Adena Hopewell Liberty Works in Ross County, Ohio

Liberty Works, Adena Hopewell Enclosure in Ross County, Ohio





      The ground is here considerably broken, yet the work preserves its regularity through-out, although evidently constructed with some regard to the nature of the position. The square occupies the second terrace; while the main body of the work is placed upon the third, as shown in the plan.
Within the larger circle, and not far from its centre, is a large elliptical mound, two hundred and forty feet long by one hundred and sixty broad, and thirty in height. It is considerably larger than any other single mound in the valley, and covers a little more than two thirds of an acre. It seems to be composed, at least towards the surface, of stones and pebbles,—a feature peculiar to a certain class of mounds, of a highly interesting character. It is surrounded by a low, indistinct embankment, the space between which and the mound seems to have been raised by the wasting of the latter. Perhaps this was a low terrace. To the right of this fine mound is a group of three others in combination, as shown in the plan at c. There are several other small mounds in and around the work. Several very large and beautiful ones, composed entirely of clay, occur about one fourth of a mile distant, in the direction indicated in the plan.
      The entire work is surrounded by deep pits or excavations, usually called "wells," from which the materials for the mounds and embankments were procured. So numerous are these, and such serious obstacles are the mounds and embankments to cultivation, that a deduction of several acres is allowed to the tenant in consequence, by the lease of the estate upon which they occur. The small circle at a is two hundred and fifty feet in diameter. It has been so much reduced by the plough as to be traced with difficulty.
      Although the square enclosure connected with this work is situated on the second terrace, a portion of it, at periods of great freshets, is invaded by the water, which passes through a shallow thoroughfare indicated on the map. This singular circumstance is easily accounted for. The creek in its course strikes the base of a high hill at B, composed of shale, which readily undermines, occasioning great slips or slides. These fill the channel of the creek, damming it up and forcing it out of its usual course. It was probably at the period of one of these slides, that the creek, in its reaction on the opposite shore, broke through the embankment and formed the thoroughfare, or dry channel, above mentioned. The remark, therefore, that the earthworks of the West never occur upon the first, or latest-formed terrace, and are always above high-water mark, is not at all invalidated by this circumstance.