The Ohio State University at Newark

Newark Earthworks Center

The Newark Earthworks Center (NEC) is an interdisciplinary academic center of The Ohio State University that develops projects and research about the American Indian cultures that produced the monumental Midwestern earthen architecture in order to advance understanding of the cultural and scientific achievements of American Indians to the world. The NEC's projects emphasize American Indian knowledge of the earthworks landscape in the Ohio River Valley, from human settlement until the present.

Since 2006, the NEC has successfully initiated strategies to inform Ohio citizens about brilliant ancient Indigenous earthen architecture and contemporary American Indian issues. The center supports tribal governments' self-determination and cultural sovereignty in their essential roles relating to the preservation, interpretation, and stewardship of pre-contact and historic Indigenous places within their ancestral lands. The NEC seeks to develop respectful reciprocal, sustainable relationships between American Indian tribal governments and Ohio State University faculty, staff, and students to identify research and project goals.

We have been fortunate enough to host several tribal governmental visits by the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Wyandotte Nation, as well as Native artists and writers, and faculty throughout our history.

The Newark Earthworks: Enduring Monuments, Contested Meanings (edited by Dr. Lindsay Jones and Dr. Richard Shiels, University of Virginia Press, 2016) came from our first-ever symposium where leading scholars of ancient sites turned their expertise to the Newark Earthworks and demonstrates the NEC's commitment to bringing multidisciplinary perspectives to Ohio's narratives.

Photo credit: Tim Black

Newark Earthworks Center

The Ohio State University at Newark
1179 University Drive
Newark, OH 43055

Newark Earthworks Center Welcomes New Director
Read more.

John N. Low, PhD
Phone: 740.755.7857

Marti L. Chaatsmith
Associate Director
Phone: 740.364.9575

Sheila Carpenter
Office Associate
Phone: 740.364.9574

Fax: 740.366.6692

For recent news and our calendar, please visit our blog!

Previous exhibits and events

Cancelled (spring 2020)
Behind the Science: The Dakota and Ojibwe Skies
Lecture Explores Indigenous Peoples’ Use of Astronomy

Just in time to observe the spring equinox, The Ohio State University at Newark and The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology invite the public to learn how our American Indian ancestors used the moon, earthen architecture and a turtle’s shell to predict astronomical events with remarkable precision. In this Behind the Science lecture, James Rock presents “The Dakota and Ojibwe Skies”.

Rock, a citizen of the Dakota Nation, is a faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and director of indigenous programming for the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium at the University of Minnesota Duluth. In 2014 he co-authored the book D(L)akota Star Map Constellation Guide and has co-published several journal articles on Dakota sacred mound and cave sites. He will discuss both topics from his published works in addition to local connections with the Newark Earthworks and the Serpent Mound in Peebles.
This lecture is sponsored by The Ohio State University and its Newark Earthworks Center (NEC), American Indian Studies program, Arne Slettebak Planetarium, and Global Arts and Humanities/Indigenous Arts and Humanities Initiative.

Spring Open House: Octagon Earthworks
Sunday, April 5 and Monday, April 6

Free and open to the public.
Dawn to dusk.
North 3rd Street, Newark, OH

The grounds of the Octagon State Memorial will be open for free. We encourage everyone to walk the entire earthworks to experience the beauty of this amazing site.The largest complex of geometric mounds in the world, the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks encompassed about 3,000 acres when built more than 2,000 years ago by people of the Hopewell culture. They are notable for their precise geometry that provide astronomical alignments with the moon during its 18-year and 219-day cycle that culminates in the Major Lunar Standstill, observed by cultures throughout the world. Their scale is to the land where they reside and is enormous: the Octagon was built with an area of 50 acres. The connecting walkway is the length of a football field, and the Circle has an area of 20 acres. The walls of the earthen enclosures are tall enough to block the view inside, and the walls are curved and smooth.Their significance in both size and history have made them a proposed World Heritage serial nomination that includes nine archeological sites in south-central Ohio constructed during the Woodland Period (1-1000 CE). At present the Octagon Earthworks is also the site of the Moundbuilders Country Club golf course; the entire grounds are open to the public four times a year. Newark’s Octagon and Great Circle Earthworks are managed by the Ohio History Connection.

