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Watson Brake and Poverty Point: Early Moundbuilding Cultures of Eastern North America Poverty Point, LA 1700-1200 BC Watson Brake, LA 4000 BC.

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Presentation on theme: "Watson Brake and Poverty Point: Early Moundbuilding Cultures of Eastern North America Poverty Point, LA 1700-1200 BC Watson Brake, LA 4000 BC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Watson Brake and Poverty Point: Early Moundbuilding Cultures of Eastern North America Poverty Point, LA BC Watson Brake, LA 4000 BC

2 *Early Woodland ( BC) – Adena Middle Woodland (200 BC – AD 400) - Hopewell

3 Adena & Hopwell heartland (epicenter) was in Ohio but extended over vast area of eastern NA Adena and Hopewell societies had broad trade relations, Including: Copper (Great Lakes) Mica (S. Appalachians) Chert (Midwest) Obsidian (Wyoming) Shell (S. Atlantic & Gulf Coast) Followed by Late Woodland complex Societies, notably Mississippian cultures after AD 1000, a period of rising chiefdoms

4 House structure at Crigler Mound (Ohio Valley) Adena effigy pipe

5 Adena Mound

6 Wooden burial structure in Adena earthen mound

7 Blocked-end tobacco smoking pipes (Shamanism)

8 Great serpent mound, Ohio, 700 BC-AD 200 Middle Woodland (200 BC to AD 400), associated with the Hopewell complex, which was socially highly complex, based not only on complex mounds and enclosures (exclusive), elaborate burials, and finely crafted artifacts, often of exotic materials, which are found in mounds but not settlements Hopewell (epicenter in Ohio), like Adena, had diverse mounds, including circles, squares, and other shapes, as well as fortress-like enclosures, but Hopewell times was marked by proliferation and elaboration of mounds

9 Newark Earthworks


11 Hopewell Mounds Hopewell's special burial treatment with fine objects and mound structures, focused on adults and men, but included women and children Low inter-group hostilities are suggested during the Hopewell era by relatively few skeletal injuries

12 Human skull rattles Animal effigy platform pipes

13 Late Woodland Fort Ancient Culture in the Ohio Valley (AD ) During Late Woodland inter-group relations worsened, as reflected in Reduced long-distance trade, violent deaths, increased small arrowheads and in some areas iconography

14 Late Woodland Mississippian cultures in Midwest & SE, after AD 1000, represent a period of rising chiefdoms, the highest expression of social complexity in North America

15 Cahokia at AD 1100

16 Cahokia Cahokia Mounds site occupied between AD 800 and The “Golden Age” occurred from AD 1000 and 1275, at which time the site had a population of 20,000 to 30,000 (estimates range from under 15,000 to over 40,000). Over 100 mounds, included platform (flat-topped) temple mounds, conical mounds, and ridgetop mounds, such as the mound 72, which contained spectacular remains associated with elite individuals


18 Mound 72 held an important position by its orientation and alignment with various other mounds. Many of 272 burials in mound were sacrificial offerings and placed there as either extended or bundle burials. Two very high status burials in mound 72, the “beaded burials” are located in base of mound; one individual was buried under a layer of over 20,000 beads and one individual on top of the beads. These beads were laid out in a design of a bird similar to other Mississippian art work.

19 “litter-burials,” dated to AD 1000

20 Burial pit with 53 females estimated between 15 to 30 years. Other burial feature with four males missing their heads and hands.

21 Primary mound 1, burial in feature 102 Primary mound 2 (451 points) Primary mound 1, burial in feature 102 (413 points) Arrowhead caches from Mound 72

22 Mississippian artifacts

23 Many of the most elaborate Mississippian artifacts, often dating from AD , are collectively called the Southern Cult or Southeastern ceremonial complex, which includes artifacts indicating an aggressive ideology and warrior iconography, including motifs such as weeping eyes, warriors, supernatural composites, and severed heads, as well axes, maces, and other weapons (again suggesting that inter-group relations involved more tension in Late Woodland than early Middle Woodland (Hopewell) times)


25 Anasazi or “Ancestral Pueblo” Pueblo I AD 750 to 900 Dispersed household settlement pattern in most areas, but in the San Juan River valley (SW Colorado & SE Utah) aggregates of multiple households herald the formation of relatively permanent villages Cotton was introduced (from the south), and cotton (loom-woven) blankets replaced fur and hide robes Potter's art greatly developed - after AD 800, regional variation in ceramic designs may signify the existence or increased importance of group boundaries Pit houses, as dwellings, gradually replaced with aboveground houses made on stone mortared with mud &arranged in rows Pit houses evolved into special round subterranean ceremonial chambers (kivas) Pueblo II: AD The Chaco Phenomenon Great houses were constructed in San Juan valley, where large quantities of water and sediment were available for farming Pueblo Bonito major spiritual center Emulation of great house architecture at numerous smaller outlying communities, who would journey to Chaco for major ceremonial events Pueblo III - A.D to 1300 Dramatic changes in architecture, including end of major building in Chaco Canyon Political and social influence shifted to areas north of Chaco Pueblo IV - Post A.D Abandonment of Colorado Plateau, which many attribute to a severe drought ( ); many sites abandoned & many geographical regions saw an enormous loss of population Removal of some population to the Rio Grande Valley in central New Mexico as well as to the mesas of north central Arizona

26 Pueblo Bonito Chaco Canyon (AD )

27 Chaco Canyon Great Houses

28 Pueblo Bonito, largest of the great houses in Chaco Canyon (AD ) Major spiritual center

29 A.D A.D A.D.

30 Great Kiva at Pueblo Bonito


32 Hohokam Pre-classic and Classic Hohokam were pottery making farmers in the Sonoran Desert of south central Arizona and northern Mexico (AD ). Many small-clusters of houses but also large settlements that were well organized around plazas, ball courts and platform mounds, such as Casas Grandes. Classic period Hohokam platform mound settlements in the Phoenix, Tuscon, and Tonto area were organized in linear systems along major canals, were discrete political units, and were the site of increasingly centralized ritual and political events The Hohokam people built the largest prehistoric canal system in North America. Their canal irrigation seems to be affected by the deepening and widening of the Gila River between AD , and may have led to salinization in fields Mexico had a strong influence among the Hohokam in both trade and culture. For instance, rubber from the Mexican lowlands was used to make balls that were used on their elaborate ball courts, which also show Mesoamerican influence.

33 Casas Grandes (Mexico)

34 Mimbres Ceramics

35 The greatest cause of declines in Native North America (throughout the Americas) was highly contagious, fever producing diseases

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