The Serpent Mound Of Ohio. -- By: G. Frederick Wright

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 042:167 (Jul 1885)
Article: The Serpent Mound Of Ohio.
Author: G. Frederick Wright

The Serpent Mound Of Ohio.

G. Frederick Wright

The importance of the principle, that one must prove his facts before he argues from them, has been illustrated recently by the new discoveries regarding the so-called “Great Serpent Mound” of Adams county, Ohio. This mound has been the text from which many a sermon has been preached concerning serpent-worship among the Mound-Builders, and is the foundation of many sweeping conclusions concerning the connection of these early inhabitants with those nations in the Old World among whom the serpent was a sacred symbol. But it now appears, from the examination recently made by J. P. MacLean while in the employ of the Bureau of Ethnology, that this so-called serpent is very likely not a serpent at all, but only the exaggerated tail of the rudely represented figure of a lizard-like object at the head. Those familiar with the enormous extension of particular members, especially the tail, in many of the animal mounds of Wisconsin would not be surprised to find a lizard mound with the tail a thousand feet long, like this one in Ohio. From Mr. MacLean’s descriptions it appears that what were formerly called the open jaws of the serpent are, perhaps, but the hind parts of the body of the animal partially interrupted about the middle by the removal of earth from the sides. For there is clearly a continuation of the sides beyond, connecting with what well may be the head of an animal still farther on. What was supposed to be the egg in the mouth of the serpent is but the main segment of the back of the completed animal, the rude outline of which with four legs and a head may still be traced, notwithstanding the repeated cultivation of the field.

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