Greenwood Village: Fort or Sacred Site?

Informational sign in brown metal frame; title reads
A wayside exhibit with information about archeologists’ evolving understanding of this site.

NPS / Arrye Rosser

Quick Facts
Park at Red Lock Trailhead, 1175 Highland Road, Sagamore Hills, Ohio 44067. Walk north on the Towpath Trail to the Old Carriage Trail.
This site is one of two recorded Whittlesey sites in the valley, and the only one a trail passes through. These peoples lived here about 500-1100 years ago and archeologists are still learning about them.
Ohio & Erie Canal District, Ohio and Erie Canalway National Heritage Area, Ohio to Erie Trail, Industrial Heartland Trail Network

Audio Description, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

When Charles Whittlesey first described this site, he thought the earthen walls were used as protection, like the walls of a fort. This idea of a fort makes sense, with these earth walls, ringing around this high plateau with steep slopes below. Yet in 1983, archeologists discovered a stone ramp that led from within the earth walls to the surrounding plateau. And archeologists have found no evidence of dwellings within these walls, only a few briefly used fire hearths. Why build a fort if you were not going to live inside it? Archeologists now think these walls may have had a different purpose – more ceremonial. Ceremonial use would have no long term occupation within the walls. Perhaps the walls, now badly worn by plowing and time, did serve as a sort of protection – on the spiritual plane. What do you think?

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Last updated: June 5, 2023