Hike to Glenford Fort hilltop enclosure


WHERE: Perry County, Ohio, near the towns of Glenford and Somerset

WHEN: Saturday May 9, 2015

TIME: 10 am to 3 pm

COST: Free of charge, but advanced registration required.

DIFFICULTY: Rugged off trail hike with significant ascent, about 2 miles.

Join HEC archaeologists and educators on a rare opportunity to visit the mysterious Hopewell hilltop enclosure at Glenford Fort – HEC’s newest conservation project. On Saturday, May 9, registrants are invited to explore this rugged undeveloped area that is home to an ancient ceremonial site enclosed with a rock wall – one of only three known plateaus that the Hopewell culture surrounded with a wall of stone instead of earth. The site is dramatic. The builders augmented an existing sandstone outcropping will a low mound of rocks. The local sandstone glistens with silica crystals that in recent times have been valued for their purity and commercially mined in nearby quarries. In the middle of the enclosure, the ancients built a giant stone mound. The mound was excavated by amateur archaeologists in the 1980s and has yet to be restored. Nonetheless, the mound is still an awesome place to visit, now with a rock-enclosed pond where the middle of the mound once stood. This time of year, the cattail pond is full of frogs, tadpoles and even newts. Outside the enclosure, at the southern tip of the plateau,  stands the remains of a classic Hopewell enclosure in the shape of a “squircle,” where HEC president and archaeologist Jarrod Burks is currently conducting a magnetometry survey. The squircle may be cardinally aligned. Jarrod will be sharing an image of the magnetic data collected to date with all participants. 11077949_781796251888887_7094686876456493211_n

This conservation initiative is powered by a new coalition: the HEC, the Perry County Historical Society, the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System and the Perry County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Glenford Fort is not normally open to public visitation and there are no facilities at this undeveloped site. This rugged hike will be along farm roads, over open agricultural fields and through the forest without a trail. The ascent is mostly gradual, but the climb in elevation is significant and the footing is uneven.

Lunch will be provided by the Perry County Historical Society.

More information will be sent to registrants. Contact the email address below with any questions.

REGISTRATION: The event is free of charge, but advanced registration is required. Registration closes Sunday May 3. Register by sending your name(s) by email to director@earthworksconservancy.org




Remembering Dr. N’omi Greber

This week Dr. N’omi Greber, an advisor to the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy, an accomplished Hopewell archaeology scholar, and a dear colleague passed away. N’omi was more than a colleague to most of us, she was a mentor, a friend, and a kind heart. Her research at the High Bank Works, Hopewell Mound Group, the Seip Earthworks, and the Harness Works greatly advanced our knowledge of the Hopewell and brought much attention to earthworks. She was a pioneer in the application of geophysics to Hopewell archaeology and her publications helped bridge the gap between the Hopewell and Adena. I first encountered N’omi through her writing when I arrived for graduate school at Ohio State University in 1994. I was asked to proof read an edited volume my advisor Bill Dancey was putting together, and when I got to the chapter N’omi had written it was apparent to my young eyes that N’omi stood out from the crowd. At first I thought she seemed less scientific, but in fact her research and field work were always very rigorous and well planned, adhering to the highest standards. Now that I look back on it, what I think set N’omi’s writing apart was her attempt to bring real people into her discussions and conclusions about the past. That’s not an easy thing to do when counting pot sherds and mapping posthole locations. And N’omi’s attention to detail was unparalleled. I know because in the last eight years she and I worked together very closely on a project to summarize and present work originally done by the Ohio Historical Society in the 1970s at Seip. My job was to create maps of all of the excavation results, including very detailed plans of building foundations and such. Though we were many miles apart as I did my work, I could almost feel N’omi looking over my shoulder…making sure every line was in just the right place. Thank you N’omi for instilling in me an attention to detail that I shall carry on for the rest of my career, and pass on to others. Your legacy of patience, scholarship, and kind-heartedness lives on in all of us who you touched over the many decades of your career. And I hope you finally get to have a word with all of those mischievous “Hopewell sprites” who you were always crediting with any technical glitch we encountered during research and presentations.

