Ohio Mounds: Adena Henge and Enclosure in Licking County, Ohio

Adena henge and earthwork near Granville, Ohio in Licking County.

      The work here represented is situated two miles below the town of Granville, Licking county, Ohio. It encloses the summit of a high hill, and embraces an area of not far from eighteen acres. The embankment is, for the most part, carried around the hill at a considerable distance below its brow, and is completely overlooked from every portion of the enclosed area. Unlike all other hill-works which have fallen under notice, the ditch occurs outside of the wall; the earth in the construction of the latter having been thrown upwards and inwards. This is observed equally at the points where the hill is steepest; and the result has been, in the lapse of time, that the ditch is almost obliterated, while the accumulating earth has filled the space above the wall, so that the appearance of the defence, at these points, is that of a high, steep terrace. The height of the wall varies at different places; where the declivity is gentle and the approach easy, it is highest,—perhaps eight or ten feet from the bottom of the ditch; elsewhere it is considerably less. The embankment conforms generally to the shape of the hill. It is interrupted by three gateways, two of which open towards springs of water, and the other, or principal one, upon a long narrow spur, which subsides gradually into the valley of Raccoon creek, affording a comparatively easy ascent.
     Upon the highest part of the ground enclosed in this work, is a small circle, one hundred feet in diameter, within which are two small mounds. There is also another truncated mound, a little distance to the northward of the circle. The mounds within the circle, upon excavation, were found, in common with all similar structures occurring within enclosures, to contain altars. No enduring remains seem to have been deposited upon these altars, which were covered with ashes, intermixed with small fragments of pottery. This is the only hill-work which has been observed to embrace a minor work of the description here represented. The character of the principal enclosure can hardly be mistaken; it is palpably a defensive work, although deficient in that grand essential, a supply of water. If we concede, what can hardly admit of doubt, that the minor structure had a sacred or superstitious origin, we must of necessity arrive at the conclusion that the altars of the ancient people sometimes accompanied their defences.