed Serpent Mound to one of two Native American cultures: The Early Woodland Adena culture (500 B.C. to 200 A.D.) and Late Prehistoric Fort Ancient culture (1000 to 1650 A.D.).

Though the terms “Adena” and “Fort Ancient” hadn’t yet been coined when Putnam first placed trenches in Serpent Mound and its nearby earthen mounds in 1887 to 1889, the archaeologist recognized that people of two different time periods occupied the Serpent Mound area. He attributed the effigy to the earlier group (the Adena).

Decades later, other archaeologists also attributed Serpent Mound to the Adena, largely based on circumstantial evidence. That is, Serpent Mound contains no artifacts that can be used for identification, but the nearby conical mounds do.

Putman originally excavated a conical mound located 200 meters (656 feet) southeast of Serpent Mound, unearthing multiple burials and associated artifacts, including pottery and projectile points. In the 1940s, archaeologist James Bennett Griffith analyzed these artifacts and identified them as Adena, and thus attributed the effigy to that culture.

Griffith also found both Adena and Fort Ancient materials in nearby cultural features, but he considered it far less likely that the more recent civilization would have built Serpent Mound, especially since the effigy is similar in style to other Adena earthworks in the Ohio Valley, such as Portsmouth Works (a mound complex in Scioto County, Ohio).

Adena Culture or Fort Ancient?

In the mid-1990s, a research team reopened one of Putnam’s trenches and collected charcoal from three locations above and below what they considered the mound base. Using radio carbon dating, they determined that the samples—and Serpent Mound—date back to about 920 A.D., some 1400 years later than originally thought.

This new data, which is based on the first direct aging of the structure, put the effigy in the Late Prehistoric (Fort Ancient) period.

But in 2014, another research team carbon-dated a number of other charcoal samples, placing the construction of Serpent Mound between 381 B.C. and 44 B.C., with a mean date of 321 B.C.

The new evidence suggests, once again, that the Adena were the original builders of Serpent Mound. The research team believes that the Fort Ancient people likely modified and/or renovated it, pointing to the fact that other nearby monuments also show evidence of repair or modification by prehistoric groups.

Serpent Mound Preservation

In addition to leading the first excavation efforts of Serpent Mound, Putnam also led efforts to restore and preserve the effigy. Specifically, his efforts helped raise funds for Harvard University to purchase the site, which the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History converted into a public park until 1900.

Serpent Mound then became property of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, now known as the Ohio History Connection, which still manages the site. The organization built an observation tower at the site in 1908, and later built the Serpent Mound museum and other visitor facilities.

Serpent Mound (along with multiple other Ohio American Indian earthworks) is being considered for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Herrmann et al. (2014). “A new multistage construction chronology for the Great Serpent Mound, USA.” Journal of Archaeological Science.
Milam, Keith A. (2010). “A revised diameter for the Serpent Mound impact crater in southern Ohio.” The Ohio Journal of Science.
Serpent Mound; Ohio History Connection.
Fort Ancient Culture: Great Serpent Mound; Khan Academy.
Ohio History Central, Serpent Mound; Ohio History Connection.
Serpent Mound; UNESCO, Tentative List.
Serpent Mound Crater, Ohio; United States Meteorite Impact Craters.

About FOSM

The Friends of Serpent Mound and its Board was originally formed to increase public understanding and knowledge of and to improve the quality of operations at the Serpent Mound State Memorial (site). Upon not being established as a subordinate organization under the Ohio Historical Society (OHS) the group has expanded as an independent organization with the purpose to: Protect, preserve, and promote Serpent Mound and other Native American sites, while facilitating education and experiences for visitors. For now FOSM’s focus and the use of “the site” refers to the Great Serpent Mound Park. However, the new purpose allows FOSM to help in supporting other Native American sites, either in the local vicinity or further away. To accomplish this purpose, the group will work to:

  • Further the mission of the site, especially its educational and interpretive activities.
  • Act as a liaison between the site and the local community and other interested individuals and groups.
  • Increase the knowledge of and participation in activities, programs, and projects related to the site for the local community and other interested individuals and groups.
  • Provide input in the planning for programs and development of the site.
  • Conduct and provide volunteer support for site programs, projects, and special events.
  • Advocate the site’s needs to government officials.
  • Develop and implement fundraising and educational programs for the site.

10 Curious Facts About The Serpent Mound!

Serpent Mound positioned in rural Adams County, Ohio, is among the leading Native American mounds within the hemisphere.

A major renovation increased its form in the eighties. However, there appears to be a lot more than fits the eye right here.

Listed below are some of the very most amazing curiosities regarding this distinctive area:

Image source: Pinterest

1) Some say the area isn’t a coincidence when it’s externally of the magnetic crater.

2) The best way to view its form is from up in the air!

3) Among the least common elements in the world, iridium is located in large quantity in the lands of The Serpent Mound. This element’s radioactive attributes are extremely useful for outer space. Top historic astronaut advocates trust that The Serpent Mound was really built like a mining site for extraterrestrials.

4) Serpent Mound is quite ancient, somewhat like Aristotle. Simply last year researchers estimate from the age of the actual earth are actually radically modified. The consequence of a fresh radiocarbon evaluation, recommending that it is around 1.400 years older than traditionally thought.

5) Most are the reviews of orange-like vibrant lights on the Mound. Is UFO observing an essential sight for them?

6) Ross Hamilton’s guide «The Secret of the Serpent Mound: Looking for the Symbols of the Gods» also speculates regarding the complicated mathematical utilized in it’s building and who it corresponds with the Pyramids!

7) Besides iridium, there isn’t a hint of a comet or asteroid. Mike Hansen, an outdated state geologist that operates an earthquake alert program and shows at Ohio State College, said it is obvious that the Serpent Mound region was disrupted by some force. However, Hansen believes the tensions were set off by natural changes in the Earth’s core.

8) We are nonetheless not certain who really the constructors where. In the past, experts initially attributed the actual mound towards the Adena customs. The actual Adena traditions did develop some neighboring the mounds. Therefore, for more than a hundred twenty-five years, numerous scholars believed they came up with the Serpent Mound as well.

