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Portsmouth Earthworks

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Title: Portsmouth Earthworks  
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Subject: List of Hopewell sites, Biggs Site, List of Adena culture sites, Tremper Mound and Works, Mount Horeb Earthworks Complex
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Portsmouth Earthworks

Portsmouth Earthworks
Mural in Portsmouth commemorating the mound complex
Country  USA
Region Southern Ohio and Northeastern Kentucky
Nearest town Portsmouth, Ohio
Culture Adena culture, Hopewell culture
First occupied 100 BCE
Abandoned 500 CE
Architectural styles earthworks
Number of monuments
Horseshoe Mound
Portsmouth Earthworks is located in Ohio
Portsmouth Earthworks
Location Scioto County, Ohio
Nearest city Portsmouth, Ohio
Built 499-0 BCE, 499-0 CE, 1000-500 CE
Governing body Local Government
NRHP Reference # 74001621
Added to NRHP 1974[1]
Portsmouth Earthworks, Group A
Portsmouth Earthworks is located in Kentucky
Portsmouth Earthworks
Location Greenup County, Kentucky
Nearest city South Portsmouth
Built 499-0 BCE, 499-0 CE, 1000-500 CE, 1499-1000 CE, 1749-1500 CE, 1750-1799 CE
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 80001534[1]
Added to NRHP December 4, 1980

The Portsmouth Earthworks are a large prehistoric [2] The site was one of the largest earthwork ceremonial centers constructed by the Hopewell and is located at the confluence of the Scioto and Ohio Rivers, in present day Ohio.

The majority of the mound complex site is now covered by the city of [2] Several individual sections of the complex have been included on the National Register of Historic Places.


Originally, the Portsmouth Earthworks consisted of three sections extending over twenty miles of the Ohio River valley, crossing from Ohio to Kentucky in several places. It was surveyed and mapped by E. G. Squier in 1847 for inclusion in the seminal archaeological and anthrolopological work Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley.[3]

Portsmouth Earthworks, Group B

Overview of the Horseshoe Mound

The northern most section was made up of a number of circular enclosures, two large horseshoe-shaped enclosures, and three sets of parallel-walled roads leading away in different directions. One set of walled roads extends across the Ohio River into [2]

Portsmouth Earthworks, Group A

One of the surviving walls

Also known as the Old Fort Earthworks (15Gp1) it is a series of rectangular enclosures near South Portsmouth in Greenup County, Kentucky. Group A is a large square enclosure with two series of parallel walls extending from the northeast and southwest corners. The Old Fort Earthworks consist of several sites, including the Old Fort Earthworks (15Gp1), Mays Mound (15Gp16), Hicks Mound (15Gp265), Stephenson Mound (15Lw139), and several other unnamed mounds and enclosures. It is also the location of Lower Shawneetown, a protohistoric/historic Fort Ancient and Shawnee settlement and colonial trading post which are all part of the Lower Shawneetown Archeological District,[4] along with the Thompson and Hansen Sites

Portsmouth Earthworks, Group C

Also known as the Biggs Site (15Gp8), Group C was a large series of concentric circles surrounding a central cone mound, believed to have been built by the Adena culture. This section of the earthworks is located in Greenup County, Kentucky several miles to the east of South Shore, but connected to Group B by a causeway.

Gallery of Squier and Davis maps

See also


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Portsmouth Earthworks-Ohio History Central". Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  3. ^ a b Ephraim George Squier; Edwin Hamilton Davis (1848). Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley.  
  4. ^ Applegate, Darlene (2008), "Chapter 5:Woodland period", in Pollack, David, The Archaeology of Kentucky:an update 1, Kentucky Heritage Council, pp. 524–525,  

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