Flyfisher's Letterboxs
Adena Mound

Adena Mound
Cedarville, OH  Greene County
Difficulty: 2 (1 mile hike on trails)
Placed 4 December 2001 by Flyfisher

The Adena civilization in the Ohio Valley existed sometime between 4000 BC and 500 AD.  Nothing is known from the historical record of this civilization.  No written documents await deciphering.  "Burial mounds" and "fortifications" abound with several theories as to their use and purpose.  The woodland Indian nations that occupied this area when east coast European hunters arrived knew nothing of the builders of the ancient mounds and fort like enclosures scattered around the valley. 

A typical day in the life of a young man may have gone something like this: Rising in the morning with a crew of fellow hunters, armed with pointed spears, the party walks several miles through the beech and oak forests.  At a spring with yellow sulpher crystallized at its
edges, the hunters surround a full-grown bull moose.  A 14 year old son of the tribal head man lunges at the moose with his 8 foot long pole, pushing the stick into the root of the moose's neck, but themoose turns and charges the youth.  Trampled, the young man does not rise from the muddy ground. 

Our 18-year-old hunter and the rest of the party surround the weakening beast and wear it down, finally getting it to the ground an hour later.  The hunters break out their hand shaped flint knives and begin the gruesome task of skinning the animal and reducing the carcass into pieces that can be carried by a man on the 6-mile journey home. 

The 13 year old, whose neck was snapped by the moose lapses into a coma and then stops breathing.  Such hunting accidents make the hunt both dangerous and heroic.  This son's daring will be spoken of for many years to come. 

Back at the village, the head man has already heard the sad news. All members of the tribe have stopped their daily work and begun to carry woven purses of clay and water from the creek to the nearby burial mound.  Soon the surface of the ancient mound is slick from
the application of the fresh coat of dirt and water.  Only a single strip remains from the bottom to the top where the workers have carried their loads to the top before releasing them down the sides of mound. 

The burial crypt has been prepared, and the next day, the honored son is laid to rest, with suitable remarks, immersed in thick soupy clay, in the same fetal position he was born.  More dirt and water is added to the mound as the village folk go about their never ending need to work, play, eat, and grow.   Tomorrow a new hunting party will go a field to look for game. 

Note:  (Nothing is actually known of the mound you will visit.  Some mounds have been found to be places of funerary activities, others have not contained graves.  This mound has never been excavated.)  As you approach this possible gravesite, do so with the same reverence you would any other hallowed ground. To wit, south of Cedarville on US 42 is a park called Indian Mound Preserve.  It has 3 parking lots along Route 42.  Park in the middle lot.  It may help to find this lot if you use a GPS receiver or print a topographic map centered on N 39.7377 W 83.8287. 

Leave the parking lot, walking on a road at 335 degrees.  From the far side of the bridge, 53 paces later (1 pace = 2 steps, about 5 feet) bear right (40 degrees) onto a trail.  Follow this trail, and at the fork with the wooden bridge, bear left up the rocky path to the mound. 

Climb the mound via the steps.  When you are exactly half way up, memorize the number of wooden steps you have taken up the mound.  Then finish the climb and enjoy the scenery.  Imagine what it would have been like 500 years ago.

Descend the steps and walk back toward the parking lot.  Entering the woods, take exactly the number of steps you memorized from your climb.  In front of you, on the right are two walnut trees about 18 inches in diameter right on the path.  At the second one, 10 feet away up the hill is another walnut tree of the same size.  The base of that tree is hollow.  Look under the rock.

After stamping up, I would ask you to read this whole description again from your resting point.  Make up another story about how this mound came to be when what we call the Adena civilization was at its height.  Your idea is likely to bear as much weight as mine, and
likely as much weight at that of professional archeologists.   The simple truth is, we don't have the foggiest idea what happened here.  Want to know the real truth? As the "Dread Pirate Roberts" said:  "Get used to disappointment."   

Before you set out read the waiver of responsibility and disclaimer.

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