9) They built it since the constellation Draco. The star structure from the constellation Draco fits along with fair accuracy to the Serpent Mound. Together with the historical Pole Star, Thuban, at its regional center inside the first of 7 coils through the head. cartography from the nineteen-eighties shows the way the margins from the Serpent line up with excellent accuracy to some large part of Draco.

10) Is this built by giants?! From the year 00′, author, as well as researcher Ross Hamilton having a staff involving eight experts, commenced the actual Tradition associated with Giants Task. They discovered with time many countless accounts recommending that a race of extremely intelligent, actually robust individuals once resided throughout the far eastern woodlands in America. They integrated his studies with academic papers. Ross lately made an appearance in the Historical past Channels.


Archaeological field work on the campground has revealed that the construction and occupation of the Serpent Mounds area occurred about 2000 years ago during the prehistoric Middle Woodland Period. The first prehistoric peoples to occupy the site were classified by archaeologists as the Point Peninsula Complex, based on their artifacts. The people existed in central and southeastern Ontario, southwestern Quebec, and northern parts New York state between 300BC and 700AD. [3]


We understand the servility of this pandemic and even though this event is outside. Our Festival speakers are under a 40吸 tent and therefore, we will ask that under the tents and in large groups that everyone wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Depending on the governor’s recommendations in May, we may again have to cancel, so please check back to learn more. Until then, we will request masks and social distancing.

2019 Morning images of the Festival grounds.


Typically, the history of the Spiro culture is divided into archaeological phases:

  • Evans Phase (900–1050 CE)
  • Harlan Phase (1050–1250 CE)
  • Norman Phase (1250–1350 CE)
  • Spiro phase (1350–1450 CE) [5]

Residential construction at Spiro decreased dramatically around 1250, and the people resettled in nearby villages, such as the Choates-Holt Site to the north. Spiro continued to be used as a ceremonial and mortuary center through 1450. [6] The mound area was abandoned about 1450, but nearby communities persisted until 1600. [4]

The historic cultures following in the wake of Spiro, such as the Caddo, Pawnee, and Wichita peoples, were less complex and hierarchical. [7]

Mississippian culture spread along the lower Mississippi River and its tributaries between the ninth and sixteenth centuries. The largest Mississippian settlement was Cahokia, the capital of a major chiefdom that built a six-mile-square city east of the Mississippi River that now is St. Louis, Missouri, in present-day southern Illinois.

Archeological studies have revealed that Mississippian culture extended from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast, along the Ohio River, and into both the lowland and mountain areas of the Southeast. Mississippian settlements were known for their large earthwork, platform mounds (usually truncated pyramids), surmounted by temples, the houses of warrior kings and priests, and the burial houses of the elite. The mounds were arranged around large, constructed flat plazas believed to be used for ceremonial community gathering and ritual games. Archaeological research has shown that Mississippian settlements such as Cahokia and Spiro took part in a vast trading network that covered the eastern half of what is now the U.S. and parts of what is now the western U.S. as well.

The Spiro site includes twelve earthen mounds and 150 acres of land. [4] As in other Mississippian-culture towns, the people built a number of large, complex earthworks. These included mounds surrounding a large, planned and leveled central plaza, where important religious rituals, the politically and culturally significant game of chunkey, and other important community activities were carried out. The population lived in a village that bordered the plaza. In addition, archaeologists have found more than twenty related village sites within five miles of the main town. Other village sites linked to Spiro through culture and trade have been found up to a 100 miles (160 km) away.

Spiro has been the site of human activity for at least 8,000 years. It was a major Mississippian settlement from 800 to 1450 AD. [4] The cultivation of maize during this period allowed accumulation of crop surpluses and the gathering of more dense populations. The town was the headquarters of a regional chiefdom, whose powerful leaders directed the building of eleven platform mounds and one burial mound in an 80-acre (0.32 km 2 ) area on the south bank of the Arkansas River. The heart of the site is a group of nine mounds surrounding an oval plaza. These mounds were the bases of the homes of important leaders or formed the foundations for religious structures that focused the attention of the community.

Brown Mound, the largest platform mound, is located on the eastern side of the plaza. It had an earthen ramp that gave access to the summit from the northern side. Here, atop Brown Mound and the other mounds, the inhabitants of the town carried out complex rituals, centered especially on the deaths and burials of Spiro's powerful rulers.

Archaeologists have shown that Spiro had a large resident population until about 1250. After that, most of the population moved to other towns nearby. Spiro continued to be used as a regional ceremonial center and burial ground until about 1450. Its ceremonial and mortuary functions continued and seem to have increased after the main population moved away.

The Great Mortuary Edit

Craig Mound – also called "The Spiro Mound" – is the second-largest mound on the site and the only burial mound. It is located approximately 1,500 feet (460 m) southeast of the plaza. A cavity created within the mound, approximately 10 feet (3.0 m) high and 15 feet (4.6 m) wide, allowed for almost perfect preservation of fragile artifacts made of wood, conch shell, and copper. The conditions in this hollow space were so favorable that objects made of perishable materials such as basketry, woven fabric of plant and animal fibers, lace, fur, and feathers were preserved inside it. In historic tribes, such objects have traditionally been created by women. Also found inside were several examples of Mississippian stone statuary made from Missouri flint clay and Mill Creek chert bifaces, all thought to have originally come from the Cahokia site in Illinois.

The "Great Mortuary", as archaeologists called this hollow chamber, appears to have begun as a burial structure for Spiro's rulers. It was created as a circle of sacred cedar posts sunk in the ground and angled together at the top similarly to a tipi. The cone-shaped chamber was covered with layers of earth to create the mound, preventing collapse. Some scholars believe that minerals percolating through the mound hardened the log walls of the chamber, making them resistant to decay and shielding the perishable artifacts inside from direct contact with the earth. No other Mississippian mound has been found with such a hollow space inside it, nor with such spectacular preservation of artifacts. Craig Mound has been called "an American King Tut's Tomb".

