Were the builders of the famous earthworks and mounds of the Middle Ohio Valley, people we today call Ohio Hopewell, residentially mobile or sedentary populations? What role and meaning did Hopewell earthworks play within these ancient societies? Ultimately, can they teach us anything or help us see things anew? 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. Presented in a unique 'dialogical' structure, this series of open conversations and debates about divergent archaeological practices provides a unique opportunity for the contributors to directly assess their colleagues' various approaches to studying these ancient communities.
A. Martin Byers is a research affiliate in anthropology at McGill University in Montreal. He is the author of The Ohio Hopewell Episode: Paradigm Lost, Paradigm Gained, and a contributor to several edited volumes, including Interacting with the Dead: Perspectives on Mortuary Archaeology for the New Millennium (UPF).