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Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (USA)

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Country: USA / World Region: North America

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      09.12.2001 15:44
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      We spent a week in Ohio during the summer of 1999 and Hopewell Culture National Historical Park was the main reason we went. We had heard of the many Mounds left by Native Americans. Mounds are formations built by certain tribes of Native Americans, which range from various sizes of ceremonial or burial mounds which mostly resemble small, well-formed hills to the more inexplicable mounds that were shaped to form animals or designs as seen from the air. This park was said to have the best museum on the topic. While small, we were not let down! I must admit the mounds found at the Hopewell National Park and Museum, were not the most impressive to view, but the wealth of information available at the museum painted very interesting pictures (no pun intended). How these mounds were discovered, where similar mounds can be found, reasons why they may have been built, a short highly informative film, and a small but beautiful collection of artifacts really helped to educate and entertain our family. However what shone above everything were the friendly, helpful people who work at the museum. They engaged our kids in conversation, got them involved in their Jr. Ranger program (All National Parks in the U.S.A. have an informational program that children can complete to earn a patch or badge), really made them work for it, AND made it all alot of fun! They were wonderful! I couldn't thank them enough for making an educational experience such fun for the whole family! Many items were available in the gift shop, most of which were informative works on both Native Americans, and Mound Cultures. There were story and coloring books for the youngest, arrow heads and stones for my Jr. rockhounds, lovely reproduced historical maps at reasonable prices for Dad, and beautiful reproductions of Native American Totem pipes, figures, and jewelery for Mom! Considering that this was also a drought year and temperatures were soaring, EVERYONE was grate
      ful to sit in the air conditioning and sip some cold water from their public fountain. I'm also sure we would have enjoyed the informative trail a lot more without the oppressive heat! The rambling river-side trail was easy to explore being rather level and well maintained. There were plenty of information signs along the trail that gave a wealth of information ranging through local flora and fauna, what such things had been used for at the time, local occupations of the time, geological information, and general local history. Definitely a unique experience. While you are touring Ohio's Mounds be sure not miss Snake Mound! This was the most impressive mound by far, which can be viewed at two different angles from small towers. Once there, you can see this impressive mound actually forms the figure of a snake! There was also a lovely cliff view, huge beautiful trees and nice picnic areas as well! I found myself contemplating this unique mound for many days after we had left, wondering about the possible motivation behind constructing such a formation. So, if you should ever happen to be in the area, or are interested in Native Americans and Indian mounds, be sure to check this museum out.

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