Between 1933 and 1935, Craig Mound was excavated by a commercial enterprise that had bought the rights from local landowners to excavate and to keep or sell the artifacts they recovered. Tunneling into the mound and breaking through the Great Mortuary's log wall, they found many human burials, together with their associated grave goods. They discarded the human remains and the fragile artifacts—made of textile, basketry, and even feathers—that were preserved in these extremely unusual conditions. Most of those rare and priceless objects disintegrated before scholars could reach the site, although some were sold to collectors. [8] When the commercial excavators finished, they dynamited the burial chamber and sold the commercially valuable artifacts, made of stone, pottery, copper, and conch shell, to collectors in the United States and overseas. Probably, most of these valuable objects are lost, but some have been returned through donation and have been documented by scholars.

"Resting Warrior", side view, effigy pipe of Missouri flint clay

Effigy pipe of figure smoking from a frog effigy pipe, Missouri flint clay

Effigy pipe of a man smoking a pipe, Missouri flint clay

2 jasper and 1 Mill Creek chert ceremonial bifaces (from southern Illinois)

Ceremonial monolithic flint mace

Engraved whelk shell cup with raptor heads

Funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), archaeologists from the University of Oklahoma excavated parts of the site between 1936 and 1941. The Oklahoma Historical Society established the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center in 1978 that continues to operate. [4] The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is preserved as Oklahoma's only Archeological State Park and only pre-contact Native American site open to the public.

Spiro Mounds people participated in what cultural anthropologists and archaeologists call the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC), a network of ceremonial centers sharing the Mississippian culture and similar spiritual beliefs, cosmology, ritual practices, and cult objects. The complex was a vast trading network that distributed exotic materials from all across North America that were used in the making of ritual objects. These materials included colored flint from New Mexico, copper from the Great Lakes, conch (or lightning whelk) shells from the Gulf Coast, and mica from the Carolinas. [9] Other Mississippian centers also traded in these prized resources, but apparently, Spiro was the only trading center that acquired obsidian from Mexico. [10] Using these valued materials, Mississippian artists created exquisite works of art reflecting their cultural identity and their complex spiritual beliefs.

When commercial excavators dug into Craig Mound in the 1930s, they found many beautifully crafted ritual artifacts, including stone effigy pipes, polished stone maces, finely made flint knives and arrow points, polished chunkey stones, copper effigy axes, Mississippian copper plates (Spiro plates), mica effigy cut outs, elaborately engraved conch shell ornaments, pearl bead necklaces, stone earspools, wood carvings inlaid with shell, and specially made mortuary pottery. The conch shells were fashioned into gorgets and drinking cups engraved with intricate designs representing costumed humans, real and mythical animals, and geometric motifs, all of which had profound symbolic significance. The Spiro Mounds ceremonial objects are among the finest examples of pre-Columbian art in North America.

Later, archaeologists recognized that the ritual artifacts at Spiro were similar to comparable objects excavated at other powerful Mississippian towns that also participated in the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex. These include Cahokia in Illinois, the largest Mississippian town Etowah and Ocmulgee in Georgia and Moundville in Alabama. In economic terms, Spiro seems to have been a gateway town that funneled valuable resources from the Great Plains and other western regions to the main Mississippian ceremonial centers farther east. In return, it received valuable goods from those other centers. Spiro's location on the Arkansas River, one of the principal tributaries of the Mississippi River, gave the Spiro traders access to the Mississippian heartland.

Spiro and other Mississippian towns clearly looked to the great city of Cahokia, in what now is southern Illinois, as a cultural model to be emulated. Located about 400 miles northeast of Spiro near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, Cahokia was the largest and most impressive of all the Mississippian towns. Mineralogical analysis of some of the most beautiful stone effigy pipes found at Spiro, including the famous "Grizzly Man" or "Kneeling Rattler" pipe, have shown they came from Cahokia, based on the material from which they were made. [11] Cahokia also influenced the styles of the artifacts made at Spiro. Archaeologists have identified four distinct styles: the Braden Style characteristic of artifacts brought from Cahokia and the Craig A, B, and C styles that are local derivatives of the Braden Style. [11] [12]

Antonio Waring and Preston Holder first defined the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex in the 1940s, according to a series of distinct cultural traits. [13] Since the late 1980s, archaeologists have adopted a new classification scheme that is based on their greatly improved understanding of Mississippian cultural development. The new scheme divides the SECC into five periods, or horizons, each defined by the appearance of new ritual objects and cultural motifs connected with new developments in politics and long-distance trade. [14] Archaeologists have determined that Spiro was at the peak of its cultural importance in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

Anthropologists have tried in recent years to interpret the meaning of the ritual artifacts and artistic imagery found at Spiro and other Mississippian sites. While reaching firm conclusions about the meanings of works of art made centuries ago by people of an extinct culture is difficult, they have made some compelling interpretations by comparing Mississippian artistic imagery with the myths, religious rituals, art, and iconography of historic Native American groups.

One of the most prominent symbols at Spiro is the "Birdman", a winged human figure representing a warrior or chunkey player. Chunkey was a game played in the Mississippian period, but also in historic times by the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and other tribes throughout the Eastern Woodlands. Based upon these historic records, the game consisted of players rolling a stone disk for a considerable distance and then hurling spears as close as they could to the point where the stone stopped.

