Home News World Recognition of Local Earthworks Coming Up Next Week

World Recognition of Local Earthworks Coming Up Next Week

Melody Young, director of the Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau, explains the process of the upcoming World Heritage vote on the "Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks" and what that listing means for the area's tourism and economy.

Ross County and Ancient Ohio — A fifteen-year process had led up to a much-anticipated procedure next week that will put local prehistoric earthworks under an international spotlight.

The “Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks” should be voted on Tuesday or Wednesday to be added to the list of “World Heritage” sites.

Mound City, the Hopeton Works, the Hopewell Works, Seip Mound, and Highbanks Earthworks – the five parts of the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Ross County…along with two parts of the Newark Earthworks in Licking County, and Fort Ancient in Warren County…are the eight earthwork parks being nominated.

Tour takers photograph interpretive mowing that suggests the plowed-down earthen walls from the overlook at the Hopeton Works north of Chillicothe’s Bridge Street.

A United Nations committee is meeting in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia to vote on listing 53 new sites September 16th through the 20th, and Ohio representatives of the effort are on their way today. The Hopewell vote is expected to happen next Tuesday or early Wednesday, and Melody Young of the Ross Chillicothe Visitors Bureau is very excited about it.

She explains the timeline, context, and local plans in the below video interview.

The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are expected to easily pass the vote, and join 24 World Heritage sites in the U.S. and 1,157 sites in the world, in the program that has been a part of the United Nation since 1972.

Then, Young says it’s up to us to welcome and inform visitors from across the world, who may increase local tourism tenfold. She points out that tourism spending is multiplied six-fold, so even the most harried gas station operator needs to be able to point tourists in the right direction.

At least we are well on our way to hosting all those visitors – Young says Ross County has 113 Air B&B’s and traditional bed & breakfasts (and counting), in addition to hotel space.

A live feed of the vote in Saudi Arabia, seven hours earlier than us, will be available – and then a local celebration of the listing will be a month later, on October 14th at Mound City.

UPDATE: The “Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks” should get its vote early Tuesday morning, September 19th. Read Monday’s story.

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Raised in Ross County, Bearcat class of '87 at Paint Valley. Wrote a column on history and historic preservation for the Chillicothe Gazette right out of high school, then a bachelors in Journalism in the OU class of '91. After starting my one-man company "Intrepid Heritage Services" in Columbus in 1997 to offer historical research, tours, and talks, I retuned to Ross County in 2003. Have been working as a radio programmer and reporter at Clear Channel / iHeart Media Southern Ohio. Started working with the Scioto Post June 27th, 2023.