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Attractions & Culture

Serpent Mound

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3850 State Route 73, Peebles, Ohio 45660 USA (800) 752-2757

  • Other Historical
  • Offbeat Attraction
  • Native Culture
  • Tourist Attraction

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July 19, 2012 Top Review!

Over three hundred million years ago a meteor crashed in what would become Adams County, in southwestern Ohio. This created a 5-mile wide crater, upon which ancient Native Americans built a massive mound in the shape of a serpent about 900 years ago. Semi-nomadic descendents of the Hopewell culture, known as the Fort Ancient peoples, settled in this part of Ohio between AD 1000 and AD 1650. They had an acute interest and understanding of both solar and lunar alignments.

Although originally attributed to the Adena peoples, this has no been accepted as false, based on radiocarbon dating tests completed in the mid-1990s, which suggest the mound was built by the Fort Ancient peoples: 

Two samples of wood charcoal were obtained from undisturbed parts of Serpent Mound. Both yielded a date of ca. A.D.1070, suggesting that the effigy was actually built by people of the Fort Ancient culture (A.D. 900-1600), a Mississippian group that lived in the central Ohio Valley. - Jessica E. Saraceni, Archaeology Magazine, Volume 49 Number 6, November/December 1996

The purpose of the serpent mound, called a "Cryptoexplosive Structure" by the United States National Parks, is still considered quite mysterious. Though there are nearby burial grounds, there have been no human remains discovered in or directly by the mound itself. The National Park Service states that it is a structure of "undetermined origin exposed by differential erosion." - Roadtrippers
Truly a site to behold, the Great Serpent Mound in southwest Ohio is the worlds largest serpentine effigy mound yet discovered. Writhing in a seemingly effortless way, the mound winds through trees on a cliff overlooking the Brush Creek valley of Adams County.

The Great Serpent Mound of southwest Ohio averages about 1330 feet in length and 3 feet in height. Representing an unwinding serpent, the mound is sheathed in mystery and controversy. The serpent is thought by most to be about to swallow an egg. However many theories abound suggesting various interpretations. For instance some think it may represent an eclipse.

The mysteries don’t stop there. The very ground where the mound rests is also of interest to archeology. Seemingly full of cave-like or hollow structures, it is thought that perhaps there may be more to this serpent resting underground.

Conical mounds found nearby contained burials and implements that are characteristic of the prehistoric Adena people (800 BC-AD 100). Due to very acidic soil and predominant rainfall, many cave like structures reside underground. It is presumed that the Adena people may have resided in the caves. If true, there could be a treasure trove of artifacts waiting to be discovered.

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Went here for school field trips pretty much every other year as a kid. It's a interesting little spot with a cool story but you're only going to get a few hours out of this at the absolute maximum. Still, it's an interesting bit of history that's worth a stop.

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drove out of our way to see this....unless you can get an aerial view you cant get the effect....so disappointing for my friend who wanted very much to go here

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WHAT WE SAW
We took our 5 and 11 year old boys here. They weren't terribly impressed. We enjoyed it. We walked the path around the Serpent Mound. There were two overlooks, display the steep surroundings. We climbed up the stairs to the tower for the aerial view.

We visited the museum, which was just a room with a video and some posters. The gift shop had a lot of books about local Native American history, maps, odds and ends.

WHAT YOU NEED
Not much. Enjoy an easy stroll. You'll need some guts to get up the tower if you're fearful of heights. There are two restrooms buildings (one for men, one for women) but they were closed for the season. Two port-a-johns were available in their place.

TIME AND MONEY
We spent about an hour there. Parking was $8.00 which was paid in a small outdoor box. Bring cash. You may be able to pay inside the museum, idk.

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You can visit the Serpent Mound every day from dawn to dusk, and during the equinoxes the mound is open even longer. Some interesting facts: Serpent's head is aligned with the summer solstice sunset, and the tail coils aligned with the winter solstice.

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