Another Spiro icon is the "Great Serpent", a being said to inhabit the Under World, the spiritual domain on the opposite side of the Mississippian universe. The Great Serpent is portrayed in Mississippian art with a serpent's body, but also with wings or horns. Similar beings were the subject of myth in historic times among the Micmac, Huron, Kickapoo, Cherokee, Muscogee Creek, Caddo, and other Native American tribes, appearing in tribes of at least three major language families. The spiritual beings of the Under World were thought to be in constant opposition to those in the Upper World. Humans had to fear these beings, according to Native American mythology, but they could also gain great power from them in certain circumstances. [ citation needed ]

Mississippian art also features the cedar tree or striped-center-pole motifs, which researchers have interpreted as the axis mundi, the point at which the three parts of the Mississippian spiritual universe come together: the Upper World, the Under World, and the Middle World where humans dwell. Often, the cedar tree, or the striped-center-pole, is found on engraved conch shell gorgets, with human or animal figures positioned on either side. The concept of an axis mundi — the point where different cosmic domains converge — is found in many cultures around the world. It is frequently represented as a tree (including the Tree of Life), since trees pass through the surface of the earth and connect the subsurface and the sky. The fact that the Great Mortuary at Spiro was built with cedar (or cedar elm) posts suggests that the burial chamber was meant to be a point of departure from one spiritual domain to another, as cedar was a sacred wood. [ citation needed ]

Archaeologists found that one of the conch shell cups from Craig Mound had a black residue in the bottom. This suggests that the Spiro people may have practiced a version of the Black Drink Ceremony, a purification ritual that was also performed in historic times by their descendants - the southeastern tribes. Participants drank a tea made from the Yaupon Holly from conch shell cups. [15]

Most authorities agree that the people of Spiro were Caddoan speaking, but their descendants in historic times are difficult to identify. Anthropologists speculate that the Caddo Confederacy, Wichita, Kichai, or non-Caddoan Tunica, could be their descendants. However, the cultures of all these peoples, when encountered by the Spanish and French in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, were substantially different from that of Spiro. [16]

Under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Wichita, Keechi, Waco and Tawakonie) are recognized by the U.S. Federal government, cultural anthropologists, and archaeologists as the cultural descendants of the builders of Spiro Mounds. [17]

When the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto led an expedition into what is now the southeastern United States in the 1540s, he encountered Native American groups including the Tula people, who lived near the Arkansas River. The de Soto Expedition also encountered numerous Caddo villages. Composed of many tribes, the Caddo were organized into three confederacies, the Hasinai, Kadohadacho, and Natchitoches, which were all linked by similar languages.

At the time of de Soto's visit, the Caddoan peoples occupied a large territory. It included what now is eastern Oklahoma, western Arkansas, northeastern Texas, and northwestern Louisiana. Anthropologists have thought that the Caddo and related peoples had been living in the region for centuries and that they had their own local variant of Mississippian culture.

Recent excavations have revealed more cultural diversity than scholars had expected within that region. The sites along the Arkansas River, in particular, seem to have their own distinctive characteristics. Scholars still classify the Mississippian sites found in the entire Caddo area, including Spiro Mounds, as "Caddoan Mississippian". [18]

The Caddoan Mississippian region contained many towns in addition to Spiro, including the Battle Mound Site. Scholars have determined that Battle Mound, lying along the Great Bend of the Red River in southwest Arkansas, was a larger site than Spiro. Little excavation has been conducted there to date. The Caddoan Mississippian towns had a more irregular layout of earthen mounds and associated villages than did towns in the Middle Mississippian heartland to the east. They also lacked the wooden palisade fortifications often found in the major Middle Mississippian towns. Living on the western edge of the Mississippian world, the Caddoan may have faced fewer military threats from their neighbors. Also, their societies may have had a somewhat lower level of social stratification.

The Spiro people probably were speakers of one of the many Caddoan languages. [19] The Caddoan languages once had a broad geographic distribution, but many are now extinct. The modern languages in the Caddoan family include Caddo, Wichita, Kitsai, Pawnee, and Arikara languages. [20] Wichita and Kitsai are both extinct.

The Spiro Mounds are located within the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center complex in Fort Coffee, Oklahoma. [21] [22] The center features various exhibits and trails, and it offers tours, [21] including a virtual tour. [23]

Description of Serpent Mound

The head of the serpent rests on a rocky platform, which presents a precipitous face to the west, towards Brush Creek which is about 100' below the steep cliff that surrounds 3 sides of the precipice where the mound was constructed. The jaws of the serpent's mouth are widely extended as if it was in the act of trying to swallow an egg. When the first surveyors arrived at the site, there was a small pile of stones at the center of the oval which had been burned. The egg is represented by an oval enclosure about 100' long. There were also observed to elevated triangular shaped platforms on either side of what is called the serpent's mouth, but these have mostly disappeared since being recorded in the mid 1800s. This enclosure, as well as the body of the serpent, consists of a ridge of fine earth as determined by excavations and is about 4' high and from 10' - 15' wide.

It has also been suggested that the large oval at the head of the snake is not an egg, but represents the eye of the serpent as viewed from the side. Whether it is an eye or an egg will never be known for certain. An early minister who saw the serpent declared that this area must be the Garden of Eden and the snake represented the serpent tempting Eve with an apple in its mouth from the Tree of Life.

The body of the serpent winds gracefully back towards higher land, making 4 large folds before reaching the tail. The tail tapers gracefully, and is twisted up into 3 complete coils. The whole length of the mound from the end of the egg on the precipice to the last coil of the tail on the higher land is upwards of 1300' or a quarter of a mile.

Description of the earthwork as that of a serpent is controversial. Squier and Davis were among the first to survey the mound in 1848. According to the first surveyors of the area, the shape looked like a serpent with it's mouth open, about to devour an egg and this description gave way to its name we use today. Others have said that it represented the myth of the horned serpent common to many Indian cultures. Ancestors of Indians who lived around Lake Superior said that in their lore, they had removed copper from the horns of the serpent. Could the iconic earthwork represent a map that depicted a water-route back to some large body of water? No one can know for certain.

The Serpent mound is the largest effigy mound in the world. While there are several burial mounds around the Serpent mound site, the so called Serpent itself does not contain any human remains and doesn't appear to have been constructed for burial purposes. What the earthen structure was built for remains a mystery and it is only contemporary interpretations that explain the earthen structure to be a representation of a serpent. My personal feelings is that it represents the Mississippi River that goes from its headwaters south to where the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico all of which may be a symbolic representation used to explain to future generations where they originated. That seems more plausible than it is a giant snake trying to swallow an egg. Besides, Ohio was awash with rattlesnakes when the first settlers came.


