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, in the first American Landscapes volume, 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.
Mark Lynott was for many years archaeologist with the US National Park Service and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
I. More than Mounds and Ditches, an Introduction to Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Landscapes Ohio and the Beginning of North American Archaeology Mortuary Mounds and Artifacts Expanding Research Interests in earthworks and ceremonial centers Ohio Hopewell Constructed Landscapes and the Digital Revolution Ohio Hopewell- an iconic name and iconic sites, but what is it? II. Current Issues in the Construction of Ohio Hopewell ceremonial landscapes Hopewell Variation and Distribution Time and Hopewell Archaeology Energy analysis: How many people did it take to build Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Landscapes Sedentary Farmers or Mobile Foragers? Mensuration, Geometry, Alignments and Reading the Heavens Alignments and Reading the Heavens The Great Hopewell Road Were ceremonial landscapes planned designs? Models and hypotheses. III. The Hopeton Earthworks Project Geophysical Survey and Trench Excavations Embankment Wall Features Geoarchaeology Radiocarbon Results Non-embankment wall features Near The Earthworks: Triangle, Red Wing, Overly, and Cryder sites What have we learned about the Hopeton Earthworks? IV. Studies of Ohio Hopewell Ceremonial Landscapes Southeastern Ohio Newark Earthworks Marietta Scioto River Valley Seip High Bank Earthwork Anderson Earthwork Mound City Hopewell Mound Group Shriver Circle Southwest Ohio- Brush Creek, The Great Miami and Little Miami River drainages Fort Hill, Highland County Fort Ancient Foster's Crossing Pollock Works Miami Fort Turner Group of Earthworks Stubbs Earthwork V: What do we know about Hopewell ceremonial landscapes? Constructed Landscapes, Site Preparation and Planning Material Selection and the Placement of material: art or engineering? Landscape Features - Unique and Diverse Time and Landscape Construction How Were Ceremonial Landscapes Used? Ritual Refuse Pits at the Riverside Site, Hopewell Mound Group The Moorehead Circle Craft Houses and Other Wooden Structures A Great Post Circle and Many Buildings Beyond the Enclosure at Mound City Some additional thoughts VI. Some Final Thoughts: What We Still Need to Learn Landscapes and Time The Meaning Behind Landscape Forms Beyond Southern Ohio Future studies and final thoughts VII. References