Kevin R. Schwarz


Recent archaeological investigations, building on previous work, establish more clearly that the Serpent Mound plateau has been a focus of intensive, repeated activity both in prehistory and more recently. In the 1880s, Frederic Ward Putnam conducted the first archaeological investigation of the Great Serpent Mound and the surrounding plateau. Subsequent analyses established that the Adena constructed a conical mound on the plateau to the south of the Serpent effigy. An Adena, and later, a Fort Ancient settlement were established nearby. In 2011, ASC Group, Inc. (ASC) conducted archaeological investigations in the areas around the conical mound prior to the installation of utilities at the Serpent Mound State Memorial. The utility work was planned to support the increased tourism expected due to the pending World Heritage nomination of the site. The excavations shed light on activities in the conical mound area by both the Early Woodland Adena and Late Prehistoric Fort Ancient peoples. Adena activities involved lithic reduction and tool use, while a buried A horizon appears to relate to a burned area Putnam investigated north of the Adena mound. However, a radiocarbon analysis returned a Fort Ancient period date, suggesting the re-use of the area around the conical mound.

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