Hopewell Ceremonial Landscapes of Ohio: More than Mounds and Geometric Earthworks

By Mark J. Lynott

(Oxbow Books, 2015; 288 pgs., illus., $32 paper; www.amazon.com)

When Europeans first encountered the great earthen mounds and geometric earthworks of southern Ohio, they were so amazed at their size and complexity that they refused to attribute them to Native Americans. After more than 150 years of scientific research, archaeologists have finally begun to understand these mysterious monuments.

The late Mark Lynott was an archaeologist for the National Park Service for 34 years, and he spent much of that time applying the latest technology to the study of the Hopewell culture. In this volume, Lynott describes the remaining mound-builder sites of southern Ohio and the people who have endeavored to understand them. The result is a very readable history of an important part of American archaeology.

Scientific pioneers of the 19th century were the first to tackle the many problems of the Hopewell mounds. They determined that they were built by Native Americans, but little more. More recently, a new generation of scholars has again taken up the challenge. Using modern archaeological techniques like remote sensing, radiocarbon dating, and ancient DNA studies, they promise to increase our understanding of these earthworks. Lynott also sets out goals for new research and proposes new projects.

An excellent overview of the Hopewell culture and the archaeologists who have studied it, Hopewell Ceremonial Landscapes of Ohio is a significant addition to a rich archaeological tradition.

Read more Book Reviews in our Summer 2015 Issue of American Archaeology, Vol. 19 No. 2

American Archaeology is available on Newsstands and at Bookstores, Subscriptions are available by becoming a member of the Archaeological Conservancy.


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