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Native ‘Stonehenge’ mounds desecrated by a golf course

By Christopher Maag

The Hopewell Indians used sharp sticks and clamshells here 2,000 years ago to sculpture seven million cubic feet of dirt into a sprawling lunar observatory and the spiritual center of their far-flung empire. Today it is an easy Par 3 flanked by sand traps shaped like kidney beans. For generations, few thought it strange that golfers at the Moundbuilders Country Club whacked little white balls across ground once hallowed to an ancient community.

But now there is an eagerness among many people to see moonrises from the mounds the way the Indians did, a desire that has caused a conflict with the golf club. The Newark Earthworks, which make up the world’s largest ancient mound site, lingered in obscurity 30 miles east of Columbus until five years ago, when the country club announced plans for a new clubhouse. The design included a foundation that would have dug into the mounds.

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