Grave Creek Mound is one of the last traces of Adena culture that still exists. At one point, Adena mounds numbered in the hundreds, but only a small number of Adena earthen monuments still survive today. These mounds generally ranged in size from 20 to 300 feet in diameter and served as burial structures, ceremonial sites, historical markers and possibly gathering places. Unfortunately, in 1838, much of the archaeological evidence in this mound was destroyed when several non-archaeologists tunneled into it.
The mound construction probably began with the death of a very important person. There is no way to know who this person was -- great warrior, chieftain or religious leader. We know that 25 to 30 years later another important personage died and his remains were placed in an 8-by-12-foot vault on the top of the mound, when it was approximately 35 feet high. The Adena then covered this with dirt until the mound reached its maximum height.
Although probably not intended by the original builders, or by the modern-day creators of the spiral walk to the top, when you walk up quietly, alone, in contemplation of the age of the mound and all the unknowns --the sheer mystery of its being -- it is almost a mystical experience. Then you reach the top, to breathtaking views of the countryside (and the now defunct prison across the street from the mound).
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