MTM Cincinnati: Ft. Ancient

On a hill overlooking the Little Miami River about 30 miles north of Cincinnati sits Ft. Ancient.  It’s a mysterious site once occupied the culture named for it.  The Ft. Ancients were a civilization that lived in the Ohio River valley from 1000 AD to around 1650.  However, the Ft. Ancients, who were what was known as a mound-building culture, didn’t build Ft. Ancient.  An earlier civilization called the Hopewell built it.

But what did the Ft. Ancients and their predecessors leave behind?

For starters, they built earthen structures resembling pyramids beginning nearly a thousand years before the Egyptians.  The most famous of these is Cahokia in Illinois.  The mound building civilizations were usually short-lived.  Indeed, by the time the Ft. Ancients had disappeared, the modern Iroquois and Algonquin tribes.  The cultures often lasted only a few generations before disbanding and moving on.  They did, however, leave behind many mounds in the Cincinnati area, including Woodland Mound in Anderson Township east of the city.

Ft. Ancient is the site of a former village.  Like many Mound Builder villages, Ft. Ancient is built in terraces overlooking a river, in this case, the Little Miami.  The park that exists is surrounded by an earthen wall that was likely used for defense.

Inside the park, near the museum center, are some mysterious small mounds.  What are they?  Don’t know.  I tried Googling it, but I’m sure someone can enlighten us.

In a few weeks, I’ll get some shots of Woodland Mound so you can see what an actual Hopewell mound looks like.

More at the My Town Monday blog.

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