Development (9th and 10th centuries) Edit

Although some evidence exists of occupation during the Late Archaic period (around 1200 BCE) in and around the site, [11] Cahokia as it is now defined was settled around 600 CE during the Late Woodland period. Mound building at this location began with the emergent Mississippian cultural period, about the 9th century CE. [12] The inhabitants left no written records beyond symbols on pottery, shell, copper, wood, and stone, but the elaborately planned community, woodhenge, mounds, and burials reveal a complex and sophisticated society. [13]

The city's complex construction of earthen mounds required excavation, movement by hand using woven baskets, and construction involving 55 million cubic feet of earth, much of which was accomplished over a matter of just decades. Its highly planned ceremonial plazas sited around the mounds with homes for thousands connected by laid out pathways and courtyards suggest the location served as a central religious pilgrimage city. [14]

The city's original name is unknown. The mounds were later named after the Cahokia tribe, a historic Illiniwek people living in the area when the first French explorers arrived in the 17th century. [15] As this was centuries after Cahokia was abandoned by its original inhabitants, the Cahokia tribe was not necessarily descended from the earlier Mississippian-era people. Most likely, multiple indigenous ethnic groups settled in the Cahokia Mounds area during the time of the city's apex. [16] [17]

Historian Daniel Richter notes that the apex of the city occurred during the Medieval Warming Period. This period appears to have fostered an agricultural revolution in upper North America, as the three-fold crops of maize, beans (legumes), and gourds (squash) were developed and adapted or bred to the temperate climates of the north from their origins in Mesoamerica. Richter also notes that Cahokia's advanced development coincided with the development in the Southwest of the Chaco Canyon society, which also produced large-scale works in an apparent socially stratified society. The decline of the city coincides with the Little Ice Age, although by then, the three-fold agriculture remained well-established throughout temperate North America. [18]

Rise and peak (11th and 12th centuries) Edit

Cahokia became the most important center for the people known today as Mississippians. Their settlements ranged across what is now the Midwest, Eastern, and Southeastern United States. Cahokia was located in a strategic position near the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers. It maintained trade links with communities as far away as the Great Lakes to the north and the Gulf Coast to the south, trading in such exotic items as copper, Mill Creek chert, [19] and whelk shells.

Mill Creek chert, most notably, was used in the production of hoes, a high demand tool for farmers around Cahokia and other Mississippian centers. Cahokia's control of the manufacture and distribution of these hand tools was an important economic activity that allowed the city to thrive. [20] Mississippian culture pottery and stone tools in the Cahokian style were found at the Silvernale site [21] near Red Wing, Minnesota, and materials and trade goods from Pennsylvania, the Gulf Coast and Lake Superior have been excavated at Cahokia. Bartering, not money, was used in trade. [22]

At the high point of its development, Cahokia was the largest urban center north of the great Mesoamerican cities in Mexico and Central America. Although it was home to only about 1,000 people before circa 1050, its population grew rapidly after that date. According to a 2007 study in Quaternary Science Reviews, "Between AD 1050 and 1100, Cahokia's population increased from between 1,400 and 2,800 people to between 10,200 and 15,300 people". [23] an estimate that applies only to a 1.8-square-kilometre (0.69 sq mi) high density central occupation area. [24] Archaeologists estimate the city's population at between 6,000 and 40,000 at its peak, [25] with more people living in outlying farming villages that supplied the main urban center. In the early 21st century, new residential areas were found to the west of Cahokia as a result of archeological excavations, increasing estimates of area population. [26] If the highest population estimates are correct, Cahokia was larger than any subsequent city in the United States until the 1780s, when Philadelphia's population grew beyond 40,000. [27] Moreover, according to some population estimates, the population of 13th-century Cahokia was equal to or larger than the population of 13th-century London. [28]

One of the major problems that large centers like Cahokia faced was keeping a steady supply of food. A related problem was waste disposal for the dense population, and Cahokia became unhealthy from polluted waterways. Because it was such an unhealthy place to live, Snow believes that the town had to rely on social and political attractions to bring in a steady supply of new immigrants otherwise, the town's death rate would have caused it to be abandoned earlier. [20]

Decline (13th and 14th centuries) Edit

The population of Cahokia began to decline during the 13th century, and the site was eventually abandoned by around 1350. [29] [30] Scholars have proposed environmental factors, such as environmental degradation through overhunting, deforestation [31] and pollution, [32] and climatic changes, such as increased flooding [33] and droughts, [34] [35] as explanations for abandonment of the site. However, more recent research suggests that there is no evidence of human-caused erosion or flooding at Cahokia. [36] [37]

[29] Political and economic problems may also have been responsible for the site's decline. [38] It is likely that social and environmental factors combined to produce the conditions that led people to decide to leave Cahokia. [39] [35]

Another possible cause is invasion by outside peoples, though the only evidence of warfare found are the defensive wooden stockade and watchtowers that enclosed Cahokia's main ceremonial precinct. There is no other evidence for warfare, so the palisade may have been more for ritual or formal separation than for military purposes. Diseases transmitted among the large, dense urban population are another possible cause of decline. Many theories since the late 20th century propose conquest-induced political collapse as the primary reason for Cahokia's abandonment. [40]

Together with these factors, researchers found evidence in 2015 of major floods at Cahokia, so severe as to flood dwelling places. Analysis of sediment from beneath Horseshoe Lake has revealed that two major floods occurred in the period of settlement at Cahokia, in roughly 1100–1260 and 1340–1460. [41] [42]

The original site contained 120 earthen mounds over an area of 6 square miles (16 km 2 ), of which 80 remain today. To achieve that, thousands of workers over decades moved more than an estimated 55 million cubic feet [1,600,000 m 3 ] of earth in woven baskets to create this network of mounds and community plazas. Monks Mound, for example, covers 14 acres (5.7 ha), rises 100 ft (30 m), and was topped by a massive 5,000 sq ft (460 m 2 ) building another 50 ft (15 m) high. [5]

