NEWARK

THE BURIAL ELLIPSE

From the Square, the view to the water tower to the northeast will help in grasping the scale of the earthwork complex as a whole: it stands near the center of the giant Ellipse. Each piece of the Newark complex seems to have had a special use and meaning, and this Ellipse was the cemetery of the earthwork’s builders – a necropolis probably as grand as Mound City in Chillicothe.

Eleven conical mounds surrounded a large, irregular one at the center. One set of burials here was covered in sheets of gleaming mica. Some of these mounds were probably already very old before being surrounded by the elliptical wall: perhaps adding this new order was another way to honor the ancestors.

The ellipse and its mounded tombs were destroyed very early by the construction of the canal and the railroads, and the growth of the town. Old records prove that builders and looters came across objects made of copper and other precious materials. Yet today, the only thing we know came from this area is the extraordinary “Shaman of Newark.”

Newark

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