The park is composed of five separate sites in Ross County, Ohio.
The park includes archaeological resources of the Hopewell culture,
and is administered by the United States Department of the
Interior's National Park Service.
In January 2008 the Department of the Interior included Hopewell
Culture National Historical Park as part of the Hopewell Ceremonial
Earthworks, one of 14 sites on its "tentative list" from
which the United States makes nominations for the UNESCO World
Mounds of various shapes and enclosures often built in geometric
patterns dot the landscape of the Ohio River Valley. These earthen
structures were doubtless the work of many human hands. Evidence
suggests that Hopewell earthworks were used for a variety of
ceremonial and social activities between 200 BC to AD 500. Come
learn about these sacred spaces and reflect upon the lives of their
The Ohio River Valley has been inhabited for over 12,000 years.
Archeologists have documented thousands of sites that span this vast
amount of time, including the five earthworks preserved at Hopewell
Culture National Historical Park.
Enjoying the Park
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park has many opportunities
to learn about the people, plants, and animals that lived in Ohio in
the past and in the present. Visitors can watch a 17-minute award
winning film, browse the museum, take guided tours of the Mound City
Group, or attend a special program.
Plants and animals are an important part of Hopewell Culture
National Historical Park. National Park Service staff is
inventorying and monitoring species, such as bats, birds, insects,
native and invasive plants, and mammals. In addition, disturbed land
is being restored to native grassland designed to encourage ground
History and Culture
The present Hopewell Culture National Historical Park evolved in
part from the former Mound City Group National Monument. The
national monument was established by a proclamation signed by
President Warren G. Harding in 1923 to preserve prehistoric mounds
of "great historic and scientific interest."
In 1980 Congress expanded the monument by adding a portion of the
nearby Hopeton Earthworks and authorized the investigation of other
regional archeological sites to determine their suitability for
preservation. The National Park Service recommended four additional
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park was thus established in
1992 by a law that renamed Mound City Group National Monument,
expanding boundaries at Hopeton Earthworks, and included High Bank
Works, Hopewell Mound Group, and Seip Earthworks.
The park protects the prehistoric remains of a dynamic social and
ceremonial phenomenon that flourished in the woodlands of eastern
North America between 200 B.C. and A.D. 500.
The term Hopewell describes a broad network of economic,
political, and spiritual beliefs and practices among different
American Indian groups. The culture is characterized by the
construction of enclosures made of earthen walls, often built in
geometric patterns and mounds of various shapes.
The culture is known for a network of contacts with other groups,
which stretched from the Atlantic coast to the Rocky Mountains. This
network brought materials such as mica, shark's teeth, obsidian,
copper, and shells to Ohio.
A small picnic area is located near the Visitor Center and is
available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Groups requiring larger facilities may wish to use Yoctangee Park
in Chillicothe. That park has three covered picnic shelters that are
available by reservation. Please contact the Chillicothe Recreation
Department by mail at 35 S. Paint St., Chillicothe, Ohio 45601, or
by phone at 740-772-5626.
Another picnic area is available at Camp Sherman Memorial Park,
1.5 miles south of Mound City on State Route 104. Playground
equipment is located at both Yoctangee and Camp Sherman parks.
Did You Know?
William Mills documented the presence of 49 enclosures and 370
mounds in Ross County in his book entitled "Archaeological
Atlas of Ohio," published in 1914.