The Ohio State University at Newark


Newark Earthworks Octagon Open House Celebrates Rare Moon Alignment

Newark, Ohio, October 6, 2015 - A rare moon alignment is taking place at the Newark Earthworks Octagon this fall. To celebrate the occasion, the public is invited to visit and tour the Octagon Earthworks at an Open House during from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 123 33rd Street, Newark, Ohio.

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 the enclosure it creates is large enough to contain four Roman Colosseums. It wasn’t until the 1980s that researchers began to unravel the mysteries to better understand the function of this amazing site. Two professors, Drs. Bob Horn and Ray Hively, discovered that the central axis of the Octagon points toward northern maximum moonrise, and the entire octagon was built precisely that way for a specific purpose. “Clearly, the creators of the Newark Earthworks understood the lunar cycle. They must have considered the northernmost rising to be a very important event and it must have been important to be there when the moon was in just the right place,”says Dick Shiels, Emeritus Director at the Newark Earthworks Center. Adding, “Archaeologists believe that it is likely that people came from great distances for those occasions. We can imagine important events: ceremonies, games, reunions, celebrations of life and death, family and community.”

The Octagon is only open to the public four days of the year, and October 11th will be the last of those days. 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 list.

For more information on The Ohio State University’s Newark Earthworks Center visit http://newark.osu.edu/initiatives/newark-earthworks-center.html.