Serpent Mound, Ohio, US

LIDAR image of Ohio's Serpent Mound. Native Americans say they didn't build it. Academics say they did. Fri 04 February 2022

LIDAR image of Ohio Serpent Mound. Source: Alan Skelly

The pretty stuff first, in case you are not familiar with the Ohio Serpent Mound:

Nice drone views from Megalithomania. Source: Serpent Mound Aerial Exploration | Ohio's Mysterious Earthworks | Megalithomania


The Serpent Mound was first mapped by Euro-Americans as early as 1815. In 1846 it was surveyed for the Smithsonian Institution by two Chillicothe men, Ephraim G. Squier and Edwin Hamilton Davis. Their book Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley (1848), published by the Smithsonian, included a detailed description and map of the serpent mound.

Frederick W Putman first excavated Ohio serpent mound was during 1887-1889.

Plan of Ohio Serpent Mound shortly after Putman's excavation. Source

Allegedly, this 1890 sketch was drawn by Nicola Tesla look-alike William Jacob Baer.

Why was it built?


Serpent Mound may have had a spiritual purpose...

Additionally, graves and burial mounds near the site suggest Serpent Mound’s builders may have constructed the structure for some kind of important burial or mortuary function, such as to guide spirits. But the mound itself doesn’t contain any graves or artifacts.

Putman originally excavated a conical mound located 200 meters (656 feet) southeast of Serpent Mound, unearthing multiple burials

Ohio's Serpent Mound is part of 'a funerary complex' like Scotland's Lochnell serpent mound. White academics pass off its function as 'spiritual'.


"We call him The Plumed Serpent." Source

The serpent Mishubishu dragged people under water. Source

The horned serpent - Mishubishu - translates as: 'Lord of the World Beneath'. Source

Quite coincidentally, of course, horned serpents show up in English church 'Doom paintings':

Mouth of Hell from Winchester Psalter. Source

In England, a feathered figure is sometimes depicted in church 'Doom paintings'. the figure is considered to be the 'Weigher of Souls': St Michael. Examples: Bacton, Suffolk, South Leigh.

Native folklore says they didn't build Ohio serpent mount; it was built by giants:

We didn't build it! The giants did. Source

Serpent Mound excavator Putnam excavated a 7ft skeleton.

The postcard created from the photograph can also be seen at The Richest.

From The Giants of Conneaut Giants

As the new Americans spread westward, into the states of New York and Pennsylvania, the peculiarity of the grave contents and the size of the tumuli thrown up over them increased. In the years following the conclusion of the Revolutionary war, the westward moving pioneers became less and less sure that the strange items they were finding preserved in the caves and artificial mounds of the west actually came from the Indians.

Human-eating Allegeny giants built the mounds. Source

More on the Allegeny - and of 'tall ones' among the otherwise normal-sized Adena - at Giants and Ancient North American Warfare.

Ohio serpent mound is one of many North American mounds attributed to giants. Criel Mound in South Charleston, West Virgina possibly contained giants.


a "once most powerful man" which according to A.R. Sines who assisted Col. Norris in the excavation, measured "Six feet, 8 3–4 inches" (205 cm) from head to heel (the Smithsonian nomination form added "but the extreme height indicated might have been an exaggeration created by earth pressing down on the burial").

Native American folklore recounts conflicts with giants who took children to eat.

From Idaho's Flood - Giants Remembered, itself copied from Ancient American magazine, Vol 6, Issue 41 The Real Face of the Maya:

The giants were generally portrayed with an insatiable thirst for blood

They chased and captured people, putting hapless victims in huge baskets, which they carried to the mountaintop for cannibal feasts.

Native Americans prayed for the flood that wiped out the giants. Source

And that's what happened:

Flood killed the giants. Source

Naturally, the native view doesn't go down well with Western academics:

The native oral tradition doesn't hold any weight. Source

Blatant denial of the native tradition of giants. Source

And there are other oddities:

Curvy clues on the edge of meteor craters. Source


One museum model says it was built over stone. Source: The Ancient Ohio Trail

They were built to last. Source

Covered with rock stone to make it water resistant.

Its dolomite stone covering would have looked like scales. Source

Constance Gorden Cumming commented Loch Nell serpent mound was covered in stone to waterproof it and to look like scales.

But being covered with stone is not the same as being built over stone.

What photographs there are, show few stones. And they do reveal other problems with the Ohio serpent mound narrative. Starting with its age...

Estimates of Ohio Serpent Mound's age have always varied:

Year of Estimate Age (Years)
1887 excavation-time 1,600 to 2,400
Early 20th century 1,700 to 2,600
1940 guess 1,600 to 2,400
1991 (radio-carbon dating) 900
2014 2,000 to 2,400
Currently More work is needed to clarify
Age the photographic evidence suggests 200-350

Friends of Serpent Mound presidentJeffrey Wilson has done a good job examining Ohio serpent mound excavation records and photographs for possible fakery. His article Wise As Serpents ends with an analysis of photographs showing new work at the mound and accounts of Puttnam's re-shaping of the effigy.

