Ancient Adena Earthwork Found in Jackson County, Ohio

Ancient Adena Earthwork Found in Jackson County, Ohio

The Jackson County, Adena ceremonial earthwork is still visible in this field overlooking Jackson, Ohio.  The work measured 100 x 110 feet and had a deep interior ditch that was typical of Adena earthworks.

Another view of the earthwork shows how it overlooks the city of Jackson, Ohio


History of Jackson County, Ohio - 1900
THE OLD FORT— This is the name by which the ancient earthwork on McKitterick's hill, northwest of Jackson, is generally known. There were two of these works on the McKitterick farm in early days, but the eastern one, inside of which the house was erected, has been almost obliterated. They were visited by Charles Whittlesey in 1837, when he was engaged upon the first geological survey of Ohio and described as follows: "No. 1 is situated in Lick township, Jackson county, Ohio, on the west half of the northeast quarter of section 19, Township 7, Range 18, on high ground, about one-fourth of a mile northwest of Salt Creek. The soil is clayey, the work slight, with only one opening, which is on the east, and to my knowledge, without running water in the vicinity. The ditch being interior, indicates that the work was built for some other purpose than defence, probably for ceremonial uses. No. 2 is on the same quarter section on the east half, and lies near the road from Jackson to Richmond, on the left hand. The prospect from the mound is extended and delightful. On the west between this and No. 1, is a ravine and a small stream. As the soil is sandy, it is certain that the mound attached to the rectangle on the southwest was somewhat higher at first that it is at present. Neither of these works are perfectly square or rectangular, but irregular in form, approaching a square. No. 2 is clearly not a work of defence, and was probably intended as a high place, for superstitious rites. A more charming spot for such observances could not be chosen, if we admit that external circumstances and scenery had any connection with the sentiments of the worshipers, and we must allow that the Mound Builders were alive to the beauty of the scenery." The writer had a survey of the Old Fort made in July, 1894. The dimensions were found to be as follows: Length 110 feet, width 100 feet. From bottom of ditch to top of embankment at south west corner is three feet and four inches; height of embankment six inches. From bottom of ditch at southeast corner to top of embankment is five feet and six inches; the embankment is two feet high. Distance from inside ditch across to outside of embankment is fifty feet. The inclosure is level, and the entrance is on the east side. The inclosure is almost rectangular, but the embankment is more irregular. An oak seven feet in circumference stands on the embankment near the southeast corner. There are a number of smaller trees growing on the embankment, and a few in the inclosure, but there are none in the ditch. The Old Fort stands on level ground, overlooked by several higher elevations, which proves conclusively that it could not have been intended for defence. There is no great quantity of water nearer than Salt Creek, a quarter of a mile away, which argues that it was not the long house of a village. Whittlesey failed to find any running water in the vicinity, but since the ground has been cleared, a number of coal springs have been discovered near. In short, there is a coal spring at the head of each branch of the several ravines adjacent. In the summer of 1896, one of these springs, located a few hundred feet southeast of the Old Fort, dried up and Milton Cameron, who was clearing the land, cleaned it out in hopes of finding water. At a depth of about three feet, he came upon a pan scooped out in the sandrock where the stream had welled forth. There was nothing to show that the spring had ever been cleaned out by whites, and it is evident that this pan was the work of the fort builders. Its discovery justifies the belief that there may have been other springs nearer the Fort which were stopped up by its users, and have not yet been rediscovered. Only a few relics have been discovered near the Old Fort. The only specimen found inside the inclosure was a fine spear head, about four inches long. It was found accidentally by John F. Motz, when a lad. Samuel McKitterick, the present owner of the land, found a steel bladed ax May 5, 1896, when plowing in the field about one hundred yards south of the Fort. The ax weighs one and one-half pounds, is seven inches long, has a three inch blade and the eye measures 1 1-8 in. x 1 1-2 in. The ax Is now owned by J. H. Cochran.