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Mound Constructed, Great Serpent

The Great Serpent Mound is a large effigy mound located in rural southwestern Ohio, and it was built on a high plateau that overlooks the Ohio Brush Creek. According to the Biblical Timeline with World History, it was dated back to 500 AD. The mound measures more than 1,300 feet long and reaches up to 3 feet in height. It is one of the largest serpent effigy mounds that once dotted the North American landscape, but were destroyed after the lands were converted to agricultural use.

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Appearance

The serpent’s head was constructed so that it points to the east, while the tail is oriented towards the west with a winding body in between. One of the most interesting parts of this earthen serpent is the oval mound in front of its head. There are two different perspectives on what exactly this oval mound is. The first one being the eye of the serpent on profile and the second as an animal or egg that is about to be swallowed by the serpent.

Serpent_Mound
Map of the Serpent Mound

Purpose

Just like other earthworks such as the Nazca Lines and other effigy mounds, the use of the Great Serpent Mound is still considered a mystery. The serpent’s head points to the summer solstice sunset, while the tail aligns with the winter solstice sunrise, which makes it possible that the ancient people who built the mound used it to mark the time and seasons to sow and harvest. Each coil of its winding body corresponds to lunar phases, as well as solstices and equinoxes, while the egg (or eye) was perhaps constructed to mark a solar eclipse.

It may have also been used as a compass from the resemblance to the constellation Draco. Its head was used to help mark the true north orientation in a compass. The Great Serpent Mound, however, was never used as a burial which was common for other ancient North American cultures.

Mysterious Origin

Who made the Great Serpent Mound is another mystery as the people who once lived near the area did not leave behind any clues about their tribes or culture. One of the civilizations that flourished in the Ohio area around the time of the construction of the Great Serpent Mound was the Fort Ancient Culture. It was suggested that these people may have built the effigy mound. Others point to the Adena or Hopewell Cultures which dominated Ohio and the surrounding areas. Although its origins remain shrouded in mystery, it is clear that it was rebuilt by many groups over the years.

References:
Picture By Ephraim George Squier and Edwin Hamilton DavisAncient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley at [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33578862
Ayers, Edward L. American Passages: A History of the United States. Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers, 2000
Ross, Leslie. Art and Architecture of the World’s Religions. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood Press, 2009
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