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Archeological Atlas of Ohio

William. C. Mills - 1914

 Gustav's Library Vintage Reprint

Undoubtedly the most famous archaeological feature publication, the Archeological Atlas of Ohio was compiled by William C. Mills in 1914.  He started with existing maps by Warren K. Moorehead, Charles Whittlesey, and the 1891 map of earthworks prepared by  the Smithsonian institution.  He then systematically examined each Ohio county and updated the master map to arrive at the finished atlas.  The original publication run was limited to only 500 copies and the originals now sell for between $600-$900 (depending on condition).

This large format (approximately 12" x 17") soft cover book is printed on acid-free, premium heavyweight paper and features the full-size, color maps of each of the 88 Ohio counties and their descriptions as well as the special archaeological features found in the original.  The binding of this massive volume is a special double loop wire which, unlike the original, allows it to be opened and lay flat, 193 pages.   $44.95



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Almost 3 feet long when opened

Ohio Mound distribution Map Sample Description Muskingum County Sample Map Muskingum County

Muskingum County Map Detail

Ohio Indian Trails

Sample  Plates - click on image to enlarge

The History of The Archeological Atlas of Ohio

from Archeological Atlas of Ohio, William C. Mills - 1914

The territory embraced within the State of Ohio probably contains a greater number of prehistoric remains than any other equal area in the Mississippi valley. The number of these earthworks has been variously estimated. Some writers have estimated the number of tumuli at 10,000 and the enclosures, etc., at 3,000 to 1,500, making the total number of earthworks more than 11,000. As a matter of fact these estimates were based upon what was known of such counties as Scioto, Ross, Pickaway, Butler, Hamilton, Warren, Washington and Licking, all of which were great centers of prehistoric activity. If all the counties in the state were dotted over with the earthworks of prehistory man, as are the counties mentioned, the estimate would be inadequate. But we find the entire northwest part of the state unsuited in prehistory times for occupancy by a prehistoric people, as the greater portion was low and swampy and at certain seasons of the year covered with water. Again the southeast part of the state was entirely too rough and hilly and the valleys of the streams small, so that agriculture was carried on with great difficulty. The valleys of the two Miamis, Scioto and Muskingum were well adapted for the abode of prehistoric man and here we find his principal monuments.
     The task of recording these monuments was begun in a very early day by Col. Chas. Whittlesey, President of the Western Reserve Historical Society. He had constructed a large wall map 12 x 14 feet and had recorded upon it all the known monuments. This map is now the property of the Ohio State Archeological and Historical Society and was drawn by Thomas Mathew, Professor of Drawing at the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College (State University). No date is marked upon the map but no doubt it dates back to the early 70's. In 1891 an Archeological Map of Ohio was published by the Smithsonian Institution, upon which many additional mounds were noted. In 1895 Prof. Warren K. Moorehead constructed for the Society a new Archeological map and commenced to map the state systematically. The size of the new map was 6 x 6 feet which was much smaller than the map made for Col. Whittlesey. After Prof. Moorehead's resignation in 1897 the writer conducted a systematic examination of the State, county by county, verifying wherever possible those monuments already known and at the same time adding new records to the map. After due consideration the Executive Committee of the Society found that a wall map would be entirely too unwieldy and undesirable as a published account of the earthworks of Ohio and they changed the plan of publication to an Archaeological Atlas of Ohio, by counties, a more convenient form for examination and study.
     In presenting the Archeological Atlas of Ohio, the author wishes to state it is as near complete as is at present possible, remindful of the fact that many monuments have been destroyed by a century or more of cultivation of the soil and by other destructive agencies and that many, no doubt, exist that we have no records of.
     The various classes of earthworks shown on the maps of the Atlas are as follows: Mounds (mortuary), enclosures (circular, crescent and square) village sites, burials (ordinary interments), cemeteries, stone graves, effigies, petroglyphs, flint quarries and caches. The symbols designating the various earthworks, are shown in the subjoined cartographic table.
