Newark Earthworks

Octagon Earthworks, Newark Earthworks, Newark, Ohio

Octagon Earthworks, Newark Earthworks, Newark, Ohio

The Newark Earthworks now consists of two sites, the Great Circle and the Octagon Earthworks. Already a National Historic Landmark, in 2006, the State of Ohio designated the Newark Earthworks as “the official prehistoric monument of the state.” The Newark Earthworks are the largest set of geometric earthen enclosures in the world. In The Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World (1999), Cambridge University archeologist, Chris Scarre named the Newark Earthworks as one of only three North American sites that qualified as an ancient wonder. (The others are Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and Cahokia in Illinois.) Compared with other ancient wonders, the Newark earthworks are colossal.

  • Great Circle Museum: Visitors are invited to watch an interactive video explaining the significance of the site and tour a 1,000-square-foot exhibit that includes a timeline of Ohio’s ancient cultures and an explanation of why American Indians regard the Newark Earthworks as a sacred site. The exhibit also details how the earthworks align with the rising and setting of the moon. Following the museum tour, visitors can take self-guided tours of the grounds during daylight hours. The Great Circle Museum is also the new home of the Licking County Convention and Visitors Bureau (LCCVB).
  • Great Circle Earthworks: Formerly known as Moundbuilders State Memorial, the Great Circle Earthworks is nearly 1,200 feet in diameter and was likely used as a vast ceremonial center by its builders. The 8 feet (2.4 m) high walls surround a 5 feet (1.5 m) deep moat, except at the entrance where the dimensions are even greater and more impressive.
  • Octagon Earthworks: Enclosing 50 acres, the Octagon Earthworks has eight walls, each measuring about 550 feet long and from five to six feet in height. The Octagon Earthworks are joined by parallel walls to a circular embankment enclosing 20 acres. At present the Octagon Earthworks is also the site of the Mound Builders Country Club golf course. Use care in viewing them. Guidelines are posted at the site. Learn more about the Newark Earthworks here: http://www.ohiohistory.org/museums-and-historic-sites/museum–historic-sites-by-name/newark-earthworks

*Note that this site visit includes significant walking and standing outdoors in areas not sheltered from the weather during the on-site presentations by Dr. Bradley Lepper.

National Weather Service Forecast for Newark Earthworks (Thursday)