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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 – Middle Woodland

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Department
Anthropology
Course
Anthropology 2231F/G
Professor
Christopher Ellis
Semester
Summer

Description
Lecture 10 – Middle Woodland Newark Earthworks (Ohio)  Largest mound (octagon) covers 50 acres  Geometric layouts, long linear earth-banks  Brad Lepper: believed the earth-work “road” went as far as 90 miles away to another center; called it the “Hopewell Road”  Very precise dimensions and lengths on structures o Distances equal across sites o Area of circles, octagons and squares the same  Layouts tied into astronomical observations (e.g. lunar alignments, solar movement) – common throughout Hopewell o Large circle between a square and a smaller circle o Pattern and size repeated at other sites  E.g. Seip site o Considerable degree of knowledge of geometry, astronomy, and planning; also ability to manage large work force  Majority of mounds are conical, few flattop mounds  All burial mounds o Always evidence of structures under the mounds, mortuary facilities or charnal houses  Can be very complex  Built structures when people died, eventually torn down and mound built over o Structures mimic the large circle, square, small circle pattern of the earthworks  Cremation o Cremated in a clay-lined pit, 80% of burials were cremations o Left out for a long period of time to deflesh the bodies  Remaining soft tissue scraped off o Cremated only the bones o Clay Basins: sometimes called alters, build up off the floor, sometimes deliberately filled with elaborate goods and burned  E.g. Hopewell: pearls, beads, bear claws, fabrics, obsidian bifaces, etc. o Many include cooked animal remains (especially deer)  Extended Burials o Often accompanied with large amounts of elaborate grave goods o Shows beginning of social inequality o New mounds with one or few individuals = higher status individual(s)  Earthworks used for anything other than ceremonies
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