Nearly 2000 years ago, people living in the river valleys of southern Ohio built earthen monuments on a scale that is unmatched in the archaeological record for small-scale societies. The period from c. 200 BC to c. AD 500 (Early to Middle Woodland) witnessed the construction of mounds, earthen walls, ditches, borrow pits and other earthen and stone features covering dozen of hectares at many sites and hundreds of hectares at some. The development of the vast Hopewell Culture geometric earthwork complexes such as those at Mound City, Chilicothe; Hopewell; and the Newark earthworks was accompanied by the establishment of wide-ranging cultural contacts reflected in the movement of exotic and strikingly beautiful artefacts such as elaborate tobacco pipes, obsidian and chert arrowheads, copper axes and regalia, animal figurines and delicately carved sheets of mica. These phenomena, coupled with complex burial rituals, indicate the emergence of a political economy based on a powerful ideology of individual power and prestige, and the creation of a vast cultural landscape within which the monument complexes were central to a ritual cycle encompassing a substantial geographical area. The labour needed to build these vast cultural landscapes exceeds population estimates for the region, and suggests that people from near (and possibly far) travelled to the Scioto and other river valleys to help with construction of these monumental earthen complexes. Here, Mark Lynott draws on more than a decade of research and extensive new datasets to re-examine the spectacular and massive scale Ohio Hopewell landscapes and to explore the society that created them.
A Guide to Mounds and Earthworks of the Adena, Hopewell, Cole, and Fort Ancient People
Author: Susan L. Woodward,Jerry N. McDonald
Publisher: McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company
Mounds and earthworks are the most conspicuous elements of prehistoric American Indian culture to be found on the landscape of eastern North America. Some of the largest, most elaborate, and best known of these structures were built by the Woodland and Late Prehistoric Indians of the middle Ohio Valley. This second edition of the popular Indian Mounds of the Middle Ohio Valley identifies, describes, and provides access information for more than 70 mound and earthwork sites that are open to visitation by the public or that can be seen from public space. In addition, this book provides an overview of the culture of the mound building Indians and the fate of their mounds during the Historic period, and identifies numerous sources of additional information about the subject.
Earthworks (Archaeology) by A. Martin Byers,DeeAnne Wymer
This collection of essays addresses important questions, like these and others, by examining the cultural and social nature of the well-known Ohio Hopewell monumental earthworks. Scholars discuss the purpose, meaning, and role of earthworks and other artifacts, theorizing on how they may have reflected political, social, and practical ecological organization.
There is a general consensus among the North American archaeologists specializing in the Middle Woodland period (ca 100B.C. to ca A.D. 400) that the Ohio Hopewell was a rather straight forward complex of small-scaled peer polity communities based on simple gardening and extensive foraging practices and occupying dispersed habitation locales loosely clustered around major earthworks. This book challenges this general consensus by presenting a radically alternative view. It argues that the Ohio Hopewell episode can be better and more coherently characterized by treating it as a complex social system based on dual and mutually autonomous social networks of clan alliances and world renewal cults, and that this dual clan-cult social system was, in fact, the culmination of such social systems that were widely dispersed across the Eastern Woodlands. The cults were devoted to treating their deceased members and/or dependants as sacrificial offerings to enhance the sacred powers of nature and the clans were devoted to transforming their deceased into ancestors and the stresses these opposing mortuary practices generated underwrote the dynamics of the Ohio Hopewell and brought about the monumental earthworks as sacred locales of world renewal cults.
Astronomers, Geometers, and Magicians of the Eastern Woodlands
Author: William F. Romain
Buried beneath today's Midwestern towns, under several layers of earth and the accumulated debris of two thousand years, are the clues to an ancient mystery. A Native American people, now known as the Hopewell, lived and worked these lands, building earthworks which in some instances dwarf the ruins at Stonehenge. More significantly, these mammoth earthworks were built in different geometric shapes, using a standard unit of measure and aligned to the cycles of the sun and the moon. Using the foundation of existing scholarship, Mysteries of the Hopewell presents new discoveries showing the accomplishments of the Mound Builders in astronomy, geometry, measurement, and counting. William Romain then goes one step further to theorize why generations of people toiled to move millions of tons of earth to form these precise structures, joining the ranks of the Egyptians, Mayans, Greeks, Chinese, and other advanced ancient cultures. William Romain's Mysteries of the Hopewell will appeal to many readers, including anthropologists, mathematicians, and historians, but perhaps especially to readers curious about ancient cultures and seeking explanations for these magnificent earthen structures.
