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Article

David S. Brose

Prehistoric site in North America. It is the largest of several mounds along the Scioto River north of Chillicothe, OH. Although it is the eponym of the Early Woodland-period Adena culture of the Upper Ohio River Valley (c. 1000–c. 100 bc), the date of the mound itself is unknown. No stylized engraved palettes, characteristic of Adena culture, were found. The mound comprises a penannular earthwork built in several stages to a height of 8 m. A circular structure with sloping sides and double-set wooden post walls was constructed on a floor from which numerous fires had been cleared. Next, burials were placed centrally in rectangular tombs dug into the floor of the structure, a low mound was heaped over them and the funerary structure was burned. The entire area was then covered by layers of black sand incorporating several new cremations and burials outside the central tombs. For some considerable time after this, additional cremated human remains and extended burials were placed in further layers of sand and gravel. The cremation and inhumation burials, and occasionally clay-covered bundles of bones, were accompanied by annular and penannular copper bracelets and rings; cut river mussel shell animal effigies; cut mica headbands; expanded centre gorgets, ground, polished and drilled, of schist and chlorite; and a human effigy carved in the round on an Ohio pipestone tube....

Article

Awatovi  

E. Charles Adams

Site in North America, in north-eastern Arizona. A Hopi village was established there by c. ad 1250 and destroyed in 1700. During excavations (1935–9) by the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, almost 150 wall paintings were discovered in 11 kivas (subterranean ceremonial structures; see Kiva). The wall paintings were first executed c. 1375 using the fresco secco technique and continued up to Spanish contact in the early 17th century. Except for black, inorganic pigments were used, including red, yellow, blue, green, pink, orange, brown, grey and white. Plant, animal and anthropomorphic forms are portrayed, as well as clouds, lightning, water symbols and geometric designs. The subject matter is religious, depicting parts of ceremonies, events and creatures of Hopi oral history, and altars used to perform ceremonies. Later compositions convey a feeling of movement, many showing symbolic combat between two figures. The sudden appearance of elaborate kiva wall paintings seems to coincide with the development of ...

Article

Cahokia  

David M. Jones

Site in the USA in East St Louis, IL, of a huge Pre-Columbian city. Founded c. ad 700, it was the largest prehistoric city ever built north of Mexico and was probably influenced by political and civic ideas from Mesoamerica, Pre-Columbian. At its height, between c. ad 1050 and c. 1250, Cahokia encompassed c. 13 sq. km and had a population of c. 10–15,000. Although located in the north-west part of the middle Mississippi Southern Cult area, it was the political, economic and religious centre for more than 50 towns (see Native North American art, §I, 4, (v)). The exact nature of its power or rule, however, is uncertain. A potential rival in the south-east of the cult area was Moundville, AL, nearly as large. Cahokia began to decline after c. 1250, although some of its satellite towns, at such sites as Angel, Aztatlan, Dickson and Kinkaid, continued to flourish as local centres. A drastic population decline ...

Article

David M. Jones

Archaeological zone in north-west Arizona. Pre-Columbian sites in Canyon de Chelly are attributed to the Anasazi culture (c. 200 bcc. ad 1350) and were built between the 12th and 14th centuries ad when the Anasazi began to abandon their scattered small hamlets on cliff tops for fewer but larger settlements of cliff dwellings. These were constructed in the steep-sided, stream-cut main and subsidiary canyons with numerous overhanging cliffs; on the shelves of such overhangs the Anasazi built blocks of apartment-like structures constructed of adobe bricks or stone blocks (e.g. White House ruins). The removal of the Anasazi from plateau dwellings to cliff dwellings may have been for defence as aggression increased between groups (see also Mesa Verde). The earliest rooms often became storage rooms as later dwellings were built above and in front of them. The blocks were multi-storey and terraced, with access between terraces by wooden ladders. Inter-storey floors–ceilings were made with log rafters. Walls had key-hole and trapezoidal doorways and in some cases square windows. Open spaces in front of the blocks were excavated and filled to create level ceremonial areas, and circular, semi-subterranean ...

Article

R. Gwinn Vivian

Archaeological zone of Pre-Columbian towns and roads in North America, in the San Juan Basin, north-western New Mexico. Chaco Canyon was the centre from c. ad 850–1150 of Chacoan culture, one manifestation of the Anasazi tradition, and considered ancestral to contemporary Pueblo peoples of the Southwest. A community of at least 12 multi-storey, tiered ‘great houses’ and hundreds of contemporaneous single storey ‘small house sites’ were built within a 15 km sector of the canyon. ‘Great houses’ were constructed with core walls with veneer masonry and ranged from 80 to 580 rooms. Small houses were of simpler masonry and averaged about 20 rooms each. Both types were domestic structures, but also contained round ceremonial rooms known as kivas (see Kiva). ‘Great kivas’, up to 18 m in diameter, are restricted to ‘great houses’ or occur as isolated buildings. ‘Great houses’ are associated with elaborate water-control systems that collected and diverted rainfall run-off to gridded agricultural fields. ‘Great houses’ in the canyon itself were linked to ‘outlier’ communities on the peripheries of the San Juan Basin by wide (...