     The mound, for the most part erected as a monument to the dead, is the best known and most abundant of the earthworks of Ohio. They are usually conical in form and varying in height from a few feet to 67 feet and in diameter from 10 to several hundred feet. They may occur singly or in groups but always in close proximity to their villages. Ross county has 370 recorded burial mounds, Licking county has 225, Butler county 221, Jackson county and Pickaway county tie for fourth place with 173 each, while Auglaize, Henry and Wood counties have no records of a single mound. Total number of recorded mounds in the state, 3,513.
     The division of enclosures into three classes the circular, the square and the crescent is merely an arrangement of convenience suggested by their forms and is not necessarily indicative of purposes for which they were constructed.
     With respect to purpose and location, the following classification probably is more desirable: (1) "Hill-top" enclosures, of irregular form, conforming to the topography of the ground on which they lie and from the natural strategic advantages of their position, suggesting a military, that is, a defensive use; (2) enclosures, geometric in design, more or less symmetrical and located on low or level lands, the purpose of which may have been the same, but perhaps constructed by a different culture; and (3) enclosures partaking somewhat of the characteristics of the two preceding classes but located on high or low ground apparently with little regard to topography.
     Fort Ancient, in Warren county, is the best example of the hill-top enclosures of the state. Enclosures of this class usually are constructed of stone and earth combined, and occur most frequently in the southern half of the state though not uncommon elsewhere.
     The best examples of the second named class are found in Licking, Ross, Butler, and other counties contiguous to the Muskingum, Scioto and Miami rivers. They take the form of circles, squares, crescents, etc., singly or in combination and usually are constructed entirely of earth.
     The third class of enclosures occur principally in the southern portions of the state and in several counties south of Lake Erie. They vary greatly in form and location and consequently in probable uses. The total number of enclosures recorded in the various counties of Ohio is 587. Ross county stands first with 49, Licking county 36, Pickaway county 33 and Franklin county comes fourth with 28.
     The village sites marking the places where aboriginal villages or camps existed are scattered pretty generally over the state. They furnish intimate data regarding the domestic life of the aborigine. Among the important village sites are the Baum village site and the Gartner site, in Ross county. Both have been explored by the Society and the results printed in the Society's publications. The total number of village sites recorded in the state is 354. Miami county leads with 35 recorded sites, Jackson county 22, Hamilton 17, and Darke county 13.
     Cemeteries and burials are self explanatory. They usually occur in or near village or camp sites. The stone grave is merely a local variation of burial custom occurring most frequently along the Ohio river where the abundance of slabs of loose stone encouraged their use in preparing graves.
     Of the effigy mounds, the greatest is the Serpent Mound of Adams county. Others are the Oppossum Mound of Licking county, the Warren county Serpent, the tapir like figure in Scioto county and several anomalous figures in Pickaway, Ross and other counties. These works are described under their respective counties.
     Petroglyphs or rock pictures are found cut into exposed rock surfaces and are most abundant along the Ohio river. Among the more important of the petroglyphs are those in Jackson, Meigs, Belmont, Columbiana and Cuyahoga counties and described under those counties.
Flint quarries, the principal ones of which are located in Licking, Muskingum and Coshocton counties, were of great importance in the aboriginal economy. Their purpose is evident the sup-plying of raw material for the manufacture of the multitude of chipped flint objects found in practically every section of the state. Flint quarries recorded number 109. The total number of the various classes of earthworks recorded upon the maps of the Atlas are as follows:

Mounds (Burial)
Enclosures (Square, circular and crescent)
Village Sites
Burials (Ordinary interments)
Stone Graves
Effigy Mounds
Flint Quarries
Rock Shelters
Total 5,396

     The author is under many obligations to Mr. H. C. Shetrone for his untiring efforts in assembling the records of the earthworks and placing the marks in the proper position on the maps and for personal examination of sections along the Ohio River. To Mr. Phillip Hinkle of Cincinnati for furnishing the records for Hamilton county. To Mr. Aimer Hegler for furnishing the records for Fayette county. To Judge H. C. Miller and Mr. F. E. Bingman of Jackson for the records of Jackson county.
     The author is also indebted to many others in the various counties of the state, who aided in many ways to furnish records and assist in locating the archeological remains for a permanent record.

Wm. C. Mills.
Columbus, Ohio. March, 1914.