A Circular Earthwork

Got this off Google Earth. It’s a block of undeveloped land in Yorktown, Indiana. The road you can see just to the north is Indiana State Highway 32. Cornfields surround it on all four sides, to the degree that it probably doesn’t look like much from the highway–there’s even enough corn between it and the road that the slated highway widening project probably won’t make a difference. But damn, you look at it from a couple dozen miles overhead, and that near-perfect circular feature in its center becomes pretty striking, wouldn’t you say?

What is that circular feature, you ask?

According to this article, some archaeologists at nearby Ball State Univerity believe it to be a thousand year-old artifact of the Hopewell mound-building culture, whose other monumental works can be found at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Mounds State Park, and who knows how many other sites across the eastern plains states.

Now, the reason these archaeologists thus far only believe this circular feature to belong to the Hopewell culture is that a series of consecutive owners of the piece of land depicted above have refused to allow them access. Go look at it again. In fact, go find it on Google Earth. It’s at 40 degrees, 10′ 50″ North, 85 degrees, 28′ 10″ West. The archaeologist quoted in the article even encourages us to do so, I imagine in hopes that a whole bunch of scientifically-minded souls will become impressed as to its significance and put pressure on whoever does own the land to let the archaeologists in, let them cut out a fat cross-section of the circle and go sifting through it for potsherds until they have utterly deprived it of every possible fragment of mystery or mysticism.

Normally, I am such a scientifically-minded person. But I have to admit I am just too impressed with the efforts of the consecutive series of owners… heck, you might even call them a little home-grown conspiracy… who really seem to have put a good deal of forethought and effort into keeping that ring safe and undisturbed.

When you’ve had a good eyeful of the earthwork itself on Google Earth, take a bit of a zoom out. You’ll see cornfields, housing developments, parking lots. What looks like a golf course to the north.

That little square of wooded land is about the about the only patch of wilderness anywhere around.

So I’m siding with the conspiracy.


  1. But why?

    What does the conspiracy want? What are they protecting? What do they know that we don’t? Could the mound possibly hold the last remaining artifacts of the legendary serpent people of Mu? Might the conspirators have ties to Native American shape-shifting eco-terrosists? Just what is in that mound?

    I also think the image looks quite a lot like a Diebenkorn painting.

  2. I’m rooting for the shape-shifting ecoterrorists myself. Not holding my breath, but hopeful.

    A more practical guess? Living as I do at the outskirts of a living, breathing community founded on Native American spirituality, I’m perfectly comfortable believing that there are actually people straying into that little square of woodland on a midwinter’s eve to build a fire and a sweatlodge and sit and eat mushrooms and wait for the sunrise. And I’d rather have that be the image fixed in my head than the one about the scientists sitting under the fluorescent lights running bits of clay through MRI machines.

  3. I love shit like this. Although now I’m bummed because my paranormal mystery novel plot just got laid flat in Justin’s comments.

    I’ve researched Wisconsin a bit for this sort of phenomenon. They seem to have a healthy share of it but it is commercially exploited. So not as compelling as this.

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