Article

Etowah  

David S. Brose

Site in north-west Georgia, USA, where a densely occupied, haphazardly planned agricultural village flourished in the Mississippian period (c. ad 1000–c. 1600). It covers 21 ha at the junction of the southern Appalachian Mountains and the piedmont, at the major fork of the Coosa River. The site was surrounded by palisades with outworks. Within the village area were three large mounds arranged around an open plaza. Mound A, the largest, has a ramp. Both it and Mound B are flat-topped pyramidal structures, presumably built to support temple buildings. Excavations in Mound C (intermittent since 1884) reveal it to have been built in at least three stages, during the construction of which over 300 burials were interred.

In the last stage, after c. ad 1400, only a few socially élite burials (including rather impoverished retainers) were placed in a tomb dug below the floor of a temple on Mound C’s final summit. Large carved stone cult statues marked the entrance to the burial chamber. The élite individuals were fully dressed in ritual costumes and were accompanied by ...

Article

David S. Brose

Site of a prehistoric village with complex earthworks, which flourished on the banks of Caloosahatchee River near Lake Okeechobee in south Florida, USA. By c. 450 bc the hunter–gatherer occupants had created a 9 m-wide, 350 m-diameter circular ditch to drain a vast garden plot. By c. ad 150 a more complex system of circular and radial ditches enclosed a ceremonial centre with two low, flat-topped mounds. On one of the mounds stood a charnel house in which bodies were prepared for placement on a roughly constructed wooden platform, standing in an artificial pond. The upper platform piers were elaborately carved to represent birds and felines. At the collapse of this platform, c. ad 500, many of the 300 burial bundles were salvaged, placed on the former location of the charnel house and covered with a mound of sand. Several of these reburials were accompanied by incised and stamped platform pipes of a style known as Hopewellian (...

Article

Catherine S. Fowler

Prehistoric rock art site in North America, in the steep-walled sandstone canyon country of south-eastern Utah. The Great Gallery is the principal site in the canyon and features one of the finest painted pictograph panels in North America. It is dominated by dozens of large anthropomorphic figures (some nearly 2 m), best representative and definitive of the Barrier Canyon Style as described by Schaafsma (1971 and 1980). Anthropomorphs and accompanying zoomorphic images are painted on prepared red sandstone surfaces on the canyon walls with dark red pigments using both the fingers and spatter-painting techniques. The figures are characterized by large, square-shouldered torsos, many with inverted bucket-shaped heads and ‘crowns’ of white dots. Arms and legs are rudimentary or non-existent. Torsos feature fine detail in painting and incising, including horizontal and vertical bands of colour, fine line and striping (sometimes white). Heads sometimes have large, round eyes, often giving them a skull-like appearance and the overall figures a ghostly quality. Small birds and mammals often occur on or near the figures, especially at the shoulders, suggesting to some that the groups represent shamans with tutelaries. Other sites featuring figures of this style are in a relatively circumscribed area along the Green and Colorado rivers in eastern Utah (Castleton, ...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

Archaeological region of the lower Mississippi and Ohio valleys in eastern North America exhibiting a sophisticated advanced mound-building culture. The Hopewell Mound Group is not named after a Native American tribe but after the family that owned the land where the earthworks are located in Ohio. This designation encompasses the style and similarities of cultural architecture, artefacts, and other archaeological practices located at the site. The name also divides the Hopewell culture from earlier and later cultural periods and groups located in the region.

Active between 200 bc and ad 500, during the Middle Woodland period, Hopewell represents an intermediary culture, appearing between the earlier Adena culture and the later Mississippian culture. All three cultures created gigantic configurations of earthen mounds built in geometric patterns and various shapes. The earliest archaeological evidence of the Hopewell culture is located in the state of Illinois, while southern Ohio and the northern Indiana Ohio River area contain the largest building of geometric earthworks. The Mound City Group in Chillicothe, OH, contains the largest grouping of burial mounds. First explored and analysed in ...