Great Circle Earthworks: Formerly known as Moundbuilders State Memorial, the Great Circle Earthworks is nearly 1,200 feet in diameter and was likely used as a vast ceremonial center by its builders. The 8 feet (2.4 m) high walls surround a 5 feet (1.5 m)
deep moat, except at the entrance where the dimensions are even greaterand more impressive.
Octagon Earthworks: Enclosing 50 acres, the Octagon Earthworks has eight walls, each measuring about 550 feet long and from five to six feet in height. The Octagon Earthworks are joined by parallel walls to a circular embankment enclosing 20 acres. At present the Octagon Earthworks is also the site of the Mound Builders Country Club golf course. The entire grounds are open four times a year, during daylight hours. Tours and programs are scheduled during each open house. The 2020 Open House dates are:
Sunday, April 5 and Monday, April 6, Monday, July 27, Sunday, October 18.

September 13 - December 15, 2019

Potawatomi basket making is a reclamation and recovery of a powerful piece of native knowledge and technology and represents a potent counter-colonial and counter-hegemonic act with lasting implications. This exhibit reflects an understanding that objects are not lifeless things that occupy space. They have spirit and meaning. Centered upon intellectual and material property, basket weaving is an opportunity for Native women and men to make their own histories by using the past to ‘read’ the present.

The exhibit is curated by John N. Low, PhD, associate professor in Comparative Studies at the Ohio State University and enrolled citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. He received his PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan. His most recent book Imprints: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians & the City of Chicago was published by the Michigan State University Press (2016).

Sponsored by grants from the Global Arts & Humanities/ Indigenous Arts & Humanities Initiative, the Program in American Indian Studies, the Milliken Fund at the Ohio State Newark, and the Newark Earthworks Center.

"Confronting the STEM Syndrome"

Assistant Professor Michael Stamatikos, Ph.D.,TEDx TALKS, The Ohio State University. (April 2019) Watch here.

November 20, 2017 through May 1, 2018

For more information about the artists, exhibition and sponsors, please visit:

LeFevre Art Gallery

Free and open to the public.

November 8, 2017

Newark Earthworks Center receives Scenic Ohio Award

The Newark Earthworks Center is proud to announce it is one of six organizations to receive a 2016 Scenic Ohio Award in recognition of their collective work to preserve Ohio landscapes. The Scenic Ohio Awards recognize community organizations, government agencies and individuals who have improved, conserved, protected and enhanced Ohio's scenic resources. The 2016 Scenic Ohio Award recipients also include National Park Service, Ohio History Connection, Dayton Society of Natural History, Arc of Appalachia and Explore Licking County.

The Scenic Ohio Awards recognize community organizations, government agencies, and individuals who have improved, conserved, protected and enhanced Ohio's scenic resources.

Book published about the Newark Earthworks!

The Newark Earthworks are a mystery of the ancient world. However, a new book, written and edited by Dr. Lindsay Jones and Dr. Richard Shiels called The Newark Earthworks: Enduring Monuments, Contested Meanings, answers some of the questions surrounding the geometrical mounds of earth that were built nearly two thousand years ago.
Read more.


Lecture: Lakota's Philosophy of Life: Tuesday October 10, 2017

Guest Lecturer: Guy Jones (Wakuwa La)

Jones, a Hunkpapa Lakota and full-blood member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, carries in his heart a strength that comes from living in today’s diverse society and the spiritual wisdom of his Lakota upbringing. He has unselfishly devoted his life to the sharing of this knowledge in the interest of promoting healing and respect for American Indians. He speaks honestly on such topics as life on the reservation, the shattering effects of governmental policies, environmental issues, the challenges of drug and alcohol abuse and the survival of his culture.

