There was another walk on Saturday. This walk was a bit shorter (3.3 miles, as opposed to 8.5 miles), and tended to cover the same material, but it was regardless a very nice pleasant fall trek.
You might want to refer back to my previous entry as we go along.
This walk started at the Great Circle. The original Newark Earthworks were huge, but they have nonetheless been nearly eaten up by the cities of Newark and Heath. But the Great Circle, about 1500 feet across exists.
It has been highlighted in red in the picture above. (Click on it for a much larger, more readable version.) We started at the visitor’s center at the opening (on the northeast side).
Fall colors were vibrant. On the right, the tall person is Jeff Gill, our Docent for the Day, and right in front of him is Mark Welsh, a member of the Dakota tribe who provided a native perspective on the mounds, and also led us in a prayer (more on that later). The photo is looking right through the entrance to the Great Circle.
When we started, it was around 38°. That’s tolerable when one is moving about, but while standing in the shade listening to Jeff set the stage for all the walkers, providing them with the information they needed to understand the walk, things got pretty cold. I have to say my feet got rather uncomfortably cold. Not dangerously, cold, just uncomfortably. We stood there for about 20 minutes, and by the end they were getting pretty pink. But they survived, and so did I. And once we started walking, my feet warmed up immediately.
We then started off.
[Photo courtesy of Jeff Gill.]
From there we walked up to the Wright Earthworks (name after the Wrights, who donated it). It’s shaded in blue on the map. There is not much left.
But, as Jeff pointed out, their very continued existence both affirms that they once existed (even if mostly destroyed by “civilization”) and gives us confidence in the old maps and the specific locations in the old maps.
From there we headed into the (no-longer-existing) oval, where there were burial mounds, shaded on the map in cyan. In looking at old records, members of the Ohio Historical Society discovered that the railroad berm at that location was actually placed atop one of the intact burial mounds (and the other ones were used for fill). That means that there is yet another preserved piece that we had been previously unaware of.
At this point Mark led us in Dakota prayer to Grandfather God honoring and remembering those buried there.
We then headed over to the “notch”, the entryway into the great corridor that leads to the Octagon. Jeff had discovered this a bit over a year ago. That is shaded in yellow on the map.
On the way, though, we passed over Route 79, which gave us a good view of “Salisbury Hill”, so-called by Jeff since James Salisbury (inventor of the salisbury steak) had mapped out the earthwork on top of it.
That’s it in the distance.
(For some reason, Pete Gabriel music is playing in my head . . .)
Such hilltop earthworks were quite common among the Hopewell culture (the ones who built the Newark Earthworks, and who lived in the area from around 100 B.C.E until 400 C.E.).
At the notch, you can see how it fits into the bluff that runs near the river.
There are a series of bluffs (10 feet or so) one has to climb as one leaves the river. This fits in so perfectly with the maps, it has to be the one marked on them (again, shaded yellow on the map). You can get a somewhat better feel for how it fits into the bluff from this side shot (the notch is right behind the red car).
After that, we headed to Hull Place (shaded purple).
Hull Place was originally built inside that circular mound, but over the years, they had to sell of pieces of the property and other houses were built, so there is very little of that mound left. Here’s what you can see from the front yard.
No, it’s not very high, and maybe never was. What it did was delineate (or maybe decircleate) a space.
From there, we headed back to the Great Circle and our cars.
The Newark Advocate has a very nice write-up of the walk (a reporter accompanied us the whole way), Walkers explore Earthworks history.
The next day was an open house for the Octagon, another preserved portion of the Newark Earthworks (preserved as a golf course and country club). Four days a year the golf course closes so that the public can view the site. Yesterday was the last scheduled open house for the year.
The Newark Earthworks Center sponsors guided tours and activities there for the open houses. When I was there, there parking lot was packed, which was great. It is good that the citizens of the Newark area exhibit such interest in the area’s rich history.
You can read what I wrote about another one of these open houses here.
It was yet another great fall day (though thunderstorms arrived late). The Octagon is shaded in green on the map.
It is hard to get a feel for the size of this impressive earthwork unless you are really there. The circle portion is about 1050 feet across. Here’s a shot from inside it looking northeast at the corridor to the Octagon, and the guardian mound. All of the openings in the Octagon have guardian mounds (as you can see on the map).
Finally, one more shot. This is from just behind the eastmost guardian mound (the one encountered if you would have arrived via the corridor from the notch).
Off in the distance under the trees (pretty much right in the center of the photo), you can see the guardian mound for the corridor that connects the circle and the Octagon. This is the same guardian mound that was in the last picture. (I really like this shot for some reason.)
The mounds and these walks are a fascinating look into the past of the area. Anybody who lives nearby really ought to take advantage into what is being offered by the Newark Earthworks Center and the Ancient Ohio Trail and visit when they get a chance (or better yet, hit one of the organized activities).