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As of 1848, Ross County was described as having almost "one hundred enclosures of various sizes, and five hundred mounds", as well as numerous tumuli created by Indigenous peoples of the Americas by Ephraim George Squier and Edwin Hamilton Davis in their book, Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley. They describe the earthworks as ranging from five to 30 feet in size, and enclosures of one to 50 acres large.
In 1800, the United State Congress designated Chillicothe as the capital of the "eastern section" of the Northwest Territory. Two years later the State Constitutional Convention was held in Chillicothe and in 1803, when Ohio entered the Union, Chillicothe became the first state capital. Consequently, Chillicothe is home to four of the State's Governors, all four of which are buried in Chillicothe at the beautiful Grandview Cemetery.
Evidence of the Hopewell Indian Culture stretches from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Never the less, there are far more of their giant geometric complexes in Ohio than anywhere else.
Specifically, they appear to have been built mostly in Southern Ohio, as well as across the borders into northern Kentucky and eastern Indiana. This region is known as "The Hopewell Heartland" and is the primary focus of the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy's efforts.
Even more amazing is the awesome concentration of the major earthworks complexes in one county of Ohio, Ross County. Beginning about 2,000 years ago, Ross County, Ohio, was clearly one of the most important ceremonial centers in what is now the U.S.A. for hundreds of years. Was the Chillicothe area the site of a powerful religious phenomenon 2,000 years ago? Is there something about the way the rivers leave the plains and flow into the Appalachian foothills here? What is it about Ross County Ohio that inspired these people to create one of most glorious sets of monuments in North America?
It is clear that the ancient monuments of this extraordinary culture are a nationally significant part of American history. Hence, many of them are protected by the National Park Service as part of Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. However, the great earthworks of the Hopewell Culture may even be considered globally significant.