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Mysterious Beginnings

Long before Marietta was settled by pioneers and patriots, a series of earthworks, walls, roads, and mounds were constructed by ancient hands- no one knows exactly when.

Some historians believe the mounds were built by the Hopewell culture during 100 to 500 A.D. for use as a ceremonial center. Others say the earthworks were constructed by the Adenas from 800 to 700 B.C. as part of a mound builder city.

In keeping with the pledge of Marietta’s founding fathers to preserve the earthworks, the largest mound became the site of a cemetery and the final resting place of Revolutionary War veterans. An arrangement of paths and pyramid shaped enclosures were set aside as public park space- a Sacra Via, or sacred way, to be explored by generations to come.

As with other great wonders of the ancient world, like the  Sphinx, the pyramids, and Stonehenge, different cultures have their own legends and theories on the origins of the mounds. The name “mound builders” refers not to a particular ethnic group, but to a number of cultures who built earthworks over thousands of years. Their mysterious handiwork has been attributed to Vikings, the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, Greeks, Africans, Chinese, people from the lost continent of Atlantis, and the hand of God.

Because the remain such an enigma, the earthworks have inspired many hoaxes. The subject of legends and tales, the mounds have also inspired great art.

The Mound Cemetery in Marietta Ohio is one of the largest earthworks in the area.