Jarrod Burks, President
Heartland Earthworks Conservancy

Coalition Closes on Junction Group Earthworks

Early in 2014, the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy heard that the Junction Group Earthworks were going up for auction. With only three weeks notice, HEC leapt into action and mobilized a coalition of conservation organizations to spread the word and raise funds to purchase the property. And it worked! The coalition prevailed at the auction on March 18, 2014, a historic day for ancient earthworks preservation.

The director of the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System, Nancy Stranahan, managed and received a major grant from the Clean Ohio Fund, which funded 75% of the cost of the property. Nancy Stranahan and HEC Director Bruce Lombardo then met with the owners at a law office in Hillsboro, Ohio, to close on the property. The property will now become a public park to open some time in 2015! To find out more about the Junction Group and what is being preserved, click here.

Junction Group Closing
Junction Group Closing

Archaeologist Jarrod Burks is New HEC President

One of the founding HEC trustees Dr. Jarrod Burks has been elected the new board president for Heartland Earthworks Conservancy. Jarrod Burks is a professional archaeologist who works for a private archaeology firm in Columbus, Ohio. Jarrod received his PhD and MA degrees in anthropology (archaeology) from The Ohio State University and his BA degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. His research interests include Hopewell settlement practices and locating and studying the layout of Ohio’s many earthwork sites. He is a regional leader in the cutting edge of using noninvasive geosurvey technology to map the foundations of ancient earthworks, and has discovered several earthworks previously unknown to science using such technology as magnetometry, electrical resistivity meters and ground penetrating radar. Jarrod has also served as president of the Ohio Archaeological Council, a nonprofit organization of professional and avocational archaeologists.

HEC Director Interviewed on WBEX Radio

In October 2013, reporter Kevin Coleman of WBEX radio in Chillicothe interviewed HEC director Bruce Lombardo about why Ohio’s ancient Native American earthwork sites are important. Bruce had just finished presenting his PowerPoint program on the topic to prominent historians and tourism industry leaders in Chillicothe, Ohio. Chillicothe is the county seat of Ross Count, which, based on its intense concentration of enormous ceremonial earthwork complexes, was likely the epicenter of the Hopewell Culture. You can listen to the full interview by clicking here.

HEC’s Fort Ancient Event Provided Unique Opportunity


Dr. Jarrod Burks guides participants through the South Fort area.


Dr. Robert Riordan explains his findings at the excavation of Moorehead Circle’s “grand entrance.”

Twenty participants registered for HEC’s special event at Fort Ancient on June 29, 2013. Archaeologist Dr. Jarrod Burks, HEC’s Vice President, offered a powerpoint program in the museum that showed many of the images created by his geophysical survey that discovered the “Moorehead Circle” in 2005. Archaeologist Dr. Robert Riordan of Wright State University provided a tour of the Moorehead Circle excavation he has been directing for the last eight years. His findings in this giant feature include multiple concentric woodhenges, the foundations of ceremonial buildings, a stone paved entry way and long mysterious parallel ditches filled with gravel. Participants were given a rare look at the two layers of excavated paving stones of the “grand entrance”, looking more like something from a Roman ruin than a typical prehistoric Ohio site.  Dr. Burks also led a guided tour of the intriguing features of the South Fort, where people of the Fort Ancient Culture established a village many centuries after Native Americans of the Hopewell Culture built t he three miles of great embankment walls of the hilltop enclosure nearly 2,000 years ago.

Fort Ancient Tour with Archaeologists Jarrod Burks and Robert Riordan

Ft Ancient Map w Moorehead CircleOn Saturday, June 29, 2013, the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy will be offering a special event at the mysterious Fort Ancient site led by archaeologist Dr. Jarrod Burks, Vice President of HEC. The tour will begin in the South Fort, home to a Late Prehistoric period (ca. AD 1400) village, and will visit the massive, 1800-year-old earthen embankments that ring the edge of the mesa-like feature that this portion of the site occupies.  After a provided lunch, we will make our way up to the Museum where Dr. Burks will introduce us to a curious and unexpected find he made in the North Fort in 2005 while conducting a geophysical survey for the Ohio Historical Society. Fort Ancient Excavation Sm

