ELECTRONIC RECREATION OF THE MONUMENTAL ARCHITECTURE OF THE HOPEWELL: A NEW TOOL FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION

John Hancock

University of Cincinnati

Bradley Lepper

Ohio Historical Society

Public education efforts concerning Ohio's ancient earthworks have always been hampered both by their immensity and their on-going destruction. Where earthworks do survive, they are hard to visualize; and of course, the large majority have not survived at all.

Engaging the public imagination about this magnificent architecture is beginning to be made easier, because of new efforts in computer visualization technologies being developed at the University of Cincinnati. The "Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historical and Archaeological Sites" (CERHAS), with state and national humanities and arts funding, has produced a short video featuring computer reconstructions of the Newark earthworks. This animated video was presented at several regional museums, including the Ohio Historical Center, over the past year.

The video combines historical images, views of modern Newark, and flyovers of the ancient complex as it may have looked to its builders. The model is based on measurements obtained by the Salisbury brothers in 1862, but it also incorporates the results of the most recent archaeological investigations undertaken at Newark. We can't bring back what has been so thoroughly effaced by the plow, shovel and bulldozer, but this electronic recreation allows us to gain a new appreciation of the scale, precision, and complexity of the Hopewell culture's largest ceremonial center.

CERHAS is continuing its work with the Ohio Valley earthworks, developing multi-media learning resources featuring several more of the Adena and Hopewell earthworks. Funding currently is being provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a multi-disciplinary team of advisors and content experts is helping with the project. Current work in progress, including VR files, can be viewed at www.cerhas.uc.edu/earthworks and copies of the Newark video can be ordered by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or a FAX to his attention at 513-556-1230.

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