More information: Contact Vorley Taylor at or 740.366.9443.
Sponsored by Multicultural Affairs and Native American Studies at Ohio State Newark

Photo: L to R, Newark Earthworks Center Director Marti Chaatsmith, Guy Jones and Associate Professor of Comparative Studies Dr. John Low.

Preserving American Indian Culture

All Sides with Ann Fisher
September 29, 2016, WOSU
Guests: Marti Chaatsmith, Interim Director of the Newark Earthworks Center; Kerry Holton, President of the Delaware Nation; & Daryl Baldwin, Director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University
Topic: Reconnecting modern day American Indian Culture with their rich history

Observations and ceremonies are being held across the land until June 29 to mark the 2016 National Days of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places.

In Ohio, observations are being held at the Great Circle and Octagon Earthworks in Newark, Hopewell Culture National Historic Park in Chillicothe, Mound City & Fort Ancient Earthworks in Oregonia, and Serpent Mound in Peebles.

For more information click here.

"Protect Sacred Places" Sites and Events

Lunar Alignment at the Octagon Earthworks

You are invited to see the moon rise in alignment with the Octagon Earthworks. Very few people have experienced this event for hundreds of years.

Join us on either of two evenings: Friday, November 27, or Saturday, November 28. Bring your family and friends. You will be the guests of The Ohio State University's Newark Earthworks Center and the Ohio History Connection.

We will see a northern minimum moonrise at this amazing site built by ancestors of American Indians two thousand years ago. Here is what it looked like earlier this fall:

Multiple exposure shows the path of the moonrise above the south wall at the Octagon Earthworks in Newark, Ohio, early Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. Image was taken at three-minute intervals beginning at 2:11 a.m. (Photo by Timothy E. Black)

Friday, November 27, 2015 from 6:15 - 7:45 p.m.
Saturday November 28, 2015 from 7:15 - 8:45 p.m.
Open to the public.

125 N. 33rd Street, Newark, OH
Park in the parking lot and gather at the large sign next to the parking lot. Bring a flashlight. If the weather seems to threaten the event, call 740-364-0584 on either of these days for an update.

The moon follows an 18.6 year cycle. The Newark Octagon, built two thousand years ago by ancestors of today’s American Indians, aligns with eight “standstill points” in the cycle of the moon. Those who built the Octagon understood that every month the place on the horizon where the moon first rises moves south for roughly 14 nights and then returns again. Further, the distance it moves between the first and 14th night grows greater every month for 9.3 years and then shrinks again until it is the same distance it had been at the beginning.

These ancient America Indians identified four "standstills" points when the rising moon seemed to stop going in one direction and began going in the other: the northernmost rising of the moon and the southern-most, the northern minimum and the southern minimum. They also observed another four times when the setting moon did the same: the northernmost and southernmost moonset, the northern minimum and southern minimum moonset.

Although the moon arrives at each of these standstill points only once every 18.6 years, it is very close to each of them on several nights. November 27 and 28 are the last dates on which we are likely to see the northern minimum moonrise for the next 18.6 years.

Newark Earthworks Octagon

A rare moon alignment took place at the Newark Earthworks Octagon this fall. To celebrate the occasion, the public was invited to visit and tour the Octagon Earthworks on Sunday, October 11.

The Octagon is only open to the public for general strolling and viewing from sunrise to sunset for four days of the year, and October 11th was the last of those days for 2015.

Eight different moon alignments are built into the Octagon site, some of which will occur later this fall, such as the northern and southern moonrises and moonsets expected to begin on October 17th at approximately 10:05 p.m. These spectacular lunar alignments and the unbelievable precision with which these mounds were built are just two reasons the Newark Earthworks, Fort Ancient Earthworks and earthworks at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe are being promoted for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage site list.