By carefully examining the several drawings, schematics, and photos of Serpent Mound that were produced prior to Putnam’s excavations, one can see that most of them show that the Oval was in fact a concentric, ‘double-walled oval’ (an oval within an oval). That original design feature is clearly not what we see today. One revealing photograph that was taken during Putnam’s excavations shows parts of both ovals cleared of all vegetation – awaiting excavation. Once Putnam was done with his digging, he “reconstructed” the Serpent – and the ‘oval within an oval’ vanished – leaving behind a single, thick-walled Oval.

Wilson's claim is supported by Putnam's original photographs in Harvard's Peabody Museum:

Along neck towards newly-created head and oval. 1883-1888. Source

One of a handful of new-looking Ohio serpent images in the Putnam collection. If the turf had been removed, where is it? It appears not to have been left on site to be caught in any of the other photographs.

Head and oval showing altar. 1883-1889. Source

This redesign is entirely ignored in, for example, a 2014 paper A new multistage construction chronology for the Great Serpent Mound, USA. Its lead plan shows Putnam's redesigned serpent mound oval head as if what Putnam left had been the original head. And it reduces Putnam's re-built to two trenches dug across the oval:

Image depicts head as though Putnam found it like this. Source

Images of the serpent's spiral tail hint that it may also have been recently worked:

Sharp ridge visible on serpent's tail. 1883-1888. Source

By ignoring Putnam's re-working of Ohio Serpent Mound, archaeologists maintain misconceptions about who built which parts. The trend is clear:

  • Archaeologists say: "Indians built it"
  • Native Americans say: "giants built it, not us"
  • The evidence says: "Putnam and team built at least part of it"

Archaeologists' argue about whether Ohio Serpent Mound is older - or even older - than Webb, Spiers and Putnam originally claimed.

Not debatable, apparently, is the possibility that Ohio Serpent Mound is newer than Webb, Spiers and Putnam claimed. Dating perhaps from after the woods around it were felled in 1860 and Boston sponsor Alice Cunningham Fletcher raised the money to buy the 60-acre farm Putnam's team built it on.

Two of the three mounds of bodies standing just south of Serpent Mound sound very similiar to the new-looking conical mounds described in Fingerprints of the Clean Up Team - Part Two and Fingerprints of the Clean Up Team - Part Three. And from around the same time.

Wilson also has this video about the "giants built it" claim:

Giant Skeletons & The Serpent Mound Source: Jeffrey Wilson

More on Ohio serpent mound:

Source: Jeffrey Wilson On The History Of Serpent Mound | Ancient Presence


Some of the video interviews cited in this post look as though they were computer-composited. Possibly created to highlight native disagreement with academic opinions about its origin. This to promote the notion that Ohio Serpent Mound is older than the natives themselves and, therefore, more than 300 years old.

This constinues the likely-mythical Serpent Mound history created by Alice Cunningham Fletcher.

In which case, an alternative Ohio Serpent Mound site chronology might look like this:

Year Reported Event Reality-based Interpretation
200,000,000 BP Impact forms crater north of site Start of 'Little Ice Age': c. 1536
11,700 BP End of 'Ice Age' Actually approx 1820
1820s 'Natives' - possibly giants - reported across Brush Creek from Serpent Mound Enemy presence report
1820 - 1840 'Natives' - possibly giants - living a few miles south at Lawshe village, Adams County Enemy presence report
1842-1843 'Natives' - possibly giants - forcibly removed to Cincinnati 1 Enemy loses battle. Remains heaped in conventional mounds.
1846 Ephraim G. Squier & Edwin H. Davis visit forested site After-action reconnaissance mission
1846 Ephraim G. Squier & Edwin H. Davis publish site map Site survey
1860 'Tornado' 'touches down' at site and clears most trees Ground clearance by aerial technology
1860+ Site cleared for farming "Lovett's Farm" Manual clean-up. Possible alternative to 1842 -1843 clean up
1883 Putnam first visits site Site survey and build cost survey
1883+ Putnam starts to raise money As described
1885? Alice Cunningham Fletcher funds 60-acre site purchase Fletcher involved with creating Native American 'history' and folklore. A US equivalent of Lady Augusta Gregory
1887 - 1889 Putnam excavations under way Ohio Serpent Mound constructed from composted soil and stone remains

A realistic Ohio Serpent Mound chronology.

Dates are taken from Jeff Wilson's: Wise As Serpents. Interpretations of what really occurred are mine.

Ohio Serpent Mound locations

Evidence locations discussed in this piece. Lawshe indicated off-map three miles to the south.

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  1. Origin of Roman Cincinattus tale? 

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