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Hopewell Ceremonial Landscapes Seen Through the Lens of Large-Scale Geophysical Surveys: Big Data, Big Opportunities, Big Challenges

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

This symposium presents results from recent large-scale geomagnetic surveys of Hopewellian mound and earthwork complexes in Ohio, including several at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, currently under consideration for inscription on the World Heritage List. Until now, these sites were best-known only from 19th century maps. Landscape-scale geophysical surveys are becoming increasingly cost-effective due to recent advances in instrumentation. The availability of multi-sensor arrays and real-time positioning systems permits us to widen our field of view and place individual features, sites, and monuments in landscape context. The recent surveys add rich texture and detail to earlier maps, and reveal many heretofore hidden features of these Hopewell ceremonial landscapes. These new datasets are fertile grounds for novel interpretations, and they harbor opportunities for greater public appreciation of, and engagement with this Native American contribution to World Heritage. At the same time, the large scale of these datasets presents new challenges for data processing, analysis, and management. This symposium will explore these issues with a view toward advancing archaeological theory and practice in step with advances in archaeo-geophysical instrumentation. Further, this symposium features an international team of participants, promising new perspectives and broader contexts for our understanding of Hopewell ceremonial landscapes.


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  • Documents (7)

Documents

  • Beyond Hopewell: ceremonial centers and their cosmologies (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Timothy Darvill.

    In many parts of the world massive ceremonial centers appear at key stages in societal development, especially with the emergence of stable agricultural communities and the appearance of hierarchical or chiefdom societies. All differ in their detail, but they also share many characteristics. These include fixing key astronomical events in the structure of the monuments (solar and/or lunar); seasonal gatherings; associations with water; representations of ancestors or ancestral deities; burials;...

  • Filling the Gap: continued large scale geomagnetics at Hopewell Mound Group, Ross County, Ohio. (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Sebastian Messal.

    This report presents the results of a large-area magnetic gradient survey at Hopewell Mound Group, a unit of Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Ross County, Ohio. In 2011, a first survey covered only half of the archaeological monument, but for reconstruction and heritage management of the site a complete survey was sought. This survey was conducted in April 2015 by the German Archaeological Institute. During the survey, several magnetic anomalies of potential archaeological interest...

  • Ground Truthing The Great Circle and other Big Data Anomalies at the Hopewell Mound Group (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Bret Ruby.

    The monumental mounds and earthworks at Hopewell Mound Group have attracted attention since the dawn of American archaeology. By the early 20th century, the site’s imposing earthworks, exotic raw materials, and exquisitely crafted artifacts were widely recognized as the most flamboyant expression of a newly defined “Hopewell culture.” Yet attention was focused narrowly on mounds and mortuary contexts, ignoring the vast spaces in between. Agricultural plowing steadily eroded above-grade features....

  • Hopewell Culture and the landscape - an introduction to the session (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Friedrich Lueth.

    Sites and monuments of the Hopewell Culture are of high significance and outstanding universal value; embedded into the landscape they have been intensively researched during the past years adding and applying geophysical surveys. New technology with multi-channel, vehicle towed magnetometers allow large scale operations of the landscape and it becomes affordable to go beyond the known monuments into the landscape. This presentation introduction will show some possibilities and discuss the...

  • Large Fields - Big Data. Browsing the meadows of Seip Earthworks, Ohio, using multiple gradiometer arrays (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Rainer Komp.

    Surveyed and first published in 1848 by Squier and Davis, the mounds being excavated in early 20th century, Seip Earthworks today forms part of the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park near Chillicothe, Ohio. While the restored burial mounds are among the largest from the so-called Hopewell culture, the earthworks comprise further two miles of embankment walls forming big circles and a precise square with astronomical alignments, a typical geometric figure at a number of places, which...

  • Magnetic Survey of the Mound City Group at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Ross County, Ohio (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Steven De Vore.

    Mound City Group is a Hopewell mound and enclosure site located in south-central Ohio. The site was originally mapped by Ephraim Squier and Edwin Davis in 1846. The prehistoric earthworks consisted of 24 mounds within a square embankment wall and surrounded by eight borrow pits above the right bank of the Scioto River. In 1917, the mound group was leveled by the U.S. Army during the construction of the World War I training camp of Camp Sherman, except for Mound 7. After Camp Sherman was razed in...

  • Variability in Large-Area Magnetic Surveys at Hopewell Earthworks and the Challenges of Big Data (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Jarrod Burks.

    Many Ohio Hopewell earthworks present an interesting challenge to archaeological geophysics: they are very large and contain vast amounts of what seems to be empty space. Both have limited our understanding of the breadth of the archaeological record at these complex sites; that is, until very recently. Large-area surveys at three Hopewell earthwork complexes in Ross County, Ohio (Hopewell Mound Group, High Bank Works, and Hopeton Works, ca. 30 ha each), have uncovered a wealth of new features,...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America