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14 Incredible Indigenous Sites & Events Around Ohio You Need To Experience

Ohio, with its rich prehistoric past, is home to numerous indigenous sites and events that offer a glimpse into the lives of the Native American societies who once thrived in the region.

These sites, ranging from ancient earthworks to historic villages, not only serve as a testament to the ingenuity and spirituality of these early inhabitants but also remind us of the importance of preserving such heritage.

1. Serpent Mound

ohio serpent mound
via Facebook

Located in Adams County, Serpent Mound is one of the most recognizable and important prehistoric effigy mounds in the United States. Believed to have been constructed by the Adena Culture around 1000 BCE to 300 CE, this 1,348-foot-long and 3-foot-high earthwork resembles a serpent with an undulating body and an oval-shaped head. Serpent Mound is thought to represent astronomical significance, possibly aligning with the solstices and equinoxes.
Address: 3850 OH-73, Peebles, OH 45660
More info: Serpent Mound

2. Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve

fort ancient winter solstice
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Fort Ancient features a massive earthwork complex constructed by the Hopewell culture between 100 BCE and 500 CE. Located near Lebanon, the site includes 18,000 feet of earthen walls and over 100 mounds used for ceremonial purposes. The site, positioned on a plateau overlooking the Little Miami River, was likely a gathering place for social, political, and religious events.
Address: 6123 OH-350, Oregonia, OH 45054
More info: Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve

3. The Newark Earthworks

newark earthworks
A small part of the Newark Earthworks via Wikimedia Commons

This National Historic Landmark in Newark is one of the most impressive geometric earthwork complexes in the world. Built by the Hopewell culture between 100 CE and 500 CE, the Newark Earthworks include the Great Circle Earthwork, the Octagon Earthwork, and the Wright Earthwork. These structures are thought to have served both ceremonial and astronomical functions.
Address: 55 Hebron Rd, Heath, OH 43056
More info: Newark Earthworks

4. The Great Circle Earthworks

newark earthworks
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Part of the Newark Earthworks, the Great Circle Earthworks, was likely used as a vast ceremonial center by the Hopewell culture. The site features a circular enclosure that is 1,200 feet in diameter, surrounded by an 8-foot-high earthen wall. Within the enclosure lies a large mound, believed to have been used in Hopewell rituals.
Address: 55 Hebron Rd, Heath, OH 43056
More info: Newark Earthworks

5. Mound City Group

mound city hopewell earthworks
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The Mound City Group is a collection of 23 ceremonial mounds built by the Hopewell culture, located in Ross County. This site, part of the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, was a ceremonial center used for burial and rituals. The mounds vary in size and shape, with intricate burial practices and exotic grave goods indicating a complex social hierarchy.
Address: 16062 OH-104, Chillicothe, OH 45601
More info: Mound City Group

6. Seip Earthworks

seip earthworks hopewell
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This large earthwork complex, also part of the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, features a great circle, a square enclosure, and several mounds, including the impressive Seip Mound. The Seip Earthworks in Ross County highlight the Hopewell’s extensive trade network and their sophisticated understanding of geometry and astronomy.
Address: 7078 US-50 Scenic, Bainbridge, OH 45612
More info: Seip Earthworks

7. Hopewell Mound Group

hopewell mound group
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As the namesake for the Hopewell culture, the Hopewell Mound Group includes over 30 mounds within a rectangular earthwork enclosure. Located in Ross County, this site was a major ceremonial center, with the mounds containing elaborate burials filled with exquisite artifacts, suggesting the site’s significance in the Hopewell ceremonial and social system.
Address: 4731 Sulphur Lick Road, Chillicothe, OH 45601
More info: Hopewell Mound Group

8. SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park

sunwatch indian village from above
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SunWatch Indian Village in Dayton is a reconstructed Fort Ancient period village that provides insights into the daily lives of the Indigenous peoples who lived in the Ohio Valley between the 13th and 16th centuries. The site features a museum and a partially reconstructed village centered around a plaza with a reconstructed astronomical alignment.
Address: 2301 W River Rd, Dayton, OH 45417
More info: SunWatch Indian Village

9. Inscription Rock

inscription rock petroglyphs
Located on Kelleys Island in Lake Erie, Inscription Rock features petroglyphs carved by Native Americans over 300 years ago. The rock surface displays images of animals, birds, and human figures, offering a rare insight into the region’s indigenous art and communication practices before European contact.
Address: E Lakeshore Dr, Kelleys Island, OH 43438
More info: Inscription Rock

10. Fort Hill Earthworks

fort hill
Fort Hill State Memorial

Fort Hill, in Highland County, is not only a natural preserve but also a site of historical significance due to its ancient earthwork constructed by the Hopewell culture. The hilltop enclosure features a 1.5-mile-long earthen wall and was likely used for ceremonial purposes and as a fortress.
Address: 13614 Fort Hill Rd, Hillsboro, OH 45133
More info: Fort Hill Earthworks

11. The Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO)

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Located in Columbus, NAICCO serves as a cultural and community hub for Native Americans in Central Ohio. The center organizes cultural events, powwows, and educational programs aimed at preserving Native American heritage and promoting understanding among the wider community. NAICCO’s events provide opportunities to experience modern Native American culture through dance, music, art, and food.
Address: 67 E Innis Ave, Columbus, OH 43207
More info: NAICCO

12. The Ohio History Center’s ‘Indigenous Wonders of our World’

The Ohio History Center in Columbus features exhibits that include artifacts, stories, and histories of Ohio’s Native American tribes, from prehistoric times to the present. The center’s commitment to telling the indigenous peoples’ stories offers visitors insights into the challenges and contributions of Native Americans in Ohio’s history.
Address: 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211
More info: Ohio History

13. Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site

fallen timbers monument
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While primarily known for its historical significance in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, which led to the Treaty of Greenville and the ceding of much of Ohio to the United States, this site also includes Fort Miamis. The battlefield and fort are significant for understanding post-colonial Native American history and the resistance led by leaders such as Blue Jacket of the Shawnee and Tecumseh. The site hosts educational programs that delve into this period of Native American history.
Address: 4949 N Jerome Rd, Maumee, OH 43537
More info: Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site

14. Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama

tecumseh outdoor drama
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Though not a site in the traditional sense, the Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama, performed annually in Chillicothe, brings the story of the legendary Shawnee leader to life. The drama portrays the struggle of Tecumseh to defend his homeland in the Ohio country during the late 18th century. This theatrical experience offers a modern interpretation of Native American history, blending historical facts with storytelling and performance.
Address: 5968 Marietta Road, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
More info: Tecumseh

These sites and events reflect the enduring presence and evolving story of Native American peoples in Ohio. From ancient earthworks that reach back through millennia to contemporary cultural celebrations and educational initiatives, they offer a bridge between the past and present, inviting all to explore and appreciate the rich heritage of Native American communities in Ohio.