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After reading the headline to this post, you might be thinking, “One of these things is not like the others.” However, Stonehenge, the Acropolis and Newark, Ohio may all have something in common very soon — United Nations World Heritage sites.

The United Nations maintains a list of “the properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.” Stonehenge and the Acropolis (and 849 other sites) are currently listed.

How does Newark, Ohio fit into this? The Newark Earthworks — an impressive earthworks built by the Hopewell culture approximately 2,000 years ago. It lines up with the northernmost moonrise, which occurs only once every 18.6 years. (Galileo reportedly said that calculating the moon’s orbit was the only mathmatical problem that gave him a headache.) Ray Hively and Robert Horn of Earlham College calcuated that the chance of the Newark Earthworks having this alignment just by coincidence is astronomically small (yes, my pun was intended.) You can read more about the alignment at http://www.octagonmoonrise.org/Astronomy.html

The Newark Earthworks has been nominated to be added to the United Nations list. Also up for nomination are Seip Mound (Ross County), Fort Ancient (Warren County), Serpent Mound (Adams County) and the Dayton Aviation Sites.

You can help! You can write letters supporting the addition of the Newark Earthworks to the World Heritage List to:

Jonathan Putnam, Office of International Affairs, NPS, 1201 Eye Street NW, (0050), Washington, DC 20005; or by email at jonathan_putnam@nps.gov; by phone (202) 354-1809; or by fax at (202) 371-1446.

Deadline for public comment is November 30!

You can find more information about the World Heritage List, the Ohio nominees, and a sample letter at http://www.ohiohistory.org/sn/103107.html

You can find additional information about the Newark Earthworks at www.octagonmoonrise.org

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