Fort Salem Indian Mound
4206 Certier Road   ·   Lynchburg, OH  45142
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Culture Of The Mound

The Fort Salem earthwork, also known as the Workman Works, was created by a group of Ohio Valley Indians (with both Adena and Hopewell cultural influence) sometime between 50 B.C. to AD 500. It is a circular enclosure about 450 feet in diameter that surrounds a conjoined mound. The larger mound of the conjoined pair was about 6 feet high and 60 feet in diameter, while the smaller one was about 4 feet high and 40 feet in diameter. The wall that surrounded the enclosure was about 3 feet high and was paralleled for much of its 700 foot plus length by an exterior ditch.

Today both mounds are about 2 feet lower and the wall is only about 1 to 2 feet high. Due to a long period of the property being used as a simple pasture, and the presence of beech trees up to 10 feet in circumference, the site has been described as one of the best preserved earthworks remaining in private ownership in America. The Ohio Historical Society nominated the site to the Historical Register of Historic Places in 1971, but no scientific excavations have taken place there.

In 2005, the Archaeological Conservancy purchased the 19-acre tract of land for a fair market price of $100,000. The Fort Salem earthwork is considered a particularly desirable acquisition for a number of reasons. The walls and mounds remain prominent and the possibility that the site was never plowed makes it especially desirable as a research preserve. Second, the site's location in between two great Hopewell population concentrations: those along the Little Miami River Northeast of Cincinnati and those along the Scioto River and Paint Creek near Chillicothe. The site may hold clues to how these two populations interacted. Lastly, the site is not readily assigned to any particular culture, as it has attributes of both Adena and Hopewell constructions. The plan of a circular earthen wall and ditch surrounding a central mound is typically Adena. However, placing the ditch outside the wall would be unusual for an Adena mound and circle, and the scale of the earthwork is more typicall of the Hopewell.
The above information is courtesy of Paul Gardner, from his article
published in the Summer 2005 issue of American Archaeology.

Early Woodland Period

500 B.C. - 100 B.C.
The Adena Culture

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Middle Woodland Period

100 B.C. - AD 500
The Hopewell Culture
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