Fort Ancient (Lebanon, Ohio)

Fort Ancient (Lebanon, Ohio)

Infobox_nrhp | name =Fort Ancient
nrhp_type = nhl

caption = Nearly two miles of trails wind through Fort Ancient State Memorial's convert|764|acre|km2
nearest_city= Lebanon, Ohio
locmapin = Ohio
area =
added = October 15, 1966
governing_body = State
refnum=66000625cite web|url=|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]

Fort Ancient is a collection of American Indian mounds and earthen walls located in Washington Township, Warren County, Ohio, along the eastern shore of the Little Miami River about seven miles (11 km) southeast of Lebanon on State Route 350. The site is the largest prehistoric hilltop enclosure in the United States with three and one-half miles (18,000 ft) of walls in a convert|100|acre|km2|sing=on complex. Built by the Hopewell Indians, who lived in the area from the first century BC to the sixth century AD, the site is situated on a wooded bluff convert|270|ft|m above the Little Miami. The location is named for the Fort Ancient Indians who occupied it from the eleventh century to the fifteenth century.


The Fort Ancient earthworks were built in three stages over a period estimated at 400 years using the shoulder blades of deer, split elk antler, clam shell hoes and digging sticks to loosen the dirt, and baskets holding 35 to 40 pounds to carry and distribute it. Archaeologists estimate the total volume of earth in the walls at convert|553000|cuyd|m3.


Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley".] Originally thought to have been created to provide shelter against enemies, this is generally no longer believed to be true for the following reasons:
* Ditches are located inside the walls, rather than outside as a means of defense.
* More than 60 gateways, which could not have been quickly blocked in case of attack, are present in the walls.
* Evidence has not been found for the number of occupants necessary for a significant defense force.

The prevailing opinion now is that the walls were designed for social, ceremonial and astronomical purposes. In the Northeast corner of the complex, four circular stone-covered mounds are arranged in a square and apparently functioned as a calendar by using gaps in the walls that are aligned to significant seasonal positions of the rising sun and moon.

The State of Ohio purchased the land and made it Ohio's first state park in 1891. It is now a National Historic Landmark.


The site now includes a convert|9000|sqft|m2|sing=on museum covering 15,000 years of American Indian heritage in the Ohio Valley. Topics include the earliest people to settle in North America, the development of agriculture, and the impact of Europeans who migrated to the area and came into conflict with its inhabitants. The Museum also contains a classroom, a research area, and a gift shop. The site is open to the public from April through October; group tours are available by appointment on a year round basis.

Fort Ancient Village

which occupies the former railway land that follows the River. There is a public access and parking for the Little Miami River at the site.

ee also

* List of Registered Historic Places in Warren County, Ohio
*Fort Ancient
*Mound builder (people)

External links

* [ Ohio Historical Society's official page on Fort Ancient]
* [ Fort Ancient Earthworks]
* [ Shaker Valley information]
* [ Article on the history of Fort Ancient Village]
* [ Historic Photo of Fort Ancient Village]


*Elva R. Adams. "Warren County Revisited". [Lebanon, Ohio] : Warren County Historical Society, 1989.
*Robert L. Black. "The Little Miami Railroad". Cincinnati: n.p., 1940.
*"The Centennial Atlas of Warren County, Ohio". Lebanon, Ohio: The Centennial Atlas Association, 1903.
*Josiah Morrow. "The History of Warren County, Ohio". Chicago: W.H. Beers, 1883. (Reprinted several times)
*"Ohio Atlas & Gazetteer". 6th ed. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme, 2001. ISBN 0-89933-281-1
*Warren County Engineer's Office. "Official Highway Map 2003". Lebanon, Ohio: The Office, 2003.
* Bradley Thomas Lepper (2005). "Ohio Archaeology". Orange Frazer Press. ISBN 1-882203-39-9

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