Wisconsin's thousands of effigy mounds and other ancient earthworks are a treasure of world civilization. This popular introduction for general readers, updated throughout with new archaeological findings and satellite imagery, answers the questions, Who built the mounds? When and why were they built? Where can they be viewed?
An authoritative and thoroughly accessible overview offarming and food practices at Cahokia Agriculture is rightly emphasized as the center of the economy in most studies of Cahokian society, but the focus is often predominantly on corn. This farming economy is typically framed in terms of ruling elites living in mound centers who demanded tribute and a mass surplus to be hoarded or distributed as they saw fit. Farmers are cast as commoners who grew enough surplus corn to provide for the elites. Feeding Cahokia: Early Agriculture in the North American Heartland presents evidence to demonstrate that the emphasis on corn has created a distorted picture of Cahokia’s agricultural practices. Farming at Cahokia was biologically diverse and, as such, less prone to risk than was maize-dominated agriculture. Gayle J. Fritz shows that the division between the so-called elites and commoners simplifies and misrepresents the statuses of farmers—a workforce consisting of adult women and their daughters who belonged to kin groups crosscutting all levels of the Cahokian social order. Many farmers had considerable influence and decision-making authority, and they were valued for their economic contributions, their skills, and their expertise in all matters relating to soils and crops. Fritz examines the possible roles played by farmers in the processes of producing and preparing food and in maintaining cosmological balance. This highly accessible narrative by an internationally known paleoethnobotanist highlights the biologically diverse agricultural system by focusing on plants, such as erect knotweed, chenopod, and maygrass, which were domesticated in the midcontinent and grown by generations of farmers before Cahokia Mounds grew to be the largest Native American population center north of Mexico. Fritz also looks at traditional farming systems to apply strategies that would be helpful to modern agriculture, including reviving wild and weedy descendants of these lost crops for redomestication. With a wealth of detail on specific sites, traditional foods, artifacts such as famous figurines, and color photos of significant plants, Feeding Cahokia will satisfy both scholars and interested readers.
A comprehensive and essential field reference, Beliefs and Rituals in Archaic Eastern North America reveals the spiritual landscape in the American Archaic period. Beliefs and Rituals in Archaic Eastern North America describes, illustrates, and offers nondogmatic interpretations of rituals and beliefs in Archaic America. In compiling a wealth of detailed entries, author Cheryl Claassen has created both an exhaustive reference as well as an opening into new archaeological taxonomies, connections, and understandings of Native American culture. The material is presented in an introductory essay about Archaic rituals followed by two sections of entries that incorporate reports and articles discussing archaeological sites; studies of relevant practices of ritual and belief; data related to geologic features, artifact attributes, and burial settings; ethnographies; and pilgrimages to specific sites. Claassen’s work focuses on the American Archaic period (marked by the end of the Ice Age approximately 11,000 years ago) and a geographic area bounded by the edge of the Great Plains, Newfoundland, and southern Florida. This period and region share specific beliefs and practices such as human sacrifice, dirt mound burial, and oyster shell middens. This interpretive guide serves as a platform for new interpretations and theories on this period. For example, Claassen connects rituals to topographic features and posits the Pleistocene-Holocene transition as a major stimulus to Archaic beliefs. She also expands the interpretation of existing data previously understood in economic or environmental terms to include how this same data may also reveal spiritual and symbolic practices. Similarly, Claassen interprets Archaic culture in terms of human agency and social constraint, bringing ritual acts into focus as drivers of social transformation and ethnogenesis. Richly annotated and cross-referenced for ease of use, Beliefs and Rituals in Archaic Eastern North America will benefit scholars and students of archaeology and Native American culture. Claassen’s overview of the archaeological record should encourage the development of original archaeological and historical connections and patterns. Such an approach, Claassen suggests, may reveal patterns of influence extending from early eastern Americans to the Aztec and Maya.
Ceramic Petrography and Hopewell Interaction is a highly innovative study in which James B. Stoltman uses petrography to reveal previously undetectable evidence of cultural interaction among Hopewell societies of the Ohio Valley region and the contemporary peoples of the Southeast.
