The Milky Way Path of Souls and Adena-Hopewell Earthworks

Author(s): William Romain

Year: 2016


In this presentation I consider Adena-Hopewell earthworks from a relational perspective. For decades, archaeologists have focused on individual sites. But what if it was found that the significance of certain sites unfolded in their relationships to other earthworks as well as other dimensions? In this presentation I use LiDAR imagery, archaeoastronomic analyses, and ethnohistoric data to explore the idea the Newark Earthworks, Great Hopewell Road, Mound City, Serpent Mound, and others were part of a dynamic relational web related to the Milky Way Path of Souls and journey of the soul to the Land of the Dead. Each site 'did' something in the sense of enabling, facilitating, guiding, constraining or otherwise affecting the movements and experiences of people, living and dead along the Milky Way Path. The sites considered span a distance of about 89 miles (143 km) across south-central Ohio. As such this relational network may be one of the world's earliest and longest metaphorical representations of the journey of the soul after death.

Cite this Record

The Milky Way Path of Souls and Adena-Hopewell Earthworks. William Romain. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403698)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;