ADAMS COUNTY, Ohio – Larry Blatecky is from the Chicago area.
He’s visiting Ohio, but not to what would be considered its top tourist attraction.
He made a stop at Serpent Mound in rural Adams County. He’s a history guy.
“I’d highly recommend for anyone that likes nature and history, and this is the kind of place that one should visit,” Blatecky said.
Serpent Mound is the largest effigy in the U.S., and it could be one of the oldest, depending on which version of its history you believe.
Some experts believe it was built 2,000 years ago during the Adena Period. Others believe it was built between 400 and 1,000 years ago during the Fort Ancient Period. Conflicting evidence has never really pinpointed the exact time it was built, but there are clues about the area dating back 10,000 years (at least).
There have been three different excavations of the site. The first in the 1880s. A second in the 1990s and one around five years ago.
“In the excavations, they didn’t find any artifacts – it’s not a burial mound, it’s strictly just an effigy mound,” said Andrew Sawyer, an instructor of Anthropology at the University of Dayton.
There are two nearby burial mounds that date to the Adena times, but while that part of Adams County is rural – hundreds of years ago, it was a busy place.
The effigy and snake-like figure are likely traced to the creation theories of some American Indian cultures, according to Sawyer.
“If you look at the Serpent Mound, its got the serpent itself, but once you get to the mouth or the head of the serpent, there are multiple interpretations about what that thing is. Is it just the head of the serpent? It almost looks like the mouth of the serpent is open, swallowing an egg. Some have interpreted that as an eye.”
Serpent Mound is nearly a quarter-mile long and is roughly three feet tall. Walking paths surround the mound for visitors, and a nearby visitor’s center and museum offer history lessons and interactive exhibits.
Serpent Mound is open year-round, hours and days vary by the time of the year. Admission is $8 per vehicle, and Ohio History Connection members get in free. A picnic/shelter area is available for rental for $50 per day.
A viewing tower is also available for visitors.