Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve
Oregonia, Ohio 45054
Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve website
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About Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve
$5.00 Seniors (60+)
$5.00 Students (6–16)
Children under 6 and members are free.
Outdoor admission (no Museum access)
Ohio History Connection members are always Free.
Early investigations at Fort Ancient were conducted in the form of mapping expeditions in the early 1800s and expanded towards the end of the century to surface collecting and full-scale excavations by William King Moorehead, a local man from Xenia, Ohio. Moorehead, along with others, was convinced that the impressive bluff-top embankment walls were created to defend against invaders. Later research showed, however, that Fort Ancient represents an embankment of ceremonial space rather than a fortress. Archaeological investigations have been nearly continuous at Fort Ancient since Moorehead, but the techniques used and the information gained have drastically changed how the site is viewed.
In 2005, Dr. Jarrod Burks performed remote sensing, a method for detecting what is below the ground without actually digging, in areas that had not been previously excavated. These tests revealed a mysterious feature never seen before in Hopewell archeology, a circular arrangement of posts nearly 60 meters (about 200 feet) in diameter. The Ohio Historical Society asked Dr. Robert Riordan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio to conduct an archaeological investigation in this newly discovered area with the help of his Field School in Archeology. He began excavations in 2006 and has continued each summer since. At the center of this ring of posts, now referred to as the Moorehead Circle, there lays a shallow basin filled with presumably burned red clay. Currently, there are several research projects based on the work being done at the Moorehead Circle in hopes that we might gain insight into how it was used and, potentially, how Fort Ancient itself was used in prehistory.
On August 1, 2009, the Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH), the parent organization of the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park, assumed management of the day-to-day operations at the Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve. This partnership between the Ohio History Connection and DSNH assures that Fort Ancient will remain a protected piece of American prehistory that is available for the public to enjoy.
From Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve website
Restrooms on site.