Hopewell Culture National Historical Park HOw do you maintain the ANCIENT and serve the modern

The earthworks, and particularly the mounds at the Hopewell Mound Group are no longer the size that they were when surveyed originally in 1848. Over the years most of the Earthworks have been plowed under, built over or otherwise destroyed. The National Park Service now owns this property. Their mission is to preserve "unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world." (NPS) Key to this is "To preserve unimpaired."

The site General Management Plan (GMP) went through a public environmental process and designated this area be set aside to preserve, protect and interpret the remnants of this group as well as other priorities on p. 4. You can find other regulations that govern the NPS at 36 CFR (pay close attention to Part 68 - The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and the difference between preservation/rehabilitation/restoration/reconstruction), Standards and Guidelines (http://www.nps.gov/history/standards.htm) and other information on Title 54 of the US Code. This sets the stage for the laws that govern the NPS.

Even though the NPS owns the land and manages it, and the Hopewell Culture can not be traced directly back to any specific Native American Tribe, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act also comes into play as earlier excavations have unearthed burial material.

In case this is not enough, the site is being considered for World Heritage site recognition and must meet the UNESCO criteria. They are also working with a variety of stakeholders on this nomination to include the International Council on Monuments and Sites . See details at https://www.ohiohistory.org/give/sites-and-special-projects/historic-sites-and-museums-give/world-heritage-site-nomination . An initial draft of the background for the application can be found at http://worldheritageohio.org/wp-content/support/docs/A%20&%20I%20Hopewell%20July%202013.pdf .

With the consideration of the World Heritage application, the GMP has shifted in perspective. Just preserving and keeping grassland is not acceptable any more. However, the internal regulations for the NPS and the other regulatory guidance under which they fall has not changed. But if the property is under prairie showing small raises in the earth when there should be 30-foot mounds, and looks more like a pasture than an earthwork, how will they meet the UNESCO criteria? UNESCO is a proponent of rebuilding (think the rebuilt Great Wall of China - would you travel all the way there to see piles of rubble?). This flies in the face of the other regulations. Part of the purpose of the World Heritage Grant is to increase tourism so the experience a person has is as important as the preservation aspect.

So the problem is how do you represent the earthworks in question? One hundred years of history in the US is adamantly opposed to reconstruction. NPS says you should not reconstruct historic features except in extraordinary circumstances. Your job is to look at all the regulations and determine what the appropriate actions should be. Is this a legal issue? Moral/ethical because of the Native American component? Or purely economic? How do the regulations support each other? Contradict each other? How would you advise the NPS to proceed based on these criteria? Are there "work arounds" that would allow them to meet the intent of the regulations but satisfy the need to show a site worthy of World Heritage designation? As a public administrator you will be faced with this type of decision - one that challenges you to analyze conflicting regulations, a myriad of stakeholders and outcomes that implicate legal, ethical, political and cultural solutions. How will you proceed?

Created By
Christi Bartman
The photographs in this presentation were taken by Dr. Christi Bartman at the Hopewell Mound City Group, part of the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe, Ohio. They consist of six different views of fully restored prehistoric ceremonial and burial grounds. These exist today as raised mounds on a pastural setting of open grassland. They are mowed by the NPS to highlight the raised mounds (generally in the 10 foot range) from the level field.

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