Miamisburg Mound Reviews
Sacred Mound Nov 01, 2010
There is a remarkable historical landmark just outside of Dayton, Ohio. The Miamisburg Mound is the largest conical burial mound in the United States and probably the world. I realize “largest conical burial mound” contains enough adjectives that it might trivialize the claim, but forget whether or not it is the biggest and simply revel in the grandeur.
The mound was built by the first Native American tribe around Ohio to move away from the hunter-gatherer mode, the Adenas, more familiarly known as the ‘Mound Builders’ (also known as the ‘First Ohioans’ by abandoning a nomadic lifestyle and settling down here). I can attest that they built many other burial mounds throughout the area, but the Miamisburg Mound is clearly the grand-daddy.
Believed to have reached a height of seventy feet, the mound was sadly taken down to 65-feet by excavations begun in 1869, which confirmed that it was indeed a burial site. I am uncertain why the archaeological exploration ceased, but am grateful the desecration was suspended. The mound would become a park when Charles Kettering (the inventor of the electric starter for automobiles and leaded gasoline among other things…I actually work in a town named Kettering in his honor and you might be familiar with his philanthropy through the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Foundation) purchased the grounds in 1920, turning it over to the Ohio Historical Society in 1929.
The mound has since become part of a pleasant 37-acre public park, the only modern impact being steps leading up to a stone observation platform at the peak. I’ve read there are 116 steps to the top, though I only counted 113 when I made a quick field trip here over lunch to mark my first return to this stunning site in seven years. There is a serene and calming atmosphere when you are atop this sacred ground, in spite of the brisk breeze which chilled me today.
It is believed the mound grew to its enormous proportions between 800 BC and AD 100, so you are truly standing on ancient grounds if you visit this site. The Adena tribe seems to have existed from 1000 BC to AD 200, implying the traditional burials occurred during their peak years of prosperity. There is no admission charge to visit the Miamisburg Mound, you only need to pay tribute if you happen to be in the Dayton area and wish to drop in on this historical site.
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