FORT HILL STATE MEMORIAL
Fort Hill State Memorial is a nature preserve containing one of the best preserved Indian hilltop enclosures in North America. The Hopewell Indians (100 B.C.-A.D. 500) constructed the 1 1/2 mile long earthwork hilltop enclosure as well as at least two ceremonial buildings and probably a village in the Brush creek Valley.
Lying at the western edge of the Allegheny Plateau, immediately south of the glacial boundary, this hilly area contains an impressive diversity of bedrock, soils, flora, and fauna. There are 11 miles of hiking trails at the 1,200 acre preserve as well as a picnic area. The museum reopened in the fall of 2000 after an extensive renovation. New exhibits include a variety of hands-on and interactive, multimedia displays depicting the geology, flora and fauna of Fort Hill..
Fort Hill State Memorial is located near Hillsboro, Ohio, and is known for its ancient earthworks, which are some of the most impressive in the state. These earthworks were built by the indigenous people of the Hopewell culture between 100 B.C. and 500 A.D. and are believed to have been used for ceremonial and social purposes.
The site was first surveyed in the early 19th century by John Locke, who was mapping the region for land grants. However, it wasn't until the mid-20th century that the significance of the earthworks was recognized by archaeologists. In the 1950s, the Ohio Historical Society began excavations and research at the site, which led to its designation as a state memorial in 1965.
The earthworks at Fort Hill are impressive in their scale and complexity. The site includes a nearly complete circular earthwork enclosure, known as a hilltop enclosure or fort, which spans over 12 acres and is surrounded by walls measuring up to 8 feet in height. The enclosure contains several smaller mounds and a central plaza.
The purpose of the earthworks is not entirely clear, but it is believed that they were used for ceremonial and social gatherings. The site's hilltop location offers panoramic views of the surrounding area, suggesting that it held a significant role in the cultural landscape of the Hopewell people.
Fort Hill State Memorial is open to the public, and visitors can explore the earthworks and learn about the history and archaeology of the site through interpretive signage and guided tours. The earthworks are a testament to the cultural achievements of the Hopewell people and provide valuable insights into the ancient past of Ohio.