Archaeological Atlas and Photos of the Ancient Mounds in Brown County, Ohio

Photos of the Ancient Mounds in Brown County, Ohio

The ancient remains of Brown County are chiefly mounds, enclosures and cists.  It cannot be said that any law governing the arrangement or distribution of these works has been discovered. They are, perhaps, most numerous in the valleys near the Ohio, but they are found on the flat lands in the north of the county, and also on the most inaccessible places. A small mound is situated on the summit of the hill called Bald Point, near Georgetown.

Small Adena burial mound near Georgetown in Brown County, Ohio

 Two mounds near the Ohio, not far from Aberdeen, are the largest in the county. The purpose for which the mounds were built is unknown. They may have been surmounted with houses and approachable only with ladders, or foundations for watch towers and signal stations, or places of worship and sacrifice. A more common view is that the mounds were places of sepulture and memorials raised over the dead  the largest mounds being erected in honor of distinguished personages. 

Sepulchers for Ohio's Giant Race.
The History of Brown County, Ohio, 1883
Mastodonic remains are occasionally unearthed, and, from time to time, discoveries of the remains of Indian settlements are indicated by the appearance of gigantic skeletons, with the high cheekbones, powerful jaws and massive frames peculiar of the red man, who left these as the only record with which to form a clew to the history of past ages.

One of Ohio's largest Adena burial mounds is located in Brown County, Ohio.  It is currently being obliterated for a few bushels of corn.

About a mile to the west from the last mound is this smaller sepulcher.

Adena burial mound overlooking the Ohio River in the town of Aberdeen. The mound is not preserved not marked and is left overgrown in the summer months.

Arched stone tombs, many times contained the remains of giant humans.

The notion that they contain the remains of vast heaps of dead fallen in great battles is wholly unsupported by the facts obtained from excavations and examinations. But one or two skeletons are usually found in these mounds, and where many are found, it is probable that the later Indians, and, in some cases, Europeans, have buried their dead in them. The new American Cyclopedia assumes, from facts and circumstances deemed suflicient to enable us to arrive at approximate conclusions concerning the antiquity of the Mound-Builders’ records, that we may infer, for most of those monuments in the Mississippi Valley, an age of not less than 2.000 years. “ By whom built, whether their authors migrated to remote lands under the combined attractions of a more fertile soil and more genial clime, or whether they disappeared beneath the victorious arms of an alien race or were swept out of existence by some direful epidemic or universal famine, are questions probably beyond the power of human investigations to answer. History is silent concerning them, and their very name is lost to tradition itself.” The inclosures, which seem to have been works of defense, and are commonly called ancient forts, in Brown County are not numerous or important. 

Small irregular stone mounds were also found in Brown County that mark the graves of the ancient Shawnee under the archaeological guise of the Ft. Ancient peoples.

There are several prehistoric cemeteries in this county, and in some of them a number of skeletons have been found, and frequently implements in connection with the skeletons. The bodies were usually placed in shallow graves, on the sides and ends of which were placed stones on edge, forming a stone box or cist. It has been doubted by some whether these graves are as ancient as the mounds. They were found both in the northern and southern part of the county, but they attracted the  most attention at the mouth of Eagle Creek. James Finley, Postmaster at West Union, on February 1, 1809, wrote: “Graves are found in different parts of the county. The bodies are deposited in sepulchers made by digging the grave about three feet wide and walling it up with flat stones. The small bones crumble to dust when touched; the large ones are yet sound. Several of these graves are on the bank of the Ohio just above Eagle Creek. The bank has fallen away, and they appear like the end of a conduit made for the conveyance of water.” The archaeological remains of Brown County are not so numerous or extensive as those of Ross, Pickaway and Warren Counties; yet here,as in almost the whole of the Ohio Valley, are found traces of a numerous and busy ancient and now extinct race, not of nomadic tribes, but tillers of the soil, workers in copper mines and builders of extensive towns and works of defense—a people with fixed laws, customs and religious rites. Many of the prehistoric works of the county have been obliterated by the cultivation of the soil, and few of them have been accurately surveyed and described. The ancient remains of other counties in Southern Ohio have attracted more attention from writers on American antiquities than any in Brown.