The dating of the design, the original construction, and the identity of the builders of the serpent effigy are three questions still debated in the disciplines of social science, including ethnology, archaeology, and anthropology. In addition, contemporary American Indians have an interest in the site. Several attributions have been entered by academic, philosophic, and Native American concerns regarding all three of these unknown factors of when designed, when built, and by whom.
Over the years, scholars have proposed that the mound was built by members of the Adena culture, the Hopewell culture, or the Fort Ancient culture. In the 18th century the missionary John Heckewelder reported that Native Americans of the Lenni Lenape (later Delaware) nation told him the Allegheny people had built the mound, as they lived in the Ohio Valley in an ancient time. Both Lenape and Iroquois legends tell of the Allegheny or Allegewi People, sometimes called Tallegewi. They were said to have lived in the Ohio Valley in a remotely ancient period, believed pre-Adena, i.e., Archaic or pre-Woodland period (before 1200 BCE). Because archaeological evidence suggests that ancient cultures were distinct and separate from more recent historic Native American cultures, academic accounts do not propose the Allegheny Nation built the Serpent Mound.
Recently the dating of the site has been brought into question. While it has long been thought to be an Adena site based on slim evidence, a couple of radiocarbon dates from a small excavation raise the possibility that the mound is no more than a thousand years old. Middle Ohio Valley people of the time were not known for building large earthworks, however; they did display a high regard for snakes as shown by the numerous copper serpentine pieces associated with them.
Radiocarbon dating of charcoal discovered within the mound in the 1990s indicated that people worked on the mound circa 1070 CE.
Read more about this topic: Serpent Mound
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