This free event is open to anyone excited to learn more about the amazing alignments of the moon and the Octagon, which only occurs about every 18 years. Tour guides from The Ohio State University’s Newark Earthworks Center and the Ohio History Connection will be present to lead guests through the site and explain the lunar alignment phenomenon.

The American Indian site known as the Octagon was built approximately 2000 years ago and is one of the most spectacular surviving remnants of the Newark Earthworks. The octagonal enclosure is large enough to contain four Roman Colosseums and is connected to a perfectly circular enclosure 1,054 feet in diameter. The architecture of the Octagon Earthworks encodes a sophisticated understanding of geometry and astronomy. The Octagon State Memorial is part of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks and is a National Historical landmark.

For more information please contact us at 740.364.9584 or
The Octagon Earthworks is located at 125 N. 33rd Street, Newark, OH.

For more information on The Ohio State University’s Newark Earthworks Center visit

We hope to see you in Spring 2016 (date to be announced) at our next open house when you can take advantage of this rare opportunity and come walk where generations of American Indians have walked and experience this wonder of the ancient world!


Presentation: Blackhand Gorge, Flint Ridge and the Newark Earthworks
Natural beauty and ancient history's connections

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
4:00 p.m.
John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center, Room 126 (Platform)x
Newark campus

Bill Weaver, site manager of Flint Ridge State Memorial gave a presentation on these three wonderful sites.
To learn more visit Ancient Ohio Trail.

American Indians Returning to the Earthworks

February 11, 2015; 4:00 p.m.
"Contemporary American Indian Arts: Including Earthworks" Dr. Christine Ballengee-Morris, Eastern Band, Cherokee Professor of Arts Administration, Education ad Policy and Coordinator of the American Indian Studies Program at The Ohio State University

February 18, 2015; 4:00 p.m. "Tribal Participation and the Preservation of Ohio Earthworks" Marti L. Chaatsmith, Comanche Citizen/Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Descendent
Associate Director of The Newark Earthworks Center, The Ohio State University at Newark

February 25, 2015; 4:00 p.m.
"The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians - Survival and Revival through Storytelling" Dr. John Low, Citizen of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indian Nation
Ohio State University Assistant Professor of Comparative Studies

2014 Autumn Semester: My Dream Show by Candi Wesaw

LeFevre Art Gallery
The Ohio State University at Newark

Candi Wesaw is from Hartford, Michigan and a citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indian Nation (although her blood lines also include Nottawaseppi Huron and Gun Lake bands of Potawatomi, and Little River Odawa). She has is deeply connected to her culture, heritage, and the arts. She works in multiple mediums and formats, including illustration, textiles, photography, and traditional native arts. Candi Wesaw has illustrated a series of children’s books about the Potawatomi, and is motivated to share her talent with youngsters to promote mutual cultural understandings. Examples of her work can be found, here.

For more information about artist Candi Wesaw, click here.

A reception for the artist was held on October 12, 2014 at the LeFevre Art Gallery. For more information and photos click here.


On October 12, 2014, the grounds of the Octagon State Memorial were opened to the public
for general strolling and viewing from sunrise to sunset.

Special guests, Candi Wesaw and other citizens of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indian Nation were given a guided tour of the memorial by Dick Shiels, Director of the Newark Earthworks Center.

Dick Shiels starts the tour for the Pokagon Band. Deborah and Bruce Delk (photo on right) lead the caravan of golf carts to their first destination.

Roger Williams, Linda Morseau, Stanley Morseau, Susan Truesdell and Maxine Marigotta enjoying the tour.

Members of the Pokagon Band of the Potatowami Indian Nation enjoy a beautiful day during the tour of the Octagon State Memorial led by Dick Shiels, Director of the Newark Earthworks Center. Eighteen elders of the Pokagon Band travelled to Newark from southwest Michigan and northwest Indiana to attend the open house and an artist's reception for Candi Wesaw. Pictured at right is Majel DeMarsh.

In the five photos above, local citizens tour the Octagon Earthworks State Memorial, opened to the public for tours and viewing on October 12, 2014.