When you think of Native American mounds in Ohio, the one that most people are familiar with is the Serpent Mound located in Adams County. While this is a remarkable landmark dating back to approximately three thousand years ago and is visible from space, what is little known is the other thirty five hundred documented sites. Keep in mind here the word “documented”, when in reality there is believed to be as many as thirteen thousand potential archaeological sites attributed the Native American tribes of Ohio. In this first volume, it is my intentions to bring some of the misplaced information on these forgotten sites to the attention of the public or at least to those with an interest in preserving this knowledge.
The Lost Kingdoms of the Adena, Hopewell, Mississippians, and Anasazi
Author: Frank Joseph
Publisher: Inner Traditions / Bear & Co
Frank Joseph reveals that modern civilization in North America was preceded by four advanced cultures that rose and fell over the past three thousand years. How they achieved greatness and why they vanished so completely are explored in this unconventional prehistory.
History by Ephraim George Squier,Edwin Hamilton Davis
Multiple Hopewellian monumental earthwork sites displaying timber features, mortuary deposits, and unique artifacts are found widely distributed across the North American Eastern Woodlands, from the lower Mississippi Valley north to the Great Lakes. These sites, dating from 200 B.C. to A.D. 500, almost define the Middle Woodland period of the Eastern Woodlands. Joseph Caldwell treated these sites as defining what he termed the “Hopewell Interaction Sphere,” which he conceptualized as mediating a set of interacting mortuary-funerary cults linking many different local ethnic communities. In this new book, A. Martin Byers refines Caldwell’s work, coining the term “Hopewell Ceremonial Sphere” to more precisely characterize this transregional sphere as manifesting multiple autonomous cult sodalities of local communities affiliated into escalating levels of autonomous cult sodality heterarchies. It is these cult sodality heterarchies, regionally and transregionally interacting—and not their autonomous communities to which the sodalities also belonged—that were responsible for the Hopewellian assemblage; and the heterarchies took themselves to be performing, not funerary, but world-renewal ritual ceremonialism mediated by the deceased of their many autonomous Middle Woodland communities. Paired with the cult sodality heterarchy model, Byers proposes and develops the complementary heterarchical community model. This model postulates a type of community that made the formation of the cult sodality heterarchy possible. But Byers insists it was the sodality heterarchies and not the complementary heterarchical communities that generated the Hopewellian ceremonial sphere. Detailed interpretations and explanations of Hopewellian sites and their contents in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Georgia empirically anchor his claims. A singular work of unprecedented scope, Reclaiming the Hopewellian Ceremonial Sphere will encourage archaeologists to re-examine their interpretations.
How do people living in small groups without money, markets, police and rigid social classes develop norms of economic and social cooperation that are sustainable over time? This book addresses this fundamental question and explains the origin, structure and spread of stateless societies. Using insights from game theory, ethnography and archaeology, Stanish shows how ritual - broadly defined - is the key. Ritual practices encode elaborate rules of behavior and are ingenious mechanisms of organizing society in the absence of coercive states. As well as asking why and how people choose to co-operate, Stanish also provides the theoretical framework to understand this collective action problem. He goes on to highlight the evolution of cooperation with ethnographic and archaeological data from around of the world. Merging evolutionary game theory concepts with cultural evolutionary theory, this book will appeal to those seeking a transdisciplinary approach to one of the greatest problems in human evolution.
The settlement of Poverty Point, occupied from about 1700 to 1100 BC and once the largest city in North America, stretches across 345 acres in northeastern Louisiana. The structural remains of this ancient site-its earthen mounds, semicircular ridges, and vacant plaza-intrigue visitors as a place of artistic inspiration as well as an archaeological puzzle. Poverty Point: Revealing the Forgotten City delves his enduring piece of Louisiana's cultural heritage through personal introspection and scientific exploration. With stunning black and white photography by Jenny Ellerbe and engrossing text by archaeologist Diana M. Greenlee, this imaginative and informative book explores in full Poverty Point's Late Archaic culture and its monumental achievements. Ellerbe's landscapes and commentary reflect the questions and mysteries inspired by her many visits to the site, and Greenlee delves into the most recent archaeological findings, explaining what past excavations have revealed about the work involved in creating its mounds and the lives of the people who built them. The conversation between artist and archaeologist also presents some of the still-unanswered questions about this place: What was the city's function in the ancient world? How did its people acquire their stone materials, some of which originated over a thousand miles from Poverty Point? Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2014, Poverty Point remains a historical treasure with many secrets still buried in its past.
