Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ohio's Moundbuilders: An Introduction #history #nativeamerican

Painting from the Ancient Ohio art series
depicting an Archaic base camp
along the Maumee River in northwest Ohio.
by: Susan A. Walton

Ohio's Moundbuilders pt.1


Ohio's Archaic period was a time of transformation culturally, geographically, economically and socially for humans. As we learned in our previous posts, Native American lifestyles became more complex from 8000 BC–1000 BC. 

The Woodland Period is a period of Native American Pre-Columbian history that lasted in the Eastern United States from 1000 BC to 1000 AD. The technological advancements that had begun in the Late Archaic Period, such as pottery, continued to develop with each cultural group creating their own distinct art forms. What sets this period apart from the Archaic Period is the Pre-Columbian tribes greater dependence upon agriculture. Agriculture had been discovered during the Late Archaic Period. The discovery of agricultural revolutionized mankind's lifestyle and cultures. We will talk more about agriculture in a later post. 

The Woodland Period is broken down into three time periods. Early Woodland (1000–1 BC), Middle Woodland (1–500 AD) and Late Woodland (500–1000 AD). The cultures who lived in the Eastern United States are also known as the Moundbuilders due to the many burial and ceremonial mounds that they constructed. Some of these mounds, such as Serpent Mound, are still visible today yet were more prominent when the white settlers came to the area during the 17-18th centuries. Farmers have destroyed many mounds throughout the centuries. Yet we know they did exist because explorers and surveyors mention the multitudes of mounds that scattered the landscape from Indiana to Florida. We also have archaeological records of the Moundbuilders. 

Two cultures flourished in Ohio during the Woodland Period. These being:

800 BC-100 AD: The Adena Culture.
100 BC-400 AD: The Hopewell Culture.

Below is a map showing the locations of the Adena and Hopewell Cultures in relation to the Fort Ancient Culture. We will talk more about the Fort Ancient culture in another series, as they are relevant not only to Ohio Pre-Columbian history but to Shawnee culture as well.

The Hopewell and Adena were not the only cultures in the Woodland Period but were prevalent in Ohio.  The following map shows the location of some of these cultures in relation to the Ohio Hopewell Culture.

You can learn more about the Moundbuilders by watching this video. 


  1. Fascinating stuff! I've put some study into the cultures of Native Americans, but nothing as in depth as this.

    1. Thank you. I have always love learning about Ohio Native Americans. My first book, Calico, was written from the perspective of the Shawnee people in the 18th century. I deeply researched their culture.