Researchers Document Similarities Between Newark Earthworks and Stonehenge

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Researchers expect the Newark Earthworks to become a World Heritage Site within the next few years.

Such a designation would place the central Ohio system of geometric mounds in a class with Stonehenge in England and the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon near Mexico City.

This weekend, experts on each of the three sites are gathering in Newark to compare notes on distant cultures that seem to have much in common.

Anthropologist Lionel Sims of the University of East London calls the similarities between Stonehenge and the Newark Earthworks remarkable. He says the people who built Stonehenge 2500 years ago and those who built the Newark mounds about 2000 years ago were in a transition from a society of hunters to an agrarian society.

The massive monuments they built by moving thousands of tons of earth or thousands of tons of stones symbolize that change.

Sims says in every culture everywhere in the world, monuments are built during the transition from hunting to farming, in part because this transition causes problems within the group some are on board with change, others are not.

Director of the Newark Earthworks Center Richard Shiels says the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon are represented this weekend in Newark by a group of Aztec dancers who take annual pilgrimages to sacred sites.

The dancers visited the Great Circle Mound on Thursday. After surveying the area, they gathered around a picnic table at the opening to the mound and smiled patiently as pictures taken with cameras from each member of the group.

The Aztec dancers perform Saturday evening at the Great Circle Mound near Newark. Earlier in the day, at the Ohio State Newark campus, researchers will offer information on World Heritage Sites. Also available: An interview with Stonehenge expert Lionel Simms, Principal Lecturer on Anthropology, University of East London.

Excerpts from interview with five of the dancers from the Aztec group Palabra del nino Dios Teopi-Itzintecuhltl (Word of the Holy Child Teopiltzintecuhtli)