A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication A classic resource on early knowledge of prehistoric mounds and the peoples who constructed them in the eastern United States. With this accessible volume, Henry Clyde Shetrone made available to general readers the archaeological research data and conclusions concerning the ancient mounds and earthworks that dot the landscape of eastern North America. Dismissing popularly held theories of mysterious giants who built these structures, he explained that their purposes were defensive and ceremonial, that they had been used for habitation, burial, and worship. Their builders were antecedents of the native peoples of present-day America and had been skilled artisans and engineers with successful agricultural practices and structured leadership. Twenty chapters discuss aspects of mound-builder cultures: quarrying of flint and obsidian for knapping into points; mining of copper and iron and its fashioning into tools and ceremonial objects; spinning and weaving materials and methods; smoking customs; carving of calumets and their use in ceremony; freshwater pearls and other items for body ornamentation; and the use of stone burial vaults, cremation basins, and concepts of an afterlife. Data is presented from excavations ranging broadly from Massachusetts to Florida and from Texas to North Dakota. As Bradley Lepper points out in his new introduction, "The Mound-Builders is a testament to Shetrone's success at working towards 'correlation and systematization' of data, as well as public education. . . . Shetrone was no armchair popularizer. His work was based on years of excavation and first-hand familiarity with much of the data. His popularizations [still] echo with the ring of the shovel and trowel in gravelly soil."
Among the most socially and personally vocal archaeological remains on the North American continent are the massive and often complexly designed earthen architecture of Hopewellian peoples of two thousand years ago, their elaborately embellished works of art made of glistening metals and stones from faraway places, and their highly formalized mortuaries. In this book, twenty-one researchers in interwoven efforts immerse themselves and the reader in this vibrant archaeological record in order to richly reconstruct the societies, rituals, and ritual interactions of Hopewellian peoples. By finding the faces, actions, and motivations of Hopewellian peoples as individuals who constructed knowable social roles, the authors explore, in a personalized and locally contextualized manner, the details of Hopewellian life: leadership, its sacred and secular power bases, recruitment, and formalization over time; systems of social ranking and prestige; animal-totemic clan organization, kinship structures, and sodalities; gender roles, prestige, work load, and health; community organization in its tri-scalar residential, symbolic, and demographic forms; intercommunity alliances and changes in their strategies and expanses over time; and interregional travels for power questing, pilgrimage, healing, tutelage, and acquiring ritual knowledge. This book is useful to scholars, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates interested in the workings and development of social complexity at local and interregional scales, recent theoretical developments in the anthropology of the topics listed above, the prehistory of eastern North America, its history of intellectual development, and Native American ritual, symbolism, and belief.
Great Lakes Region (North America) by Fritz Zimmerman
This is a compilation of historical accounts that contradict everything we have been taught about ancient America. The accounts are substantiated by the testimony of the Native Americans who lived in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions of North America. American Indians speak of a people who were skilled in arts and engaged in trade whose remains could be found in the burial mounds. These legends are validated by the hundreds of miles of canals extending into the Mississippi River and the extensive copper and lead mines. Early settlers in the Ohio Valley described ancient cities with well-defined evidence of streets laid out at regular intervals and intersected at right angles with other streets. Stone macadamized roads were also evidence of an industrious people engaged in commerce. New information from the British Isles places the Celtic peoples on the Island earlier than previously believed. The Celtic pagan religion is superimposed on ancient sites in the Ohio Valley with indistinguishable characteristics. Ancient ceremonial sites in the Ohio Valley are re-examined under the looking glass of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses. The ancient mound builders practiced a cult of the dead and buried their deceased in burial mounds to act as portals to connect the living with the dead. These portals remain open today and are the gateways for much of the paranormal activity found in the Great Lakes region. While not the focus of the stories presented, many of the skeletons discovered at the ancient sites were of gigantic size. The connection to the paranormal is elaborated in the Book of Enoch, "And now the Giants, who have been begotten from body and flesh, will be called evil spirits on earth, and their dwelling-places will be upon the earth." New documentation is presented that solves the mystery of who were the Hopewell Mound Builders. The Dakota Sioux legends place them in the Ohio Valley at the time when the great geometric earthworks were being constructed. They were called "The Snake People" by the Algonquins. Identical serpent effigies are found in the historic Dakota lands that overlap the Hopewell interaction sphere. Other Indians tribes concur in their legends that this was true along with age-old place names that corroborate the Dakota Sioux as the builders of the effigy mounds in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio and Indiana.