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    An alternative way to explore and explain the mysteries of our world. "Published since 1985, online since 2001."

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Biggs Site (Hopewell Mound)—Greenup County Kentucky
Portsmouth, Ohio Earthworks—Walkways—to Ohio River

By Dr. Greg Little

A couple weeks ago Brent and Joan Raynes went with my wife Lora and I on a whirlwind trip to mounds in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia mapping out various aspects of an upcoming July tour.

One of the places we will visit is Portsmouth, Ohio and several associated sites on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. Before we left for this trip we were told by Allison Kalb of Portsmouth that a mound in Kentucky that was part of the Portsmouth works was still existing. The mound is known as the Biggs Site and is also famously known as the Greenup County Mound. A 1930’s WPA photo of the mound is below.

The Biggs Site was a burial mound enclosed by a circular ditch or moat and was excavated in the 1960s. The site is essentially hidden today and encircled by trees, but it retains all of its original features—except the central mound is degraded. It has one opening leading to the central mound, and that opening is on the south side. Below is a recent photo of part of the mound and moat taken by Lora Little.

The Portsmouth site was one of the most incredible sets of geometric earthworks ever built in the ancient world. From the focal point on a high hill in modern-day Portsmouth, there were three 160-foot wide walkways that extended to the west, southwest, and southeast. The walkways were formed by two walls of earth running in parallel lines forming the 160-foot wide walkway between them. The walls of earth were an astonishing 20-feet thick and 4-feet high when they were surveyed in the 1840’s. The combined length of these unusual walkways was over 15-miles. Over the years I have searched for portions of these walls and have read and been told that they were destroyed. However, on this past trip we explored a part of “Old Portsmouth” in spots where the lines were shown on the 1800’s surveys. The walkways in that area were used as elevated building platforms and large portions of them are still present. I have thought for many years that if the Portsmouth earthworks could be restored it would be one of the most amazing archaeological attractions in America.


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Saturday, November 27, 2021