We will then visit the site of this surprise find, what has become known as the Moorehead Circle, where Dr. Robert Riordan of Wright State University will talk about his extensive excavations of the Moorehead Circle and show us some of the results of this summer’s archaeological field school, including a very colorful and unusual prepared floor, limestone pavements, and rock-filled holes that once held massive posts. The Moorehead Circle is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic finds of the last several decades of Hopewell archaeology–a tour like this is perhaps a once in a lifetime chance!GPR 15 May 2010 3 Jarrod Burks Sm

Fort Ancient is an intact Hopewell hilltop enclosure located in Warren County near Lebanon, Ohio. The earthen embankment that encloses the plateau is part of one of the largest Hopewell earthwork complexes ever built, with three and a half miles of embankment walls over 20 feet high in places. The scale of these massive public works built nearly 2,000 years ago by Native Americans has long mystified scientists and citizens alike. Fort Ancient is owned by the Ohio Historical Society and managed in cooperation with the Dayton Society of Natural History.

The event will start late mid-morning and will end late mid-afternoon to give participants from farther away time to drive to and from Fort Ancient.

This event will help raise funds for HEC’s earthwork preservation endeavors. Participants must register in advance and attendance is limited.  Cost is $30 per person and includes a picnic lunch and admission to the Fort Ancient Museum. To register, email:

Registration details and event information will be sent by email. (Please make sure the above email address will not be stopped by your spam filter.)

Please feel free to write us at the above email address with any questions.

We hope you can join us for this fascinating day of discovery!


Robert Drake Accepts Position as HEC Board Advisor

Robert N. Drake, an attorney practicing in Newark, Ohio, has recently become an advisor to the board of trustees of the HEC. Rob grew up in Central Ohio, received his undergraduate degree in history from the College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio, and his J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School. He joined the firm of Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer in 1972 and is presently Of Counsel to the firm, having been for many years its managing partner.

One of the areas in which he has concentrated his practice is real estate law. In addition to his work as a lawyer in this area, he has also been a licensed title insurance agent for over 30 years. He has also worked extensively in the estate planning and probate areas.

Rob also has broad experience in the non-profit world. He has served on many boards, including the Licking Land Trust and the Salvation Army, and as President of the Licking County United Way and the Granville, Ohio Historical Society. Since 1998 he has served as a trustee of the Dawes Arboretum, an 1800 acre arboretum located in Licking County south of Newark. For many years he has been an active volunteer in the restoration of The Old Colony Burying Ground in Granville. In addition he serves as a director of a number of businesses in the Newark area.

Rob has long been an avid earthworks and history enthusiast. This in combination with his legal and real estate expertise will make him a very valuable advisor to the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy. Thanks are due to OSU Newark archaeologist Dr. Richard Shiels for helping us get together with Rob.

HEC Sponsors First Public Event

“EXPLORING THE ANCIENT EARTHWORKS OF FORT HILL,” a public event co-sponsored by the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy, the National Park Service and the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System, is being offered at Fort Hill on Sunday May 20, 2012, from 9:30 to 4:00 pm. An interpretive ranger from Hopewell Culture National Historical Park will lead a hiking tour of the two intact earthworks built by Native Americans of the Hopewell Culture nearly 2,000 years ago. The hilly four-mile hike will explore both the famous hilltop enclosure and a little known circular enclosure at the foot of the hill. A picnic lunch will be served halfway along the hike, near the circular enclosure. After the hike, HEC Vice President Dr. Jarrod Burks will be providing an illustrated talk on the significance of the hundreds of small geometric circles built by the Hopewell Culture in southern Ohio. Attendance is limited and participation in the event requires registration. Fort Hill is managed by the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System on behalf of the Ohio Historical Society. To register, please visit this event’s registration page on the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System website at http://arcofappalachia.org/events/exploring-fort-hill.html

Heartland Earthworks Conservancy Granted Tax-Exempt Status

On November 21, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service granted 501(c)3 tax-exempt status to the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy as a public non-profit charity. All the purposes and activities of HEC the bylaws and mission statement were approved by the IRS. The HEC may now accept tax-deductible donations. To send a tax deductible donation to HEC, see How Can I Help?