English Français

Serpent Mound

Date de soumission : 30/01/2008
Critères: (i)(iii)(iv)
Catégorie : Culturel
Soumis par :
U.S. Depatment of the Interior
État, province ou région :
Coordonnées N39 1 27.084 W83 25 47.435
Ref.: 5248

Le Secrétariat de l’UNESCO et le Centre du patrimoine mondial ne garantissent pas l’exactitude et la fiabilité des avis, opinions, déclarations et autres informations ou documentations fournis au Secrétariat de l’UNESCO et au Centre du patrimoine mondial par les États Parties à la Convention concernant la protection du patrimoine mondial, culturel et naturel.

La publication de tels avis, opinions, déclarations, informations ou documentations sur le site internet et/ou dans les documents de travail du Centre du patrimoine mondial n’implique nullement l’expression d’une quelconque opinion de la part du Secrétariat de l’UNESCO ou du Centre du patrimoine mondial concernant le statut juridique de tout pays, territoire, ville ou région, ou de leurs autorités, ou le tracé de leurs frontières.

Les noms des biens figurent dans la langue dans laquelle les États parties les ont soumis.


Serpent Mound, in Adams County, is the largest documented surviving example of a prehistoric effigy mound in the world.   It is a sinuous earthen embankment 411 meters long, including an oval embankment at one end, which has been interpreted variously as the serpent's eye, part of its head, or a secondary object, such as an egg, grasped in the serpent's open jaws.  The effigy ranges from 1.2 to 1.5 meters  in height and from 6 to 7.6 meters in width.  Radiocarbon dates obtained from samples from the effigy, combined with stylistic analyses of the iconography, indicate Serpent Mound was built by the Fort Ancient Culture about the year 1120 CE.  This state memorial also preserves three Native American burial mounds as well as evidence of contemporary habitation sites.  

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionelle

This monumental geoglyph embodies fundamental cosmological principles of an indigenous ancient American Indian culture.  Serpent Mound represents the acme of prehistoric effigy mound-building in the world and is part of a tradition of effigy mound building among some American Indian cultures of the present Eastern United States.  Its remarkably naturalistic quality makes it immediately recognizable as a representation of a serpent, and the form also aligns astronomically to mark the passage of the seasons.  The Great Serpent was a source of enormous spiritual power that a widespread pre-Columbian culture could invoke to aid them in hunting and in curing illnesses.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité

Although Serpent Mound was somewhat degraded by 19th century farming and looting, it has been carefully restored and protected, beginning in 1887.  Only limited archeological digging has been carried out and what remains has a high degree of authenticity. 

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

Geoglyphs in the form of animal or human effigy mounds, or intaglios, appear around the world.  The Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana (in Peru) is the only such site currently inscribed on the World Heritage List.  Other examples include the Uffington Horse (UK), the Cerne Abbas Giant (UK), the Serpent Mound at Loch Nell (UK), the Serpent Mound at Rice Lake (California),  Effigy Mounds National Monument (Iowa), and the Blythe Intaglios (California).   The scale of Serpent Mound dwarfs all other securely documented effigy mounds and is larger than most of the geoglyphs in the world.