Talk abstract details

Recent Advances in Hopewell Archaeoastronomy
Giulio Magli, Michael Mickelson



The culture referred to as Hopewell (100 BC to AD 400) flourished in the eastern woodlands of North America, a direct continuation of the Adena culture, in the centuries between 500 BC to AD 200. Among the most characterizing features of this culture are elaborated pottery, highly refined obsidian tools, copper and mica ornaments and, as is well known, the impressive, large scale earthworks of their ceremonial centres. In recent years, Archaeoastronomy has proven to be a powerful tool in order to understand better the symbolic contents of many such monuments. In particular, we review here the connections with the sky elaborated by the Newark and High Bank structures, as well as by the “Great Hopewell Road” a 90 Kms straight road which connected the two centres. Not far from the road lies one of the most enigmatic mounds, the so-called Tarlton Cross, the unique pre-historic mound having the form of a cross. For this monument, we give an archaeoastronomical analysis of the “arms” of the cross (which do not intersect orthogonally) and of five small mounds closely related to it.