Rory Krupp


Archival research has identified documents at the Ohio History Connection related to Serpent Mound archaeology. The current understanding of the site is that Frederic W. Putnam restored Serpent Mound in the 1880s and converted the surrounding property into a public park. The Ohio History Connection’s State Archives series and New Deal agency records indicate that the Serpent Mound was again restored in 1934–1935. Consequently, today’s Serpent Mound and its surrounding landscape are in reality a New Deal construct based largely on landscaping principles developed by the National Park Service in the 1920s and 1930s. Depression-era agencies’ financial prioritization on wages and not materials seems to indicate that fill used in the restoration originated in the park to save money and may have been associated with restroom construction in 1934–1935. Consequently, the Fort Ancient Baum Focus material located in the Serpent Mound appears to originate from elsewhere within the park and is in the mound as a result of the New Deal restoration.

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