The Turner Earthworks site is a large Hopewell culture (100 BC-AD 500) ceremonial center formerly located along the Little Miami River in Hamilton County. The Turner Earthworks included a large, oval enclosure, referred to as the Great Enclosure, connected by a set of parallel walls to a smaller circular enclosure situated on a higher terrace of the river. The Great Enclosure was 1500 feet long and 950 feet wide. The circular enclosure was 600 feet in diameter and was surrounded by a ditch. Two smaller circles and several mounds were built within the Great Enclosure and there were other mounds within the circle as well as outside the enclosure to the west. A long, narrow enclosure with rounded ends was located south of the circle. This "Long Enclosure" was nearly a half-mile long and 250 feet wide. Frederic Ward Putnam, of Harvard's Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, explored the Turner Earthworks from 1882 to 1911. He uncovered a wonderful variety of artifacts crafted from copper, mica, and other exotic materials. Of particular note, are a series of small ceramic figurines representing Hopewell men and women in various poses. These figurines give us an intimate view of the past revealing clothing, hairstyles, jewelry, and a sense of how these ancient people viewed themselves. A List of all the major earthworks
found in Ohio Figurines.
The culture known to archaeologists as the Hopewell may be the most widely discussed but least understood ancient culture in Ohio, if not the entire eastern United States. ... existed in Ohio from about 100 B.C. to A.D. 500. The major Hopewell sites are geometric and hilltop enclosures along with burial mounds. For the most part, these sites are found in the river valleys of central and southern Ohio. Other groups in the Ohio Valley and eastern North America had contact with Ohio Hopewell, but they did not often build earthworks.
One of the great concentrations of mounds and earthworks occurs in west Ohio, in the drainages of the Miami and Little Miami Rivers. Perhaps I should say occurred. Many are now destroyed. The largest mounds remain, but the geometric earthworks are gone. Some smaller mounds are preserved also, such as the Newtown Cemetery Mound seen here.
Newtown Cemetery Mound 39.127333N 84.355667W GPS I found this small mound by coincidence. I had missed a turn, and Gary Meineke helped me find my way on the excellent county map at his T-V store. I was in the area looking for the Turner Group of earthworks.
Further down Riverbottom Road I noticed someone walking in a freshly plowed field staring at the ground. I stopped, walked out, and met him. He was hunting artifacts and knew where five mounds once stood in sight of our position, and he helped me with the location of the Turner Group. The next image shows the location. What the railroad tracks did not destroy has become lakes or deep excavations from gravel mining. The railroad track is visible, as is one of their track signs. The two rises behind the tracks, to either side of the sign, are narrow remnants of the third terrace where a great circle and mounds stood. Darkness fell after hiking out to these narrow ridges. I lost the Willoughby article out there, with some notes. In nearby Milford, a cemetery, shopping center, and a McDonalds now occupy one of the earthworks sites. Most of the day was spent looking for remnants of destroyed works.
11. Two miles northeast of this group, almost in the northeastern corner of the township, on the farm of Michael TURNER, is another very interesting series of ancient works, consisting of one large and one smaller enclosure and four mounds. The large enclosure, north and west of the Cincinnati & Eastern railroad, which, together with a small stream, passes between this and the other members of the group, is designated as No.1 upon Dr. Charles L. METZ's chart of the pre-historic monuments of the Little Miami valley; the smaller enclosure, about a fifth of a mile north of east of the other, and the northernmost of the four works east of the Cincinnati & Eastern track, as No. 2; the two mounds next south of this, in order, as Nos. 3 and 4; and the eminence east of No. 3 as No. 5. This explanation will render intelligible the following description, which is extracted from Dr. METZ's article accompanying the chart, in the journal of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History, for October, 1878:
No. 1 is the largest and most interesting work in the Miami valley. An extract from an article by T. C. DALE, or DAY, on the antiquities of the Miami valley, published in the November number of the Monthly Chronicle, in 1839, is as follows: "The site of this stupendous fortification, if we way so call it, is a few rods to the right of the road leading from Newtown to Milford, and about midway between them. It is situated on a ridge of land that juts out from the third bottom of the Little Miami, and reaches within three hundred yards of its bed.
