Ancient earthworks trodden by golfers become a World Heritage Site
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Ancient earthworks trodden by golfers become a World Heritage Site
Golfers at Moundbuilders Country Club, which was build over and around ancient Native American earthworks, in Newark, Ohio, April 4, 2021. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has recognized the Octagon Earthworks in central Ohio as a cultural marvel. (Andrew Spear/The New York Times)

by Sarah Bahr

NEW YORK, NY.- Nine months after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a country club must sell its lease to the state historical society that owns the land containing Native American earthworks, golfers are still pushing carts over the mounds and whacking at them with 3-irons.

But now those Octagon Earthworks, which Native Americans constructed about 2,000 years ago as a means of tracking the movement of the sun and the moon through the heavens, have officially been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

“Inscription on the World Heritage List will call international attention to these treasures long known to Ohioans,” said Megan Wood, the executive director and CEO of the Ohio History Connection, which worked with the National Park Service and the Interior Department to have a combination of eight earthworks sites in central Ohio recognized.

Those sites, collectively known as the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, include the Octagon Earthworks in Newark, Ohio, which were created one basketful of earth at a time with pointed sticks and clamshell hoes.

The designation, announced Tuesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, puts the earthworks among just more than 1,000 World Heritage sites. There are only 25 in the United States, among them the Grand Canyon, Independence Hall and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

“The historical, archaeological and astronomical significance of the Octagon Earthworks is arguably equivalent to Stonehenge or Machu Picchu,” Justice Michael P. Donnelly wrote in the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision in favor of the state historical society, which upheld two rulings by lower courts.

The recognition comes after a yearslong battle between the Moundbuilders Country Club, which had leased the land since 1910 and operated a private golf course atop the earthworks, and the Ohio History Connection, which owns the site and intends to open it as a public park.

The History Connection sued the country club in 2018 in an attempt to acquire the lease, which runs through 2078. Federal officials had told the historical society that securing World Heritage recognition, which brings international acclaim and legal protection, would be impossible without full public access to the site.

The club had argued that ending the lease was not necessary to establish public use and had contended that it had preserved and cared for the mounds. Its members, the president of the club’s board of trustees, David Kratoville, told The New York Times in 2021, “come out for a day and clean up sand traps and plant flowers.”

After the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling last year, the country club filed a motion for reconsideration that was quickly denied.

Kratoville wrote in an email Tuesday that the country club had been good stewards of the Octagon Earthworks and welcomed their World Heritage recognition.

“All we have ever asked for through this long-drawn-out situation was to be compensated fairly, thus allowing our business to continue somewhere else for our members, our community and the 100 or so people we employ,” Kratoville said.

The club had said it was willing to move before the lease was up, but the parties are millions of dollars apart in their negotiations. The value of the lease will now be determined in a jury trial that is set to begin Oct. 17.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

September 21, 2023

Yemen gets ownership of artifacts, but Met will still display them

Eli Wilner & Company restores the frame on Salvator Rosa's "Bandits" for the Historic Charleston Foundation

Roland Auctions NY to offer contemporary art and decorative items

'Take the Money and Run' artist must repay Danish museum

Protesters attack artwork in London gallery

'Why have there been no great women artists?'

New work by Sui Jianguo at Pace Gallery in Hong Kong

Something for everyone, even cannibals, at the Philadelphia Fringe

At City Ballet's 75th birthday bash, a mingling of old and new

Hong Kong Palace Museum unveils 'Gazing at Sanxingdui: New Archaeological Discoveries in Sichuan'

Ancient earthworks trodden by golfers become a World Heritage Site

Pink diamonds emerged out of one of Earth's most ancient breakups

In his next magic show, Derren Brown will be invisible

New Red Order: Artists with a call to 'Give It Back'

A traitor, burned in effigy, again and again

Os Tincoãs were almost forgotten. A new generation found their music.

Full range of human experience is depicted in works by Louise Bourgeois at the Lower Belvedere

Rapturous flower portrait by Irving Penn highlights Bonham's 'NY Photographs Sale'

Yorkshire Sculpture Park to show 'Jonathan Baldock: Touch Wood'

'Unpredictable Drawings' by David Goldes, currently being exhibited at Yossi Milo

Consequences of global economic forces on local culture featured in 'Prologue' at Maureen Paley & Studio M

'Florian Meisenberg: What does the smoke know of the fire?' at Kate MacGarry open until October 21st

Conceptual artist Kimsooja presenting 'To Breathe' at Kewenig

5 Best Home Maintenance Services For Creating a Comfortable Living Space

Navigating the Complexities of Workers Compensation Laws: A Complete Guide

Casinos as Muse: How Gambling Establishments Shape Artistic Endeavors

How Art and Technology Are Merging to Create New Forms of Entertainment

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful