Hopewell Earthworks One Step Closer to Becoming World Heritage Site

The U.S. Department of the Interior is scheduled to publish a notice in the Federal Register tomorrow inviting Ohio's Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks as the United States’ next nomination to be prepared for World Heritage List consideration by the World Heritage Committee. 

The World Heritage List recognizes cultural and natural sites of global importance such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Statue of Liberty. An international treaty signed by 193 countries including the United States establishes the list. 

The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks nomination includes 2,000 year old American Indian earthworks sites in central and southern Ohio. The Newark Earthworks in Licking County and Fort Ancient in Warren County are Ohio History Connection sites; the National Park Service owns five sites at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Ross County included on the nomination as well. If successful, they would collectively be the first World Heritage sites in Ohio. There are 23 such sites in the United States and just over 1,070 across the globe. A dedicated group of Ohioans has been working toward inscription of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks nomination for more than 10 years. 

“For more than a decade we have worked to recognize Ohio earthworks on the World Heritage List and we are excited to be one step closer,” said Burt Logan, Executive Director & CEO of the Ohio History Connection. 

Jewel Harris, acting superintendent of Hopewell Culture National Historical Park adds, “This is a truly momentous occasion, and we look forward to sharing Ohio’s unique treasures with the world.” 

The World Heritage Committee votes each summer on new additions to the list. It is anticipated that the earliest the Ohio nomination could be considered for World Heritage status is summer 2021. 

“We are optimistic that the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks will be on the World Heritage List in a few short years,” said Logan. “Our work continues to bring this prestigious recognition to Ohio.” 

The World Heritage List seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted in 1972.

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