From the top of the ridge to low-water mark is probably one hundred feet. It terminates with quite a sharp point and its sides are very abrupt, bearing evident marks of having once been swept by some stream of water, probably the Miami. It forms an extremity of an immense bend, curving into what is now called the third bottom, but which is evidently of alluvial formation. Its probable height is forty feet, and its length about a quarter of a mile before it expands out and forms the third alluvial bottom. About one hundred and fifty yards from the extreme point of this ridge the ancient workmen have cut a ditch directly through it. It is thirty feet in depth; its length, a semicircular curve, is five hundred feet; and its width at the top is eighty feet, having a level base of forty feet.
At the time of its formation it was probably cut to the base of the ridge, but the washing of the rains has filled it up to its present height. Forty feet from the western side of the ditch is placed the low circular wall of the fort, which describes in its circumference an area of about four acres. The wall is probably three feet in mean height, and is composed of the usual brick clay, occasionally intermixed with small flat river stone. It keeps at an exact distance from the top of the ditch, but approaches nearer to the edge of the ridge. The form of the fort is a perfect circle, and is two hundred yards in diameter. Its western side is defended with a ditch, cut through the ridge in the same manner as the one on the eastern side. Its width and depth are the same, but its length is greater by two hundred feet, as the ridge is that much wider than where the other is cut through. The wall of the fort keeps exactly the same distance from the top of this ditch as of the other, viz., forty feet. Its curve is exactly the opposite of that of the other, so as to form two segments of a circle. At the southeastern side of the fort there is an opening in the wall thirty-six yards wide; and opposite this opening is one of the most marked features of this wonderful monument. A causeway extends out from the ridge about three hundred feet in length and one hundred feet in width, with a gradual descent to the alluvial bottom at its base.
The material of its construction is evidently a portion of the earth excavated from the ditches. Its easy ascent and breadth would induce the belief that it was formed to facilitate the entrance of some ponderous vehicle or machines into the fort. To defend this entrance they raised a mound of earth seven feet high, forty wide, and seventy-five long. It is placed about one hundred feet from the mouth of the causeway, and is so situated that its garrison could sweep it to its base. The whole area of the fort, the wall and causeway is covered with large forest trees; but there is not a tree growing in either of the ditches, and there are but a few low underbrush on their side.
At present the circular wall is almost leveled, but can be readily traced by the color of the soil and the large number of flat river-stones. The ditches can be easily recognized. The mound is still prominent. It measures now in height five and one-half feet, diameter twenty-five yards, circumference seventy-five yards. The causeway is cut through by the Cincinnati & Eastern railroad, the forest cut away, and the soil cultivated annually.
No. 2 of this group is a large, circular embankment, with a diameter of about one hundred and twenty-five yards. The material forming the embankment is evidently taken from within the enclosure. This work is a perfect circle, with an opening or gateway thirty feet wide to the south. It is about three hundred yards distant from the first work of this group. Two hundred yards to the south of this circle are two mounds, No. 4 on chart being the larger. It has a circumference at base of two hundred and fifty feet and an elevation of twelve feet. One hundred and fifty yards east of these mounds is another of very regular shape (Group D, No. 5, on chart); height, four feet, circumference one hundred and fifty feet.
JH/August 6, 2010 Page 10 Mariemont and Newtown:
...village of Mariemont is a distinguished archaeological site. Along Miami Bluff Drive, a large, ancient earthwork wall remains visible among the trees. At the lower end of the street a historical marker commemorates the “Madisonville Site” where decisive archaeological discoveries were made, demonstrating the importance of this high terrace location in antiquity. ... Across the valley is Newtown, where Round Bottom Road passes the Odd-Fellows Cemetery, centered on a large, tree-covered burial mound. Three miles farther out, behind a railroad overpass near the corner of Mount Carmel and Round Bottom Roads, the vast overgrown gravel pits were once the spectacular Turner Earthworks from which came some of the Hopewell culture’s most spectacular artistry, including clay figurines, the mica serpent, and an effigy of a strange horned creature. Small sections of the earthwork remain but are inaccessible.