As masterpieces of human creative genius, the Ancient Ohio Earthworks are treasures whose relevance is worldwide and whose significance equals that of the Acropolis, the Pyramids, Stonehenge and other icons of human culture. These sites continue to be meaningful to Native peoples and are considered sacred to those whose tribes were forced from Ohio long ago. These monumental works of archaeoastronomy and landscape architecture bear remarkable testimony to the multifaceted genius of aboriginal North Americans in the Ohio Valley and to an artistic and cultural flowering that had significant impacts all across the continent between 900 and 2,600 years ago. Inscription on the World Heritage List would underscore the cultural significance of these sites and call international attention to these treasures long known to Ohioans.
The Nomination Process
The U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service control and guide the process that culminates in a nomination of these sites to UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization – which administers the World Heritage List.
Currently the Ohio Historical Society is working with the National Park Service, the Ohio State University Newark Earthworks Center and the University of Cincinnati’s Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historical and Archaeological Sites to prepare a nomination document for three of the Ancient Ohio Earthworks collectively known as the Hopewell Ceremonial Sites – Fort Ancient in Warren County, the Newark Earthworks in Licking County, and the earthworks included in the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Ross County.
The Need for Support
A working group of archaeologists, anthropologists, architects, cultural landscape historians, museum and park administrators, and Native Americans are collaborating to complete a draft of this document for review by the National Park Service before a final submission can be made to UNESCO. Funding is needed to continue the progress toward the completion of the draft nomination: consulting with other World Heritage sites and nominee organizations and other experts; performing additional research; compiling all required data; formulating required management plans; developing economic impact studies, and designing the draft document. The experience of other successful U.S. and international applicants for inscription indicates that preparation of the nomination requires at least one full time staff person and – in addition to the contributions of the working group - the services of various consultants, researchers, photographers, graphic designers, and editors. Therefore, we estimate that an investment of between $800,000 and $1,200,000 may be necessary to document the significance of our sites and how they will be managed, in a comprehensive and appropriate manner designed to elicit favorable consideration by UNESCO.
How to Get Involved
If you would like to support this wonderful opportunity to put Ohio’s ancient earthworks on the worldwide map of historically and culturally significant sites, click here. For more information on donating or joining our support group, the Friends of the Ancient Ohio Earthworks, contact Kathy Wyatt at 614.297.2308 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the Ancient Ohio Earthworks, go to:
To learn more about UNESCO and the World Heritage List, go to: