Between the monuments. Landscape-scale geophysical surveys at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park – Seip Earthworks

Authors: Komp, R., Lüth, F. and Darvill, T.

Editors: Redmond, B., Ruby, B. and Burks, J.

Pages: 50-75

Publisher: University of Akron Press

Place of Publication: Akron, Ohio

ISBN: 978-1-629221-02-1

Hopewellian mounds and earthwork complexes in Ohio are best-known from 19th century maps; plowing has left little on the surface that is visible today. Moreover, archaeological attention has mainly focused on individual mounds, resulting in little information about the vast spaces around the mounds and within and around the enclosures. In spring 2015 and 2016 a team from the German Archaeological Institute joined the National Park Service to dive in "between the monuments" by performing landscape-scale geophysical surveys at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park and nearby sites. Using a vehicle-towed 16-channel magnetometer array with built-in real-time GPS positioning capability, high-resolution magnetic survey data covering nearly all of the park and more were successfully collected, producing the largest archaeomagnetic dataset ever recorded in North America. The new data reveal information about the size, shape, and state of preservation of previously recorded features. There is also new evidence for extensive wooden architecture, ditched enclosures, plazas, and avenues that were entirely unexpected. Furthermore, numerous pit features may indicate the presence of habitation sites that likely span thousands of years. Preliminary results are presented here from the survey at Seip Earthworks. The project will lead to more richly-detailed interpretations and better public appreciation of American Indian heritage preserved within Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, which is currently under consideration for inscription on the World Heritage List.

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