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The Stunning Serpent Mound Is Ancient Ohio’s Greatest Achievement

Serpent Mound is the largest documented surviving example of a prehistoric effigy mound in the world, and it’s right here in Ohio.

This awe-inspiring archaeological site is steeped in mystery and allure. Get ready to embark on a captivating journey through time as we explore the history, delve into the lives of the indigenous people who crafted it, and unveil the enduring enigma of this ancient monument.

The Enigma of Serpent Mound

Nestled gracefully in Adams County, Ohio, Serpent Mound stands tall as a remarkable effigy mound shaped like a serpent. With its sinuous curves and exquisite precision, this colossal earthwork stretches over 1,300 feet, earning the prestigious title of the world’s largest effigy mound. For over a millennium, this magnificent creation has mystified and inspired all who have gazed upon it, making it one of North America’s most captivating archaeological wonders.

Photo by Stephanie A. Terry, Wikimedia Commons.

Discovering the Past

The origins of Serpent Mound have intrigued experts and enthusiasts alike. As no written records from its time exist, unraveling its purpose and creators requires us to delve into the depths of history. Scholars surmise that this majestic mound was likely built by the indigenous people of the region, possibly belonging to the Fort Ancient culture or the Adena culture.

Unraveling the Ancient Builders

The Adena culture, flourishing from around 1000 BCE to 200 CE, were renowned for their impressive burial mounds and skilled craftsmanship. Similarly, the Fort Ancient culture, who thrived between 1000 and 1750 CE, were adept farmers and traders. The serpent motif, commonly associated with ancient cultures, held profound spiritual and symbolic significance, often representing fertility, renewal, and guardianship.

Astrological Alignments and Ritual Significance

One captivating theory posits that Serpent Mound might have been an astronomical calendar, with its coils aligning with celestial events such as solstices and equinoxes. The head of the serpent, perfectly poised to witness the summer solstice sunset, and the coils tracking the movements of the moon and stars, hint at an advanced understanding of the cosmos by its builders. Yet, beyond its astronomical interpretations, Serpent Mound is believed to have held deep spiritual and ceremonial importance, enriching the lives of its creators.

Legacy and Preservation

Enduring the test of time, Serpent Mound has not been without its challenges. Over centuries, it faced degradation due to natural forces and human activity. Fortunately, through the dedication of archaeologists and conservationists, the mound was preserved and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

In the present day, Serpent Mound remains a magnetic draw for visitors worldwide. Its mysteries and historical significance beckon those curious to uncover the secrets of ancient civilizations that once thrived in this region. Wander through its sacred contours, immerse yourself in the lives of the indigenous people who crafted it, and let the mystical allure of Serpent Mound transport you through time to a world veiled in wonder and reverence.

Planning your visit

You’re free to walk around Serpent Mound on your own, but if you’d like a little extra information on your visit, you can attend an Archaeology Tour. These tours occur on the second Friday of every month. The walk around the mound will be lead by archaeologist Bill Kennedy and gives an overview of precontact Indigenous Americans and the Serpent Mound itself.

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The tour begins at 1:30 and lasts for 1.5 hours and starts at the museum visitor center. If this is your first time visiting, it’s important to know that the viewing tower is currently closed for repairs. The structure was built back in 1908 and it was sorely in need of repairs, but that does mean you won’t get an elevated view of the mound.

When visiting Serpent Mound, it’s easy to feel humbled by the creativity, spirituality, and cultural depth reflected in this unique earthwork. While many questions about its origins linger in the shadows of antiquity, Serpent Mound stands tall as a testament to the ingenuity of ancient societies that thrived on this continent long before the arrival of European settlers.

For more information, or to start planning your trip to the Serpent Mound, visit

Photo by Stephanie A. Terry, Wikimedia Commons.