Article

David S. Brose

Prehistoric village site on the west coast of Florida, south of Fort Myers. It was one of dozens of such shell midden sites, first occupied c. ad 700 and abandoned after c. ad 1300 (perhaps destroyed in a hurricane). At the time of the arrival of the first Spanish explorers, the Calusa Indians lived in the area. The builders of Key Marco netted and speared marine fish and sea mammals, molluscs, local estuarine reptiles and small mammals, and collected the starchy root of several native plants to support a densely populated town. The plain ceramics from Key Marco and similar sites were derived from types found at earlier, less complex ‘Big Circle’ earthworks to the north and east in the Everglades (e.g. Fort Center). On sites on the Florida keys, dozens of tool types were made of conch and whelk shell and deep middens of shells were combined into mounds or house platforms, and built into revetments for dikes, canals and boat slips along the coast. The good preservation conditions of the Key Marco middens and coastal mud has yielded large quantities of normally perishable wooden, fibre and bone artefacts (Philadelphia, PA, Acad. Nat. Sci.). Most are commonplace bowls, tools, nets, weapons, paddles or boat and house parts and furniture; but there are also hundreds of personal ornaments (shell and wooden beads, bracelets, pins or ear ornaments—most of the latter with zoomorphic or anthropomorphic carved features) and scores of modelled, carved and painted ceremonial plaques and masks....

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

Zone of archaeological sites in Colorado that was home to the ancestral Pueblo people (Anasazi) between AD 550 and 1300. The Mesa Verde cultural complex is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States containing the greatest number of ancient cliff dwellings ever found. Situated in semi-arid and scenic south-western Colorado, and consisting of 52,121 acres of finger-like mesas (table-shaped hills) cut by steep-walled canyons, Mesa Verde was made a National Park in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1978, in recognition of its exceptional archaeological sites of universal value, Mesa Verde was designated a World Heritage Cultural Site by UNESCO—it was one of seven sites throughout the world selected for cultural recognition.

A monument to American culture, Mesa Verde National Park protects over 4000 known archaeological sites, consisting of 600 cliff dwellings and thousands of prehistoric mesa-top villages and archaeological sites (pithouses, pueblos, masonry towers, and farming structures). Countless artefacts have been unearthed in the park—white pottery with black designs, stone tools, jewellery, and finely woven baskets and clothing—however, the most prominent legacy of the ancestral Puebloans of Mesa Verde is the architecture....

Article

Ozette  

Marie Mauzé

American site at Cape Alava on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington. It was the southernmost village of the Nootkan-speaking Makah people and an important whaling centre. Occupied from c. ad 400 and possibly as early as 2000 bc, it was partly destroyed by a mud-slide c. ad 1450, although it remained inhabited until the 1920s. Excavated in 1966–7 and 1970–81, the waterlogged site has yielded over 50,000 remarkably well-preserved domestic and ritual artefacts (Neah Bay, WA, Makah Cult. & Res. Cent.) made of a wide range of materials, including rare finds of wooden and fibre objects. These discoveries have led to a better understanding of Makah culture before Euro–American contact in the late 18th century and have helped to establish its links with other North-west Coast cultures of western Washington state and south-west British Columbia. Objects of artistic merit are principally made of wood and represent zoomorphic and anthropomorphic forms. They are often realistically carved in the round, including seal clubs, tool handles and bowls in the shape of humans (e.g. Neah Bay, WA, Makah Cult. & Res. Cent.), or are incised designs on flat or carved surfaces. Designs are sometimes enhanced by painting, primarily in red and black, or by tooth or shell inlay. Conventionalized motifs sometimes appear alone or in combination with realistic zoomorphic images. Although inconclusive, correlations have been made between objects decorated with realistic motifs and secular use on the one hand and conventionalized designs and ceremonial use on the other. Recurrent subject-matter of Ozette art includes realistic images such as the owl, whale and human faces, and mythical (thus symbolic) creatures such as the Thunderbird. The Thunderbird carved on the side of a ritual box of red cedar (see Daugherty and Friedman, p. 189) is rendered in a conventionalized style characterized by a set of formal elements that presage the classic North-west ‘formline’ system: incised circles or ovals or a complex of ovals and triangles for the eyes; V-shaped relief combined with an ovoid as an element of the eye; V shapes or elongated triangles to represent feathers; and a well-developed head area. Single geometric designs such as zigzags, parallel lines or combinations of both, as seen on Ozette basketwork and blankets, are also occasionally incorporated into representational or conventionalized compositions....

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

Prehistoric site in North America in north-east Louisiana, 50 km west of the Mississippi River, along Bayou Maçon. Poverty Point is an integrated architectural complex established between 1700–1100 BC, predating the construction of Mayan pyramids, situated on over 400 acres of land located on a marshy tributary at the confluence of numerous rivers near the west bank of the Mississippi River. This UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of four larger earthen mounds, six vast concentric semi-elliptical earthen ridges, estimated to be originally 1.5 m in height, and a large flat plaza defined by the innermost ridge, which covers 35 acres. The significance of this archaeological site is partially due to the unprecedented volume (over 750,000 cubic metres) of earthworks required to create the unique complex design executed by a pre-agricultural society whose form can only be perceived from the air.

