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When you ask someone what they know about archaeological sites in Ohio, earthworks are usually the first thing that comes to mind.  All over Ohio prehistoric people built earthworks that still remain with us today. Probably the best known earthwork is Serpent Mound in Adams County.  It is the largest serpentine effigy mound in the world and is listed as a National Historic Landmark. The Serpent Mound, along with a few conical burial mounds near it, has been preserved as a park since 1900 allowing for the public to come and enjoy this beautiful site.

Historic Map of the Serpent Mound Site.

Historic Map of the Serpent Mound Site.

On the 5th of July it was discovered that someone decided to take a “joy ride” up one of the burial mounds in their vehicle.  The damage doesn’t appear to be permanent but it will take some time and effort to restore the ground that was disturbed.  Police were called in to investigate and security cameras installed at the park helped them to discover exactly what happened and who committed this crime.  A young man from the area turned himself into police and confessed to the crime.  He was booked into the Adams County Detention Center on two fifth-degree felony charges of vandalism of a government-controlled property.  His bond was set at $25,000 for each charge.

View of Damage Caused by the Recent Vandalism

View of Damage Caused by the Recent Vandalism

Vandalism at Serpent Mound, Ohio

Vandalism at Serpent Mounds, Ohio








While this site is not owned by The Conservancy, it is still a major concern when we hear about something like this happening.  Vandalism and looting still occur on many sites throughout the country and it is something that is very hard to control.  Many of our sites are located in remote areas and are impossible to keep constant watch over.  We depend on many helpful neighbors and site stewards to aid us in the surveillance of our sites.

People need to respect these important archaeological sites all across the country and understand that behavior like this cannot be tolerated. You can help protect our archaeological heritage, help educate your community and if you are aware of vandalism or looting that is going on at a site please contact local police.

Josh McConaughy, Associate Director, Midwest Regional Office

Learn about The Archaeological Conservancy’s Mission and How We Started Preserving Sites

Learn more about the Archaeology of Ohio and the Protection of Serpent Mound