Abstract

Radiocarbon dates from the base of Serpent Mound in Ohio demonstrate that it was built 2,100–2,300 years ago during the Adena period but was subsequently rebuilt or repaired about 900 years ago during the Fort Ancient period. We describe the basis for supporting the chronology of this building sequence, why it is the best and most complete explanation from the data at hand, and discuss the errors and misconceptions that critics of it have put forth. Our interest is in establishing a chronology of mound construction in order to address questions about cultural continuity/discontinuity, appropriation, and reuse of cultural monuments and religious/political symbols. We also plead that researchers jointly collect new data from Serpent Mound to end the back-and-forth questioning of chronological context and research competence.

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