Monks Mound Edit

Monks Mound is the largest structure and central focus of the city: a massive platform mound with four terraces, 10 stories tall, it is the largest man-made earthen mound north of Mexico. Facing south, it is 100 ft (30 m) high, 951 ft (290 m) long, 836 ft (255 m) wide and covers 13.8 acres (5.6 ha). [43] It contains about 814,000 cu yd (622,000 m 3 ) of earth. [20] The mound was built higher and wider over the course of several centuries, through as many as 10 separate construction episodes, as the mound was built taller and the terraces and apron were added. [43]

Monks Mounds was named for the community of Trappist monks who resided there for a short time, after Euroamericans settled in the area. Excavation on the top of Monks Mound has revealed evidence of a large building, likely a temple or the residence of the paramount chief, which would have been seen throughout the city. This building was about 105 ft (32 m) long and 48 feet (15 m) wide, and could have been as much as 50 ft (15 m) high. It was about 5,000 sq ft (460 m 2 ).

The east and northwest sides of Monks Mound were twice excavated in August 2007 during an attempt to avoid erosion due to slumping. These areas were repaired to preserve the mound. [44]

Urban landscape Edit

Early in its history, Cahokia underwent a massive construction boom. Along with the early phase of Monks Mound, an overarching urban layout was established at the site. It was built with a symbolic quadripartite worldview and oriented toward the four cardinal directions with the main east-west and north-south axes defined with Monks Mound near its center point. Four large plazas were established to the east, west, north, and south of Monks Mound. [45] [46]

To the south of Monks Mound is the Grand Plaza, a large area that covered roughly 50 acres (20 ha) and measured over 1,600 ft (490 m) in length by over 900 ft (270 m) in width. Researchers originally thought the flat, open terrain in this area reflected Cahokia's location on the Mississippi's alluvial flood plain, but instead soil studies have shown that the landscape was originally undulating ridge and swale topography. In one of the earliest large-scale construction projects, the site had been expertly and deliberately leveled and filled by the city's inhabitants. It is part of the sophisticated engineering displayed throughout the site. [47] It was used for large ceremonies and gatherings, as well as for ritual games, such as chunkey. The game was played by rolling a disc-shaped chunky stone across the field. The men would throw spears where they thought the chunky stone would land. The game required a great deal of judgment and aim. [20]

The major ceremonial north-south 'axis' connects the main precinct with the large ridgetop mortuary mound to its south now known as the Rattlesnake Mound (Mound 66 [48] ). The feature, named the Rattlesnake Causeway by archaeologists, was an elevated embankment about 18 metres (59 ft) wide, roughly 800 metres (2,600 ft) in length and varies in height from 0.5 metres (1.6 ft) to almost 1.3 metres (4.3 ft) as it traverses a low swampy area to the south of the Grand Plaza. [49] It is aligned 5° east of north, a direction thought to mimic the maximum southern moon rise of 5° west of north, albeit in reverse. This is thought to have had symbolic associations to the builders in connection with their lunar maize goddess of the underworld. [50] This is further strengthened by its close proximity to the ridgetop mortuary Mound 72, the underworld connotations of the low water-filled area the causeway traversed, and its terminus at the mortuary complex at the Rattlesnake Mound. The causeway itself may have been seen as a symbolic "Path of Souls". [49]

The high-status central district of Cahokia was surrounded by a 2-mi-long palisade that was equipped with protective bastions. A later addition to the site, when the palisade was constructed, it cut through and separated some pre-existing neighborhoods. [20] Archaeologists found evidence of the stockade during excavation of the area and indications that it was rebuilt several times. Its bastions showed that it was mainly built for defensive purposes. [20]

Beyond Monks Mound, as many as 120 more mounds stood at varying distances from the city center. To date, 109 mounds have been located, 68 of which are in the park area. The mounds are divided into three different types: platform, conical, and ridge-top. Each appeared to have had its own meaning and function. In general terms, the city center seems to have been laid out in a diamond-shaped pattern about 1 mi (1.6 km) from end to end, while the entire city is 5 mi (8.0 km) across from east to west.

Mound 72 Edit

During excavation of Mound 72, a ridge-top burial mound south of main urban precinct, archaeologists found the remains of a man in his 40s who was probably an important Cahokian ruler. The man was buried on a bed of more than 20,000 marine-shell disc beads arranged in the shape of a falcon, [51] with the bird's head appearing beneath and beside the man's head, and its wings and tail beneath his arms and legs.

The falcon warrior or "birdman" is a common motif in Mississippian culture. This burial clearly had powerful iconographic significance. In addition, a cache of sophisticated, finely worked arrowheads in a variety of different styles and materials was found near the grave of this important man. Separated into four types, each from a different geographical region, the arrowheads demonstrated Cahokia's extensive trade links in North America.

Archeologists recovered more than 250 other skeletons from Mound 72. Scholars believe almost 62% of these were sacrificial victims, based on signs of ritual execution, method of burial, and other factors. [52] The skeletons include:

  • Four young males, missing their hands and skulls
  • A mass grave of more than 50 women around 21 years old, with the bodies arranged in two layers separated by matting
  • A mass burial containing 40 men and women who appear to have been violently killed, some of these may have been buried alive: "From the vertical position of some of the fingers, which appear to have been digging in the sand, it is apparent that not all of the victims were dead when they were interred – that some had been trying to pull themselves out of the mass of bodies." [53]

The relationship of these burials to the central burial is unclear. They were unlikely to have all deposited at the same time. Wood in several parts of the mound has been radiocarbon-dated to between 950 and 1000 CE.

