Archeologists have discovered a large serpent in southern Ohio that dates to 300 BC. But alas it’s not a real serpent. Actually it’s a monstrous sacred mound that was used thousands of years in the past. This spiritual serpent mound is a Native American creation and another example of the spiritualism that these indigenous people celebrated millennia ago.
The Great Serpent Mound is three feet high and winds through a grassy hillside for 1,348 feet. Pointing to the north, it’s the largest serpent effigy in the world. The U.S. government has designated it as a National Historic Landmark. The Great Serpent Mound Museum and the Serpent Mound State Memorial are operated by the Arc of Appalachia organization which preserves prehistoric sites in southern Ohio.
Building a Prehistoric Spiritual Serpent Mound
Located in the Ohio valley, along Ohio Brush Creek in Adams County, the site has been excavated many times since the mid-1800’s. The origin of the mound has had multiples dates associated with it. The most recent dating suggests that the mound was built around 300 BC with some restoration occurring around 1070 AD.
The 300 BC timeframe suggests that the mound was built by people from the Adena culture. These Native Americans lived throughout the area known today as Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and other nearby states. The Adena people lived 3 millennia ago which archeologically speaking is known as the Early Woodland period. They shared a similar belief system as shown by the similar burial and ceremonial structures that they used.
A Spiritual Connection to the Seasons
Archeologists have identified graves at the site that originate from the Adena period. Some researchers believe that the purpose of the mound was to show the spirits from these graves the direction northward. There’s also evidence that the mound is connected to the seasons. Researchers suggest that the serpent’s head is aligned to the summer solstice. They also suggest that the coils of the serpent point to the winter solstice and the equinox.
More information about the Serpent Mound State Museum and visiting hours can be found at the Arc of Appalachia web site.
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