Intrigued by Native American history, culture and traditions? Plan to be in Oregonia in southwest Ohio June 8-9, 2013. That’s when Fort Ancient hosts Fort Ancient Celebration: A Gathering of Four Directions, sponsored by WKRC, Dayton Society of Natural History, Brickman and the Ohio History Connection.
What Can You Do at the Celebration?
Experience one of the first Native American-themed educational events in the region! Enjoy Native flute music and drumming and watch up to 100 Native American dancers in full regalia. Walk through an 18th-century camp, see demonstrations by silversmiths and flintknappers or make a dream catcher.
Hear expert storytellers ply their trade, tour a prehistoric garden with master gardeners, sit in on presentations by herb and Native heritage experts and get in on the fun with crafts, games, tomahawk-throwing and archery.
Why Celebrate at Fort Ancient?
Fort Ancient is a place to explore 15,000 years of American Indian heritage and history in Ohio. People of the Hopewell culture (100 B.C.-A.D. 500) built the earthwork -- North America’s largest hilltop enclosure of its kind -- using the shoulder blades of deer, split elk antlers, clamshell hoes and sticks to dig the dirt. They carried the soil in baskets holding 35 to 40 pounds. Archeologists estimate that Fort Ancient is composed of approximately 553,000 cubic yards of soil and that it took about 400 years to complete.
At Fort Ancient, you can learn about this important earthwork and the people who built it, through a museum, prehistoric gardens and two-and-a-half miles of hiking and interpretive trails.
What’s In a Name?
The name Fort Ancient is a source of some confusion. First, despite its name, Fort Ancient was constructed by the Hopewell culture nearly 2,000 years ago. People of the much later Fort Ancient culture (A.D.1000-A.D.1650) built a village and cemetery within the structure, prompting some of the first archeologists to attribute the earthwork to the Fort Ancient culture.
The name Fort Ancient is also confusing because it was likely never used as a defensive fortress as early archeologists first hypothesized. Ditches were constructed inside the walls rather than outside as might be expected in a fortification. In addition, there are more than 60 gateways in the walls, making it difficult to defend the site against enemies. Now archeologists believe Fort Ancient was used as a major ceremonial complex where hundreds of people gathered at specific times of year.
Attending the Fort Ancient Celebration
Fort Ancient will be open special hours June 8-9, 2013, during the Celebration: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, June 8, 2013, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, June 9, 2013.
General admission to the Fort Ancient Celebration on June 8-9, 2013, is $9/adult ($6/Ohio History Connection member), $6/youth ($4/Ohio History Connection member youth). A two-day pass is $12/adult and $8/youth.
Fort Ancient is at 6123 S.R. 350 near Oregonia in Warren County, south of Dayton and northeast of Cincinnati. For more information about the Celebration and visiting Fort Ancient, visit www.fortancient.org or call 800.283.8904.