Excavations have indicated that Mound 72 was not constructed as a single mound, but rather as a series of smaller mounds. These mounds were reshaped and covered over to give Mound 72 its final ridge-top shape. [54]

Copper workshop Edit

Excavations near Mound 34 from 2002 to 2010 revealed a copper workshop. This unique find was originally discovered in the 1950s by archaeologist Gregory Perino, but its exact location was lost for 60 years. It is the only known copper workshop to be found at a Mississippian culture site. [55] The area contains the remains of three tree stumps thought to have been used to hold anvil stones. Analysis of copper found during excavations showed that it had been annealed, a technique involving repeatedly heating and cooling the metal as it is worked, as blacksmiths do with iron. [55]

Artisans produced religious items, such as long-nosed god maskettes, ceremonial earrings with a symbolic shape, thought to have been used in fictive kinship rituals. [56] [57] Many of the stylistically related Mississippian copper plates, such as the Wulfing cache from southeastern Missouri, some of the Etowah plates from Georgia, and many of the Spiro plates from Oklahoma, are associated with the Greater Braden style and are thought to have been made in Cahokia in the 13th century. [58] [59] [60] [61]

Cahokia Woodhenge Edit

The Cahokia Woodhenge was a series of large timber circles located roughly 850 m (2,790 ft) to the west of Monks Mound. They are thought to have been constructed between 900 and 1100 CE, with each one being larger and having 12 more posts than its predecessor. [62] The site was discovered during salvage archaeology undertaken by Dr. Warren Wittry in the early 1960s interstate highway construction boom. Although the majority of the site contained village house features, a number of unusually shaped, large post holes were also discovered. When the holes were plotted out, they formed several arcs of equally spaced holes. [63] Detailed analytical work supported the hypothesis that the placement of these posts was by design, [64] and Wittry hypothesized that the arcs could be whole circles. He began referring to the circles as "woodhenges", comparing the structures to England's well-known circles at Woodhenge and Stonehenge. [65] [66]

Additional excavations in the 1960s–1980s used predictions based on verified posthole locations and spacing to locate other postholes and confirm the existence of five separate timber circles in the general vicinity. The circles are now designated Woodhenges I through V in Roman numerals. [63] In 1985, a reconstruction of Woodhenge III was built with the posts being placed into the original excavated post positions. [63] The circle, which has 48 posts in the circle and a 49th central post, has been used to investigate archaeoastronomy at Cahokia. [67] The Illinois Historic Preservation Division that oversees the Cahokia site hosts public sunrise observations at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and the winter and summer solstices. Out of respect for Native American beliefs, these events do not feature ceremonies or rituals of any kind. [68] [69] [70]

Until the 19th century, a series of similar mounds was documented as existing in what is now the city of St. Louis, some 20 mi (32 km) to the southwest of Cahokia. Most of these mounds were leveled during the development of St. Louis, and much of their material was reused in construction projects.

The lone survivor of these mounds is Sugarloaf Mound. Located on the west bank of the Mississippi, it marked the initial border between St. Louis and the once autonomous city of Carondelet.

One of the largest Mississippian sites is Kincaid Mounds State Historic Site, located in Massac and Polk counties in southern Illinois. It is 140 mi (230 km) southeast of Cahokia, located in the floodplain of the Ohio River. With a total of 19 mounds at the complex, it is considered the fifth-largest Mississippian site in terms of the number of monuments. It is believed to have been a chiefdom, as an elite burial mound was among those found. The site is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

The Cahokia Museum and Interpretive Center, which receives up to a million visitors a year, was designed by AAIC Inc. The building, which opened in 1989, received the Thomas H. Madigan Award, the St. Louis Construction News & Reviews Readers Choice Award, the Merit Award from the Metal Construction Association, and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Brick Manufacturer Association.

Cahokia Mounds was first protected by the state of Illinois in 1923 when its legislature authorized purchase of a state park. Later designation as a state historic site offered additional protection, but the site came under significant threat from the federal highway building program in the 1950s. The highway program reduced the site's integrity however, it increased funding for emergency archeological investigations. These investigations became intensive, and today continue. They have resulted in the present understanding of the national and international significance of the site. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark on July 19, 1964, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. [1]

In 1982, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) designated the site a World Heritage Site. This is the only such self-contained site in Illinois and among 24 World Heritage Sites in the United States in 2009. [71]

State Senator Evelyn M. Bowles wrote about the Cahokia Mounds site:

"Through the years my friends and I made occasional Sunday afternoon trips to the Mounds. When I became the State Senator, it afforded me the opportunity to secure funds for the acquisition of additional acreage in which there are smaller Mounds. Many of these have contained additional artifacts." The designation has helped protect the property and attract funds to conduct research on this significant civilization. [72]

A Mississippian-era priest, in the 13th century, Cahokia metropolis, holding a ceremonial flint mace and severed sacrificial head

Tamarois et Caouquias on a French map of Illinois in 1718, south of the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers (approximate modern state area highlighted) from Carte de la Louisiane et du Cours du Mississipi by Guillaume de L'Isle

The Rattlesnake Causeway leading from Monks Mound to Mound 66 is the city's ceremonial north-south axis.

The "Chunkey Player" statuette, made of Missouri flint clay, depicts the ancient Native American game of chunkey. The statuette is believed to have been originally crafted at or near Cahokia Mounds it was excavated at a Mississippian site in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, revealing the reach of the trade network of this culture.

Ohio’s Serpent Mound, an archaeological mystery, still the focus of scientific debate

PEEBLES, Ohio – On a lush hilltop deep in Southern Ohio, a giant snake slithers through the grass, its intentions a mystery.

Despite more than a century of study, we still don’t know who built the Great Serpent Mound, or why.

That’s part of what makes a visit here so fascinating, and also a little bit frustrating. There are still questions that can’t be answered through a Google search or more than a century of research.

Courtesy Ohio History Connection

* At 1,348 feet long, the serpent is the largest effigy mound in the world -- that is, an earthen creation in the shape of an animal or other symbol.

* Its construction is sophisticated, built in layers, with its head directly aligned with the setting sun on the summer solstice.

* It was built at least 1,000 years ago – and quite possibly much, much earlier.

Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer

The Serpent Mound is not a burial mound, though there are burial mounds nearby, from two different native populations, the Adena, who lived in Ohio from roughly 800 B.C. to A.D. 100, and the Fort Ancient, who lived here a thousand years later, from 1000 to 1650.

