Moorehead Circle

Moorehead Circle

Moorehead Circle was a triple woodhenge constructed about two millennia ago at the Fort Ancient Earthworks in the U.S. state of Ohio.

The outer circle, discovered in 2005 by Jarrod Burks, is about 60 meters in diameter.[1] Robert Riordan, Professor of Archaeology at Wright State University and lead archaeologist investigating the site, estimates that about two hundred wooden posts were set in the outer circle.[2] Following the 2009 Field Season though, this estimate will likely be reevaluated given a huge number of tightly spaced post-molds found on the geographic south of the feature.

Thirty post-molds in all, were found in an eight meter long area excavated on the border of the circle. "A radiocarbon date on charcoal from a remnant trace of a post suggests it was built between 40 BC and AD 130. Burned timber fragments from the pit were dated AD 250 to AD 420."[2] Both dates fall into the time period of the Hopewell culture, preceding the Fort Ancient culture occupation that predominates the site. The use or uses of the circles has not been determined, although it is likely ceremonial.

Dr. Riordan named the circle in honor of Warren K. Moorehead, first curator of archaeology for the Ohio Historical Society and a leading North American archaeologist around the turn of the twentieth century, who was largely responsible for preservation of the Fort Ancient site.

Remnants of a small number of other woodhenges have been found in the central part of the United States, including at Cahokia in Illinois and the Stubbs Earthwork near Fort Ancient.

See also


  • Riordan, Robert. "Report on the Excavations of the Moorehead Circle at Fort Ancient, 2007." Wright State University Laboratory of Anthropology: Fairborn, Ohio 2008.
  • Cowan, Frank L. "An Ohio Hopewell 'Woodhenge,'" in Ohio Archaeology: An Illustrated Chronicle of Ohio's Ancient American Indian Cultures. Orange Frazer Press: Wilmington, Ohio. ISBN 1-882203-39-9

External links

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