Fort Ancient Taught Us So Much On Our Trip
When we go on different trips with the grandkids I like to schedule some things that are not only fun but educational also. Well Fort Ancient was perfect and honestly I was surprised how much I learned on our trip to this landmark. National Historic Landmark (NHL) status was granted to Fort Ancient State Memorial in 1964. NHL status indicates that a historic or prehistoric site possesses exceptional value as commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States. NHL was formed under the Historic Sites Act in 1935.
Due to its unique nature and qualities, Fort Ancient has earned a place on the “short list” for World Heritage status as part of a group of sites in Ohio that preserve eight 2,000 year old Hopewell ceremonial earthworks located across the region. In short form in the future this will be 1 of the 10 top world things to see before you die!
Given that the criteria for UNESCO World Heritage includes clear manifestations of “outstanding universal value” and “human creative genius”, Fort Ancient, as the largest and best-preserved hilltop enclosure in the United States, is an ideal candidate for this prestigious designation.
This is the classroom they use for special groups and summer programs! This is full of hands on things that children can see and touch while they are learning. It is so important to try a variety of ways to teach children and this group does a fantastic job with teaching these children.
Dig into history at Fort Ancient! Join their experienced educators for a weeklong summer adventure, where campers explore this 2,000-year-old earthworks site in new and exciting ways each day. Discover the Native American peoples who lived during the time the earthworks were built, learn about more recent pioneer life, explore the tools that modern archaeologists use to uncover the ancient past, and experience the outdoors with a day dedicated to natural sciences!
It is not just one area, here they can touch tools, bowls, and more.
These work really good! If you think about it this was the only fan available.
They have furs, skeleton, and costumes for the kids to see what they would look like a long time ago.
This little tent is adorable and the kids love it!
On the outside of the building you will see these 2 handmade buildings. The one on the left is the hunting hut and the other one is where people lived. Again see the video for pictures of the inside. The Boy Scouts are coming in to make needed repairs on the structure on the right. This building is held together with mud.
Here is a handmade canoe that use to float. It is now in place permanently.
They have different vegetables growing, these are only from original seeds with no alteration so this is exactly what they grew in this time period.
The plant on the left is the 3-sisters plants, that they developed a long time ago. Corn, beans, and squash are called the “three sisters.” Native Americans always inter-planted this trio because they thrive together, much like three inseparable sisters. You can really see how different they end up with the picture of the regular corn on the right.
Here are some more structures they have built only with products from the land.
You cannot see the children on the right but this is all getting set up to make “johnny-cake”. They have the kids get their hands dirty while helping make it.
They have wonderful displays all the way through the museum, they have the item with explanations of exactly what they have to do with that particular time period.
This shows different home or huts and how they were made. They this starts with some information about the plants grown outside.
They have a lot of artifacts set up so they can be seen clearly.
The entire museum is color-coded. So the light green is where we started. This talks about how old the mounds are.
You will see these all over the landscape including across the streets, these are the mounds.
In Warren County, Ohio, an isolated peninsula rises 80 meters (about 260 feet) above the muddy banks of the Little Miami River. There exists an immense monument to the dedication and technological savvy of the original inhabitants of prehistoric North America. This vast 51 hectare (about 126 acres) plateau is enclosed by embankment walls that stand 1.5 to 7 meters (about 5 to 23 feet) high, constructed by repeatedly dumping baskets loaded with soil upon one another. The Hopewell, known for their engineering expertise, built these walls and many other features both within the enclosure and on the steep valleys that surround the site: conical and crescent-shaped mounds, limestone pavements and circles, and many subsurface elements that are currently coming to light.
Early investigations at Fort Ancient were conducted in the form of mapping expeditions in the early 1800s and expanded towards the end of the century to surface collecting and full-scale excavations by William King Moorehead, a local man from Xenia, Ohio. Moorehead, along with others, was convinced that the impressive bluff-top embankment walls were created to defend against invaders. Later research showed, however, that Fort Ancient represents an embankment of ceremonial space rather than a fortress. Archaeological investigations have been nearly continuous at Fort Ancient since Moorehead, but the techniques used and the information gained have drastically changed how the site is viewed.
In 2005, Dr. Jarrod Burks performed remote sensing, a method for detecting what is below the ground without actually digging, in areas that had not been previously excavated. These tests revealed a mysterious feature never seen before in Hopewell archaeology, a circular arrangement of posts nearly 60 meters (about 200 feet) in diameter. The Ohio Historical Society asked Dr. Robert Riordan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio to conduct an archaeological investigation in this newly discovered area with the help of his Field School in Archaeology. He began excavations in 2006 and has continued each summer since. At the center of this ring of posts, now referred to as the Moorehead Circle, there lays a shallow basin filled with presumably burned red clay. Currently, there are several research projects based on the work being done at the Moorehead Circle in hopes that we might gain insight into how it was used and, potentially, how Fort Ancient itself was used in prehistory.
If you look at the small hill in the background, this is actual a section of the more than 18,000 feet of earthen embankment walls at Fort Ancient. These are man-made! No dump trucks, no bulldozers, not even a wheel barrow to move all of this dirt!
This explains the part of the museum about The First Ohioans!
These are life-sized displays that explains about what is represented in the display. The campfire was just an extension of the home. The home was to sleep in only, so it only had beds and things they wanted out of the weather. This also talks about the Man being the hunter but the Woman being the gatherer.
This is a copy of the actual Mastodon parts they found on a golf course in the area. The owner let the museum study the parts until he later sold them. I should have had one of the girls stand next to this, it is huge! I could not image an animal that big coming at me while I was hunting, washing clothes, or just trying to cook dinner.
You will see things they made and used in this time period.
The next section is called The Tillers of the Soil. This is when they started learning about saving seeds and planting them.
Learn about what they grew and in which states.
This talks about the seeds they grew in Ohio and what needed to be done for the survival of the plants.
Here are the things they grew and explains what each was used for.
At this time period they are learning new and better ways of cooking.
It is amazing when you learn about the ways the mounds and the earthworks all work together and forecast things and even show things we now know as astronomy.
This interactive map gives you some of the background and tell you where things are on the grounds.
All of these are important as you follow through the museum! Everything makes more sense when you come out of the building than when you went in!
By this point you will be able to visually understand more about this map of the land surrounding the museum.
Explanation are all around the above map so help explain things to put them into perspective. Fort Ancient appears to have been used as a calendar.
Here is where the museum switches to exports and imports. It lays out what they would trade with people coming from England, and what they exchanged.
Each import and export were unique for the area lived in.
The picture with Madison in it has a huge handmade bowl used for cooking.
Here it shows a real canoe that was used a long time ago.
The artwork tells a story.
In the last area in has more about the different things traded. Guess what? The pipes on the right were imported, the Indians did not make them!
Ever wonder how they knew which Indians were there to negotiate for their tribe, or were they there to kill them? Well this white belt was worn by this negotiator. Each one of these tiny, tiny beads were hand drilled.
Some of the guns from that time.
This original tomahawk is one of a limited number that still exist. I won’t swear to it but I think it is 1 of 4, and this museum has 2 of them.
The little girls had dolls even back then! These happen to be dolls given to a missionary that lived among them for 3 years, after they were removed from Ohio.
Breathtaking view from the North Overlook, showcasing the valley below. You can see for 3 miles when you stand at this point in the trail. I did not make it further on the trails but there is a lot more to see.
Desiree really loved this trip but she loves any kind of history, Madison loved seeing all the displays and items. Like I said I learned a lot and would love to go back to learn even more! Plan a picnic and go explore the trails for ever more opportunities.
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I received tickets for our trip to complete this review.