National and international experts and local representatives were invited to meet in Ohio Aug. 18–20, 2013, to discuss technical aspects of preparing the nomination of a number of Ohio sites collectively known as the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
What Is the World Heritage List?
Administered by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization, or UNESCO, the World Heritage List is an official roster of properties associated with the world’s cultural and natural heritage that the World Heritage Committee regards as having outstanding universal value. Currently there are 981 properties worldwide on the list, among them the Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, Acropolis, Chartres Cathedral and Stonehenge.
The World Heritage List currently includes 21 sites in the United States, among them Independence Hall, the Statue of Liberty, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site and Everglades, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks.
Partners Collaborate to Nominate ‘Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks’
The Ohio Historical Society is collaborating with the National Park Service’s Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Ohio State University’s Newark Earthworks Center and the University of Cincinnati’s Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historic and Archaeological Sites to have a number of sites in Licking, Ross and Warren counties collectively known as the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks added to the World Heritage List.
Several of the sites – Fort Ancient, the Newark Earthworks and Seip Mound – are part of the Ohio Historical Society’s statewide system of historic, natural and archaeological sites. Five others proposed for inclusion are managed by the National Park Service as Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.
Experts Convene in Ohio
Participating in the Aug. 18–20 invitational conference and a tour of the sites were Hon. Glenna Wallace, chief of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma; Hon. Billy Friend, chief of the Wyandotte Nation; Gustavo Araoz, president of ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites; Willem Willems and Douglas C. Comer, co-presidents of the International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (IACHM); Helaine Silverman, professor of anthropology, University of Illinois, ICAHM member; Patricia M. O’Donnell of Heritage Landscapes LLC; and Phyllis Ellin of the National Park Service Office of International Affairs.
Local, state and federal officials were invited to receptions held in Newark, Chillicothe and Mason to get an update on the progress of the proposed nominations and hear about the economic benefits of World Heritage listing from national and international leaders in cultural preservation.
Overseas Visitors Seek Out World Heritage Sites
The proposal to nominate the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks has reached the United States’ World Heritage ‘tentative’ list, meaning that the United States may nominate the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks to the World Heritage List in the future. Two other Ohio nominations are on the ‘tentative’ list: Serpent Mound and Dayton Aviation Sites.
Recent studies indicate that visitors from outside the United States are often influenced by the desire to visit World Heritage Sites, and overseas travel operators and guidebooks promote World Heritage Sites heavily.
“Clearly, World Heritage Site status for the earthworks created by Ohio’s ancient peoples would be a tremendous boon to heritage tourism in our state and would be a giant leap forward in sharing Ohio’s archaeological and cultural treasures with the world,” says Ohio Historical Society Curator of Archaeology Brad Lepper.
Friends’ Group Formed to Support Proposed Nomination
It is estimated that $200,000 to $400,000 may be needed to complete the nomination process.
A ‘Friends’ group, Friends of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, has been formed to help raise awareness, expand outreach and involve leaders and businesses around the state in raising funds to support the nomination effort.
Hope Taft, former first lady of Ohio, is spearheading this effort, along with community leaders and other stakeholders. The Friends are implementing an outreach strategy and recruiting others willing to support their efforts. To learn more about contributing to support the nomination, call Kathy Wyatt of the Ohio Historical Society’s Office of Institutional Advancement at 800.647.6921 or 614.297.2308 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
See What’s on the World Heritage List
Click here to explore 981 places worldwide that are on the World Heritage List.