Ohio’s Great Serpent Mound…what was it used for? What does it mean? No one really knows for sure, but there are plenty of theories.

First of all, the Great Serpent Mound is 1,300-foot long and three feet high, winding its snaky figure through the countryside in Ohio’s Adams County. It sits on top of an old crater and is said to be “the largest surviving prehistoric effigy mound in the world.” The head of the serpent has an open mouth, looking like it’s attempting to swallow an egg.

Passing over the other theories of what its purpose was, the most interesting one is that the snaky mound was used as a sacrificial altar hundreds of years ago. This concept was conceived after early settlers discovered the mound and found a blackened stone monument in the snake’s head. This stone was believed to be a sacrificial altar, as headless skeletons were found in nearby graves along with many knives and other blackened stones!

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Other theories:
It could have been used as an ancient calendar.
Represents an eclipse.
Represents the moon.
An effigy of the serpent that tempted Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden.

When was it built?
Chunks of charcoal were found with radiocarbon that was determined to be from around the year 1070…but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s when it was constructed. It could have been around for centuries before.

One last thing: in 1987 a finding was published, written by Clark & Marjorie Hardman, that stated the snake’s head and the “egg” aligns to the sunset of the summer solstice. So those who grew their own crops knew when to plant and schedule a harvest.

The gallery below has a good handful of photos of The Great Serpent Mound!

Great Serpent Mound: Peebles, Ohio

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