The tradition is so named forthe owner of the farm, Captain Hopewell, where over thirty mounds were discovered. Earlier studies focused more on the exotic grave goods such as precious metals,freshwater pearls, many of these objects had come from all corners of the continent fromthe Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico, and north to the mid-Atlantic coastline(some say Hopewellian influence reached Nova Scotia). Earlier scholars of the Hopewell (1950s through 1960s) were well aware of the influence of the InteractionSphere, yet concluded that the Hopewell, in terms of lifestyle were a cult and had noinfluence on daily life. Later studies suggest otherwise, as more and more informationsurfaces along with new insightful interpretations. It is widely accepted that the Hopewell are the next generation of the Adena.
That is to say that the Adena gave rise to the Hopewell, who had, as speculated migratedinto the Ohio River Valley from Illinois. The Hopewell have been described as a moreelaborate and flamboyant version of the Adena. Whether the Hopewell overpowered theAdena or simply mingled with and mixed into the culture, is not certain, yet there hasbeen no evidence of warfare to support the former. The result was a cultural explosionencompassing a vast majority of North America east of the Rocky Mountains to theAtlantic coast.
The Hopewell flourished in the Middle Woodland from 200 B. C. to AD 500. The environment was nearly what it is today. Temperate with lakes, streams, wetlandsand flood-plains, the people took advantage of the seasonal weather in the Ohio RiverValley via foraging as well as hunting and gathering. The cultivation of domestic strainsof beans and maize was well on its way as it was implemented in small amounts,catching on later in the time period.
The vegetation was a prairie/forest mix of deciduoustrees, walnut, oak, various grasses and shrub. The fauna of the region included manyspecies of waterfowl, turkey and other species in great abundance that are found today(perhaps in more abundance than found today). Larger fauna included buffalo, bison,deer, and elk and smaller animals such as rodents, raccoons, beaver and the like. Aquaticlife included freshwater mussels and clams, many fishes (bass, catfish, etc.
) and turtles. As we will see, the people made abundant use of these flora and fauna as food, clothing,container, ceremonial and ornamental objects. As for changes through time in theenvironment, it is theorized (by some) that it did in fact shift to a wetter one, perhapsdriving the people to higher ground or otherwise drier climates. Core settlement, as noted was along the Ohio River and its estuaries onflood-plains, as well as on or near wetlands. Major areas of population density includeNewark and Chillicothe as well as Marietta.
These areas provided a lush environment offlora and fauna species that were widely exploited over the centuries by the inhabitants. Living quarters, although scarcely studied, consist of scatterings of small villages withlarger settlements located near and around major mound complexes. Some of thesesmaller villages seem to have been occupied seasonally while settlement was more thanlikely permanent in the larger loci surrounding the mounds. Some dwellings have beenfound to consist of saplings stuck into the ground in a circle, brought together in thecenter and covered with elm bark or mats of woven grasses. Post molds from variousareas in Ohio and Illinois indicate oval patterns as well as rectangular long-houses withrounded corners.
Larger houses ranged from 18 to 25 feet long and one was as large as44x48 feet, suggesting a large gathering place, perhaps for trading, council meetings orceremonial practices. The dress of the people reflected their beliefs, trading practices and even wealth. Ornaments were worn head to foot. Womens hair were pinned back with dowels ofwood or bone in a bun or knot and a long sort of ponytail.
When nursing, women woretheir hair braided and tied up in a shorter ponytail that was held together by a mesh ornet-like bag. Typical male hairstyle was a sort of mohawk on top with their hair pulledback into a bun in the back. As for male dress, a warrior wore a loincloth of dyedmaterial with patterns on it (resembling a diaper; for .