Field Trips to Serpent Mound
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’s Native American History
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?
I visited a number of mounds in Mississippi, Julian and found them fascinating. The Serpent in Ohio seems even more so. Thanks for sharing. –Curt
I can’t compare it to very many, but the shape of this one and all the work it took to create and maintain it fills me with awe.
I was at one when I dodged the tornado on my bike trip. 🙂 –Curt
Your bike trip is amazing. Dodging a tornado is only one small adventure in the grander scheme of things. I encourage everyone to relive this experience through your blog.
Every day was an adventure of some kind, Juliann. 🙂 And thanks much. –Curt
That’s fascinating. I’ve always enjoyed history, but I’d never heard of serpent mounds before. Perhaps when you were preparing your school field trip, the teacher showed you a picture of the mound taken from the air and that’s what you remembered. 🙂
More likely, it was my imagination. But I feel like we really could see the whole serpent shape at one point. I should do more research.
That very well could be. It’s funny how reality and memory go askew.
Maybe the trees & vegetation grew in the meantime? What a fascinating link to the past. I’d rather remember (or rather visualise) the Native Americans as they were before the White Man started messing them around.
There is so much Native American history in Ohio. It’s fascinating.