Junction Group Preservation Goals

What is being Preserved

To raise the funds needed to save the Junction Group, the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy partnered with several organizations, including The Archaeological Conservancy, the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System, Rivers Unlimited, the Friends of Serpent Mound, the Ohio Archaeological Council, the Newark Earthworks Center, the Archaeological Society of Ohio, and the South Central Ohio Preservation Society (SCOPS). All of the known earthworks of the Junction Group lie within Parcel 1. Parcel 1 was secured for conservation at the auction. All of HEC’s donations went toward the closing of Parcel 1.

Parcels coming up for auction; Parcel 1 (89.4 acres) contains the Junction Group

Also, however, the visionary decision was made by the some members of the coalition to attempt to purchase additional parcels to serve as buffer tracts to the earthworks in order to create a more appealing public park and give the ancient ceremonial site some separation from the inevitable development that will someday surround it. Therefore, in a bold move, the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System also raised funds for these tracts and was able to purchase  Parcels 3 and 4 at the auction. These parcels also have forests with large trees and have biodiversity conservation value. But the Arc did not stop there. They also negotiated directly with the land owners to purchase over a mile of river frontage between Parcels 1 (the earthworks) and 2 and Paint Creek, a tract that wasn’t even for sale yet!

The stage is now set for this site to become a beautiful public park someday, with a forested hillside to the east, a hiking trail along the river, gorgeous views of the tall tree-covered hills across Paint Creek and a natural ambience befitting an ancient Native American ceremonial site. The new park is scheduled to open to the public in late summer, 2015.


Junction Earthworks Archaeological Park and Nature Preserve

HEC’s Preservation Goals

Parcel 1, which includes all of the known earthworks, is owned by The Archaeological Conservancy, while all the buffer tracts are owned by the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System. The combined tracts form a new public park called the Junction Earthworks Archaeological Park and Nature Preserve. The park is overseen by the Junction Group Management Advisory Committee, of which the HEC is a member. Ultimately, HEC would like to see the park become part of Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.

A green space with interpretive paths will be established where the earthworks are located.  HEC would like to see this area managed with “interpretive mowing” that will allow visitors to see the size, shape and layout of the nine enclosures. Converting a farm field into a park is actually quite expensive. It must be planted with grass and native wildflowers in order to prevent it being overwhelmed by invasive alien plant species. The seeds have been planted, but this is a slow process. Native prairie plants take a long time to develop. For the first two years, the former crop fields may not be very presentable, with plenty of weedy species present, despite our best efforts. Eventually, however, the native species will dominate the landscape.

We also would like to continue to research the site, with more geophysical surveys and other minimally invasive studies to learn more about the fascinating ancient culture that built the earthworks.  We would like to see the survey continue over the rest of the park.  There may be other undiscovered earthworks or signs of ancient Native American settlements in the area. Therefore, HEC is holding the archaeological conservation easement in all the buffer tracts to make sure any additional cultural resources are protected.

Junction High Res Resurvey

In the Spring of 2015, HEC’s board president, Dr. Jarrod Burks, completed a new higher resolution magnetometry survey of the earthworks complex area. This huge undertaking was accomplished with the generous support of our donors and many volunteer hours on the part of Jarrod and his assistants. In the resulting image above, it is easy to see not only the ditches dug 2,000 years ago in black, but also, in faint gray, the clearly intact bases of the ancient walls. Though little is visible on the surface, it is now more clear than ever that those of you who contributed to HEC’s Save the Junction Group Campaign have achieved something that Americans will be grateful for in perpetuity.

What is the Junction Group?          How You Can Help