Hopwell Ceremonial Earthworks Named Ohio's first World Heritage Site

The Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau would like to announce that the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has officially inscribed the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks to the prestigious World Heritage List for their outstanding universal value to humanity! This inscription became official at 5:27 AM (EST) on September 19, 2023. This is the first World Heritage Site in the state of Ohio and became the twenty-fifth site for the United States of America.

The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks includes eight sites in central and southern Ohio. Ross County is home to five of the sites that are owned and operated by Hopewell Culture National Historical Park including Mound City Group, Hopeton Earthworks, Hopewell Mound Group, Seip Earthworks, and High Bank Works (not open to the public). The Ohio History Connection owns and operates three of the sites within the nomination including two in Licking County with the Great Circle Earthworks and the Octagon Earthworks, along with one site in Warren County, Fort Ancient Earthworks.

This designation will serve to preserve and protect these early-Native American sacred sites and share their story with domestic and international visitors. These ancient complexes were built 2,000 years ago and feature enormous earthen architecture with precise geometrical designs and astronomical alignments. This inscription ensures that these sites will continue to serve as a place for people to gather and learn about these brilliant ancestors.

“This designation has been in the works for 15 years and has taken numerous individuals, organizations, and tribal leaders to make happen.” Stated Melody Young, Executive Director, Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We can now celebrate this huge achievement that will help us share our story with the world.”

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