Miamisburg Mound Park

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Welcome to the Miamisburg Mound Park located in Miamisburg Ohio

            


Miamisburg Mound State Memorial

The Miamisburg Mound is best known but least understood major prehistoric Indian feature in Ohio. It is the largest conical shaped earthwork of its kind in the United States and possible the world. Originally, it measured 68 or more feet in height. As a result of at least one attempt to excavate it, the height of the Miamisburg Mound has been reduced to 65 feet. The circumference is 877 feet.  Indian Mound (pictured above) – Once serving as an ancient burial site, the Mound stands as perhaps the most recognizable historic landmark in Miamisburg. It is the largest conical burial Mound east of the Mississippi River and remains virtually intact from its origins hundreds of years ago. Located in a City park at 900 Mound Avenue, it is an Ohio historical site and serves as a popular attraction and picnic destination for area families. Visitors can climb to the top of the Mound via concrete steps built into its side.

The site was partially excavated in 1869 when a vertical shaft was sunk from the top to the base, with two horizontal tunnels extending from it. The investigators found one skeleton covered with bark eight feet down; a second "vault" 36 feet from the top surrounded with logs was discovered. Throughout the vertical shaft various layers of ashes and stone were encountered implying that the Mound was built in several stages. The entire Miamisburg mound has never been systematically excavated. Such a project would take several years of careful, scientifically-controlled work.

Because of its conical shape, the type of burial found within it, and the absence of associated earthworks, the Miamisburg mound is believed by archaeologists to have been the work of the Adena (Indian) prehistoric culture. The Adena culture was given its name by Ohio Historical Society archaeologist William C. Mills in 1902 after he had delineated its attributes from excavations on the Adena plantation at Chillicothe of Ohio’s sixth Governor Thomas Worthington.

The origin of these very advanced peoples is not known. They arrived or developed in the Ohio River Valley about 1000 BC The first Indians of the region to domesticate plant foods such as squash, sunflower, and pumpkins, they lived in permanent settlements composed of from two to four cone-shaped bark huts located near streams. Sometimes their villages were enclosed with circular earthen walls from four to five feet high.

The Adena peoples were the first to make pottery in what is now Ohio. Adena pots as large as eighteen inches high and twelve to fourteen inches in diameter have been found. They made a wide assortment of tools from bone and flint to assist them in their daily occupations. Their principal weapon was the spear.

They fashioned beautiful and often abstract works of art such as clay smoking pipes in human and animal forms. They adorned their bodies with copper, shell, and slate ornaments; rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Incised stone tablets bearing elaborate, abstract designs by these people have been found.

The Adena Indians were the first in Ohio to build earthworks and burial mounds, giving rise to their popular name, Mound Builders. These peoples, unlike the Hopewell mound-building culture which followed them tended to create their mounds in conical form. Elaborate death ceremonies were evidently developed during which they buried their dead beneath earthen mounds, which grew in size as the culture became more developed. Square or rectangular log tombs sometimes enclosed bodies within the mounds.

The Adena Indians had larger heads than their predecessors of other cultures. Their foreheads were high and broad, their jaws prominent. Cheekbones were high and noses often hooked. men averaged five feet, six inches in height; women five feet, two inches. Their civilization was centered in what is now southern Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. before their demise about 400 AD they are credited with devising an elaborate social and governmental system to permit the construction with crude tools and baskets of the great mounds like the Miamisburg Mound.

The first pioneer settlers of southwestern Ohio discovered and marveled at the mound, and theorized about the identity of its builders. Primitive artists and early photographers came to capture the mound on canvas and film. The site became a park in 1920 when Charles F. Kettering of Dayton purchased it from the heirs of John Treon. Mr. Kettering gave the land with its mound to the Ohio Historical Society in 1929. Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Miller donated an additional two and one-half acres in 1936. The park is leased for maintenance purposes by the Society to The City of Miamisburg. One hundred and sixteen stone steps lead to the top of the mound.

It is open daylight hours throughout the year. Picnic facilities are available.  Archaeological investigations of the surrounding area suggest that it was constructed by the prehistoric Adena Indians (800 BC - AD 100). Built on a 100-foot-high bluff, the mound measures 877 feet in circumference. It was originally more than 70 feet high.

Visitors may climb the 116 steps from its base to the summit for a view of the surrounding park. The 37-acre park has picnic tables and a playground.

Miamisburg Mound is located on Mound Avenue in Miamisburg, Montgomery County, Ohio. It may be reached from Exit 44 of Interstate Route 75. Signs on major streets direct you to the park. Click here for a Google Map.

 

Enjoy some Pictures

     Miamisburg Mound 1920s                    Mound 1909July 9, 2002

         

       

July 30, 2008

 
 
Please enjoy looking around the site.  There are lots of pictures and information and maybe a little bit of fun.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me (Jay Robinson)
 
 

 
 
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