Discover Ohio’s World Heritage . . .

UNESCO World Heritage.

Several sites in Ohio are poised to join the extremely prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, with more than 1000 other properties around the globe, including the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and Stonehenge. World Heritage inscription is based on stringent criteria, and signifies outstanding universal value to humanity. Making the list helps ensure a site’s permanent preservation, enhanced understanding, deeper appreciation, and increased tourism.

Ohio and the US Tentative List.

Three nominations in Ohio are among 13 currently on the “US Tentative List” from which nominees will be drawn to go forward for inscription in the coming years. Efforts are now well underway to prepare our Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks to go forward; while Serpent Mound and the Dayton Aviation Sites will follow afterwards. Here we explain how the nomination process works, how it will bring enormous benefits to the US and to Ohio, how you can get involved and support the effort, and how you can learn more about these amazing places, right here in our Midwestern “back yard.”

The World Heritage Program

of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established to encourage the permanent protection of cultural and natural treasures around the globe. With inspiration from America’s National Park system, and leadership from the US under the Nixon administration, an international treaty (called the Convention) was signed in 1972, with the U.S. as the first signatory. Today, 191 countries have ratified the Convention. The US has 23 Inscribed Sites so far, only eight of which are cultural. The entire worldwide list of around 1,000 properties can be explored on an interactive map.

The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks.

The UNESCO World Heritage nomination of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks is actively in preparation by our collaborative, multi-institutional steering committee, and includes the Newark Earthworks in Licking County, Fort Ancient in Warren County, and five geometric earthworks in Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio.

How to Help Now.

Only 23 of the UNESCO World Heritage sites are located in the US, and none are in Ohio. But Ohioans are now working actively to advance the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks – currently on the US “Tentative List” which means they are eligible – to become inscribed. The U.S. Department of the Interior can begin the process through an announcement in the Federal Register to invite sites that are on the Tentative List to submit formal nominations for World Heritage consideration from UNESCO. To HELP NOW with this effort, please use the draft letter here to urge the Department of the Interior to make a Federal Register announcement so that Ohio and the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks can take the next step toward World Heritage status. Please send your letter to the address included on the letter or email a message to Thank you!