Richard D. Moats
The Salisbury brothers authored a paper in 1862 describing several sites in Ohio. One of the sites they described was an “Ancient Symbolic Earth Works” in Northern Perry County. The paper included a narrative and plot map of a hill top earthwork and three associated features. They were precise in their linear measurements, angles of intersection, and vertical heights. They also described five structures with flat tops which they termed “platforms” and another as an open “C” shaped structure (Salisbury and Salisbury 1862). Warren K. Moorehead published a short article describing the site and named it “Frank Yost’s Mounds” after the landowner. The only significant additional information he provided was finding ash in what he termed the “bird effigy” located inside a large circular enclosure. He did not address other large geometric features suggesting some destruction of the site had occurred (Moorehead 1896). Moorehead’s report did not contain the aggregate detail or descriptions of the entire structure as described in the Salisbury document. This indicates that erosion and intentional agricultural destruction began in the latter half of the 19th century. Until recently, the large circle with the internal crescent and the small mound nearby are the only features known to exist into modern times. It is apparent the site had been a very complex Hopewell earthwork with features unlike any other known Hopewell site but has been nearly completely destroyed.
This paper encompasses the rediscovery of lost features, and digital reconstruction of the site. I will show how the site integrates distant terrestrial features and offer my research into the purpose of this three dimensional geometric structure. I will demonstrate how construction and spatial orientation of the structure provided alignments with celestial body rise and set points. I will describe the visual illusions created by solar and lunar rises and settings in relation to the earthwork and a long distance feature.