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Hopewell Ceremonial Enclosures: Construction, Function, and

            In every great society there is a burial ritual, or a "death culture-. Some cultures are simple and some are grand and elaborate. The Hopewell Indian culture of North America is no different, and their burial rituals involved the construction of large earthen mounds to contain the dead and their goods for the afterlife. The Hopewell are believed to have had an extensive trade network, resulting in many "exotic- goods in these burial mounds. There are several earthworks that stand out in Ohio, they include: Mound City (Hopewell Culture National Historic Park) in Chillicothe, Seip Mound Group in the Paint Creek Valley, and the Newark Works (Octagon State Memorial) in Licking County. These works vary in size and complexity, but vary slightly in age. Mound City and Newark date to around A.D. 1-50, while Seip dates to A.D. 100-200. The Hopewell burials are rich in ceremony and culture, features that have survived the test of time.
             The construction of the mounds and earthworks is achieved through the usage of borrow pits, or a large pit that has had the earth removed, to construct the large mounds of dirt that cover the ceremonial buildings. Mound City is comprised of 15.6 acres surrounded by a 2,050 foot, 2 ½-3 foot high earthen wall with two entrances. Like many prehistoric treasures, Mound City has been repeatedly damaged by farming. Also, Camp Sherman, a United States military post, was built on top of most of the earthwork in 1917, during World War I. While many of the mounds have been reconstructed, much data has already been lost. The largest mound, Mound 1, is oblong in shape and covers two super-imposed buildings. The first is thought to have been burned down, while the second is oriented slightly different from the first. .
             The Seip Mound Group covers 121 acres surrounded by 10,000 foot long, 10 foot high earthen walls. The oblong mound at the center of the earthwork is 240 feet by 160 feet by 30 feet.

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