Debate continues among archaeologists about which of those two cultures constructed the snake, and for what purpose.

“It’s one of those big questions in archaeology that we hope to answer one day,” said Jarrod Burks, the director of archaeological geophysics at Ohio Valley Archaeology, based in Columbus.

He added: “It’s become quite heated, with a lot of back and forth.”

Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer

The Serpent Mound is one of three sites in Ohio, among 20 nationwide, currently under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage status. The other two are Dayton Aviation Sites, a collection of Wright brothers-related properties in Montgomery County, and Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, spread across three counties in southern Ohio.

The Serpent Mound is unrelated to the Hopewell sites, built either well before or long after the Hopewell culture existed in Ohio.

Some of the earliest known research on the Serpent Mound was conducted in the 1880s by Massachusetts archaeologist Frederic Ward Putnam, with Harvard University’s Peabody Museum.

At the time, the privately owned mound was at risk of being damaged or destroyed by farming, said park manager Tim Goodwin. With fields of corn within 10 feet, he said, “It looked like it was going to be plowed under.”

In the 1890s, a group of women from Boston raised money so that Harvard could buy the land. Later, the university donated the property to the Ohio State Archeological and Historical Society, now the Ohio History Connection, which contracts with Arc of Appalachia to manage the site.

It’s been open to the public since the early 1900s, one of the earliest archaeological parks in the United States.

A view from the tower. (Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer)

A 35-foot-tall metal tower gives visitors a perch from which to view the entire serpent, from its wide-open mouth to its coiling tail. Even atop the tower, it’s hard to appreciate the serpent’s grand scale, a marvel of earthen architecture.

Serpent Mound Museum. (Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer)

A small museum provides some historical background on the mound, and the people who may have built it. A half-mile walkway around the snake traces its curves and hills, which range from 3 feet to 4 ½ feet high.

Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer

Walking atop the mound is prohibited, though officials routinely shoo visitors off the grass. Over the years, the serpent has been the target of treasure hunters and vandals, including visitors seeking spiritual and healing experiences.

Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer

The serpent is built at the edge of a 4-mile-wide meteor crater – the only one in Ohio – which some believe give the mound special powers. Goodwin says it’s not unusual to hear visitors playing the flute or drums near the mound, or smell burning sage.

In 2013, the serpent was featured on the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” show, which posits that the serpent was built by extraterrestrial visitors, who mined the area for iridium.

Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer

The alien theory notwithstanding, Goodwin said there is strong evidence that both the Adena and Fort Ancient cultures inhabited the land immediately surrounding the Serpent Mound. That evidence includes three burial mounds – two Adena and one Fort Ancient – and a Fort Ancient village.

Neither culture used written communication, which makes the search for answers even more challenging.

It’s possible that the Adena built it and the Fort Ancient people fortified or rebuilt it, said Goodwin, who remains unconvinced that science will ever fully solve the mystery of the Serpent Mound. “We can make great guesses,” he said. “But we’ll never know for sure.”

Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer

Indeed, in dueling academic works published this year, two teams of archaeologists continue to debate the origins of the serpent. On one side: a group that thinks the Fort Ancient culture built the mound in about A.D. 1070. And on the other: a group, including Burks, that believes it was constructed much earlier, by the Adena, in about 320 B.C.

Burks’ group has conducted the most recent research, as recently as 2014, using radiocarbon dating, a technique that can determine the age of organic matter, including wood charcoal, in soil. Those tests suggest the snake was built more than 2,000 years ago.

He believes that continued advances in science will provide a definitive answer. “It will take more work,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons these sites get preserved.”


F.W. Putnam, “The Serpent Mound of Ohio”, The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine , Vol. 39.

Jeffrey Wilson, forthcoming.

William F. Romain, “New Radiocarbon Dates Suggest Serpent Mound is More Than 2,000 Years Old”, The Ancient Earthworks Project, 2014,

Bradley T. Lepper, “On the Age of Serpent Mound: A Reply to Romain and Colleagues”, Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology Vol. 43 (1), 2018, pp. 62-75.

William S. Webb, The Wright Mounds, sites 6 and 7, Montgomery County, Kentucky , University of Kentucky Press, 1940.

Robert F. Maslowski, Charles M. Niquette, and Derek M. Wingfield, “The Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia Radiocarbon Database”, West Virginia Archeologist , Vol. 47:1-2.

Sara L Sanders, “The Stone Serpent Mound of Boyd County, Kentucky: An Investigation of a Stone Effigy”, Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, 16 (2).

Darlene Applegate, “Chapter 5: Woodland Period”, in The Archaeology of Kentucky: An Update , ed. David Pollack, State Historic Preservation Comprehensive Plan Report No. 3, Kentucky Heritage Council, Frankfort, 2008, pp. 339-604.

Don W. Dragoo, Mounds for the Dead: An Analysis of the Adena Culture, Annals of the Carnegie Museum, Vol. 37, 1963.

Gary R. Wilkins, “A Rock Serpent Mound in Logan County, West Virginia”, Tennessee Anthropological Association Newsletter, Vol. 6 (4), 1981, pp. 1-4.

Jay F. Custer, “New Perspectives on the Delmarva Adena Complex”, Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology , 12 (1), 1987, pp. 35-53.

T. Latimer Ford, Jr., “Adena Sites on Chesapeake Bay”, Archaeology of Eastern North America, Vol. 4, 1976, pp. 63-89.

Herbert C. Kraft, “The Rosenkrans Site, An Adena-Related Mortuary Complex in the Upper Delaware Valley, New Jersey”, Archaeology of Eastern North America , Vol. 4, 1976, pp. 9-50.

Michael J. Heckenberger, James B. Petersen, Ellen R. Cowie, Arthur E. Spiess, Louise A. Basa and Robert E. Stuckenrath, “Early Woodland Period Mortuary Ceremonialism in the Far Northeast: a View from the Boucher Cemetery”, Archaeology of Eastern North America 18, 1990, pp. 109-144.

Watch the video: Nerve-wrecking scene from The Serpent