National Park Service


Date of this Version



Hopewell Newsletter- June 2010, 72 pages


1. Small Scale Geoarchaeological Investigations of Earthen Wall Construction at the Hopeton Earthworks (33RO 26)

Several geoarchaeological and geophysical investigations have been conducted at the Hopeton Earthworks (33RO26) and met with good success (Figure 1). As such, soil cores excavated in the summer of 2007 were studied using a two-pronged methodology of soil profile characterization and magnetic susceptibility testing. These techniques were employed to closely examine three sections of earthen wall at different locations at Hopeton as a means of understanding the soil composition of the walls and assessing possible uniformity in wall construction across the site. The following focuses solely on the geoarchaeological study of the selected locations.

2. The Role of Geophysics at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park is best known for its earthwork complexes built by the Hopewell during the Middle Woodland period. The park was originally established in 1923 to preserve the Mound City site after its use as a World War I training camp. In the past two decades, the park has added four additional earthworks—Hopeton Earthworks, Hopewell Mound Group, Seip Earthworks, and High Bank Works—and recently had its boundaries increased to include Spruce Hill. The recent growth in land located within the park has provided opportunities for archaeological research, most of which used some sort of geophysical technique.

3. Recent Investigations at the Mound City Group

Ohio Hopewell earthworks have been studied extensively, both in historic and in modern times. Mound excavations during historic and modern times have revealed much about the construction and use of mound space. More recent research at Hopewell sites in Ohio has focused on non-mound areas both within and adjacent to the earthworks. This article focuses on current research conducted outside of the enclosure at the Mound City Group.

4. Clues to the Relationship of the Riverbank Site (33RO1059) to other Ohio Hopewell Sites Through Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis on Pottery

Excavations were conducted at the Riverbank Site (33RO1059), located by the Hopewell Site (33RO27), in 2004 and 2006 to gather data from the site before it is eroded away by the Paint Creek and to improve understanding of the role of small sites located near large Hopewell earthworks. Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) was conducted on pottery from the Riverbank Site to help clarify its relationship with other nearby sites. Fifteen sherds from the site were sent to the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) for INAA, and the results were compared to the larger database of Hopewell ceramics. Based on the results, which show that the fifteen sherds formed a unique trace element compositional group, the site likely represents a shortterm occupation, possibly for a pilgrimage to the Hopewell Site, and the ceramics were likely either locally constructed for use at the site or constructed elsewhere to carry items on the way to Hopewell.

5. Feature Finds from the Riverbank Site, 33RO1059

Located just south and east of the Hopewell site’s Square Enclosure by about 225 meters is the Riverbank site, 33RO1059, which represents multiple occupations spanning the Archaic through historic periods, and includes a significant Middle Woodland component. Particularly noteworthy are two impressive pit features that were encountered in 2006 during a data recovery project undertaken by the Midwest Archeological Center. These pits, Features 7 and 8, would have been contemporaneous with Hopewell activities at the nearby earthwork complex, and the material culture recovered from them provides an intriguing glimpse of activities outside of the earthwork walls.

6. The Initial Phase of the Magnetic Investigations of the Mound City Group (32RO 32) at the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Ross County, Ohio

The Mound City Group (Site 32RO32) covers approximately 13 acres. It contained at least 23 mounds when Squier and Davis made the first study of the mound complex in 1846. In the summer of 2009, the Midwest Archeological Center conducted the initial phase of a magnetic survey of the entire site. The magnetic survey in the southern portion of the site covered 11,200 m2 or 2.77 acres. The magnetic data indicated the presence of numerous magnetic anomalies associated with the Hopewell occupation and with the World War I training facility of Camp Sherman.