I think every kid in southwestern Ohio took a field trip to Serpent Mound sometime during their school years. Serpent Mound is the largest, best-preserved ancient animal effigy in the world and we are lucky enough to live less than a two hours’ drive away from it.
I distinctly remember walking around the serpent-shaped mounds as a child, wondering how many bodies were buried beneath them. There’s an observation tower you can climb for a bird’s-eye view, but this is where my memory gets cloudy. I could have sworn when you climbed to the top you could see the entire serpent-shaped mound. I thought that sometime in the past I’d even taken pictures from there. But this time, that wasn’t possible. You could still see most of the shape, but you couldn’t get a picture of the entire thing. I don’t know whether they moved the observation tower, or lowered it, or whether I just had a better imagination as a kid and thought I could see the whole thing from there.
Regardless, it’s a sight to behold and consider.
Ohio is rich with Native American history. No one knows for sure which tribe erected this mound or whether it was several tribes that inhabited southwestern Ohio working together. Two other mounds nearby belong to the Adena and Fort Ancient tribes, so it’s likely that they had something to do with Serpent Mound.
The serpent’s coils, most notably the serpent’s head, is in perfect alignment with the direction of the setting solstice sun. Many historians and archeologists believe that Serpent Mount was the site of sacred ceremony.
Blame it on my schooling, but I always associate Indians with Fall and usually make the trek to Serpent Mound as the leaves are changing color. As Thanksgiving draws near, that’s how it all fits together in my mind — Indians, Fall, and Thanksgiving; cemented together since childhood and what I learned in school.
Are there aspects of Native American life that fascinate you?