Seventeen centuries ago, Newark, Ohio, was a major center for a remarkable ancient culture. Here, American Indians built the largest geometric earthwork complex in the world. Enormous enclosures connected by walled roadways were spread across more than four square miles.

This was the most spectacular of many such earthworks, concentrated along the tributaries of the Ohio River, marking the people’s beliefs, rituals, and sense of community. Today only fragments remain, although here at Newark we can still walk among these vast shapes, and feel how they direct our eyes and footsteps.

Two of the most impressive features from ancient Newark remain today – the Octagon and Great Circle – helping visitors grasp the unbelievable scope, beauty, and precision of this unique architecture. Awed settlers discovered, described, and began to measure it in the early 1800s. The impact of these monuments on the visitor today is still stunning, creating an architectural experience like no other on earth.

Begin your tour of Newark at the well-preserved Courthouse Square. The history of the town and its industrial heritage is well told at the nearby Works Museum, where there are more shops and artists’ studios (55 S. 1st St., 740 349-9277).

From downtown Newark, take Main Street west, then turn south on Route 79 for 1˝ miles to the Great Circle Earthworks on the right. The small museum and visitors center, a short walk from the parking lot, will provide an orientation to the whole complex and its history: a bronze tabletop model stands out front; an interactive exhibit program, interpretive materials from the Ohio Historical Society, and the staff of the Licking County Convention and Visitors Bureau are available inside.

The view out across the Newark Earthworks from the Heath Hilltop enclosure, as it may have appeared in antiquity.



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