Work toward managing the Fortified Hill site of earthworks created by the Hopewell culture about 2,000 years ago is continuing, and it will be managed by the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum.
Preservationists in recent months raised money to purchase the properties that used to be owned by the late Hamilton dermatologist Dr. Louis Luke Barich. Although Barich wanted the earthworks to be preserved, that was not a part of his will, and the land was auctioned off to settle his estate.
Dr. Jeff Leipzig, a Hamilton allergist and a friend of Barich who led the effort to preserve the earthworks known as “Fortified Hill” said Pyramid Hill “is the one that’s actually going to be in charge” of managing the site.
“It’s definitely a victory it’s been saved, and now it’s just a matter of trying to do what they can … to get it to the point that it’s something that’s presentable and people can come out to and visit,” Leipzig said.
Pyramid Hill officials still are becoming accustomed to the site and its value. Other Hopewell sites in Ohio appear to be on the cusp of becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site because they are considered a world treasure for their historic and cultural value.
Jennifer Aultman, Ohio History Connection’s world heritage director, has estimated the state’s several locations, including Fort Ancient State Memorial east of Lebanon, are the country’s next likely sites to be ready for nomination, with that nomination likely happening in 2023.
Locations near Chillicothe that draw numerous tourists, including Hopeton Earthworks National Historical Park and Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, are among them. Officials in Butler County hope the Fortified Hil earthworks also will draw some of those tourists, as well as others.
There used to be many such earthworks in this area, including in Butler County, said Kathy Creighton, executive director of the Butler County Historical Society. But many were plowed under for farmland or buried under housing developments.
A state historical marker recently was erected on her property in Hanover Twp. commemorating such earthworks, as well as an early local pioneer family.
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