Poverty Point artistic forms have strong regional significance for emerging artistic traditions of Archaic peoples and are similar to those found within many North American archaeological sites, highlighting the artistic importance of Poverty Point. Artefacts such as clay figurines, stone jewellery, and examples of a lapidary industry have been found of a quality unsurpassed in North America during this early time period. Archaic beads depict animals such as bears, squirrels, rabbits, insects such as locusts, and birds. The Locust Bead (...

Article

Craig D. Bates

Site in North America of the most elaborate known Chumash rock art, near the Emigdiano village site of Tashlipunau in the extreme south-west corner of Kern County, CA. The area is north of Mt Pinos, one of the mountain peaks most sacred to the Chumash, near the centre of their universe. The area was probably recognized as a place of supernatural power and may have been a ritual centre. Spread through four cave shelters are neatly and carefully executed paintings, comprising large circular motifs with concentric rings, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures, dots, bifurcated and zigzag forms painted in black, white, yellow, cream, shades of red, orange, green and blue-green. While much of the patterning and colours are like those found in other Chumash rock art sites, the orange and green pigments are unique to this site and are thought to have been secured by the Chumash from non-natives. It is speculated that this paint was obtained by the Chumash when they sacked mission supplies in the revolt of ...

Article

Area in Canada comprising Prince Rupert Harbour and the Skeena River, BC, where about a dozen Tsimshian culture sites have yielded about 20,000 bone, antler and stone artefacts (e.g. Hull, Qué., Can. Mus. Civiliz.). Among these some 100 show characteristics of the development of the Pre-Columbian art of the northern Northwest Coast peoples. By c. 1500 bc the first decorated tools—antler handles for beaver teeth chisels—and a few stone carvings appear in archaeological deposits. By c. ad 1000 all the major stylistic elements of northern Northwest Coast art had been developed. Although minor changes in style undoubtedly occurred between c. ad 1000 and the time of first contact with Europeans in the late 18th century, no archaeological evidence of these changes has been found. Between c. 1000 and c. 500 bc Prince Rupert Harbour art was characterized by animal and human designs, with an emphasis on the skeletal parts and such sense organs as eyes, ears, tongue, nose or snout. The spinal column motif was used on incised stone concretions until the 2nd millennium ...

Article

David M. Jones

Pre-Columbian site in the USA, east of Phoenix, AZ. Occupied between c. 300 bc and c. ad 1400, it was founded by indigenous Ootam peoples, but by c. ad 600 it had become the principal site of the Hohokam, who had invaded the region from northern Mexico as early as c. ad 1. The Hohokam town on the upper terrace of the Gila River and the adjacent agricultural fields along the lower terrace covered over 120 ha. The town comprised an estimated 5000 densely packed structures of adobe and wooden log-beams, built and rebuilt over time, of which the ground-plans have been uncovered (see fig.). Dwellings were grouped around wells, mounds, cemeteries of cremation burials, a pottery-making enclave and at least two ballcourts. The culture of the inhabitants was a combination of indigenous evolution and outside introductions. There is strong evidence of influence from Mesoamerica, Pre-Columbian in the building of both earthen platform mounds, in imitation of stone-clad Mesoamerican pyramids, and earthen-sided ballcourts. (Other evidence of the introduction of the ball-game includes latex rubber balls imported from Mesoamerica.) Imported technology included the lost-wax metal-casting technique, to produce copper bells (...

Article

David S. Brose

A prehistoric ritual centre in North America, built between c. ad 1200 and c. 1350 along the Arkansas River at the south-eastern edge of the Ozark Mountains, OK. The ceremonial complex comprised four mounds, of which the Craig Mound was the largest, each probably supporting a wooden temple. Uncontrolled excavations of the mortuary house below the Craig Mound yielded hundreds of remarkably well-preserved ritual artefacts, which were commercially looted in the mid-1930s. Subsequent reconstructions suggest that several dozen members of the élite lineages of the Caddoan culture had been wrapped in featherwork cloaks or painted fabrics and placed in baskets or on bark litters inside small structures within what has come to be called the ‘Great Mortuary’. Each burial had been richly endowed with elaborately modelled, engraved and painted pottery vessels, conch-shell cups and dippers, engraved and repoussé copper plates and plaques, and pearl-studded copper head, hair and ear ornaments. The recursive motifs on most of these artefacts, showing figures wearing similar plaques, indicate that they served as symbolic parts of the costumes, signalling their wearer’s participatory status in the games and sacrifices of what is known as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (...

Article

Marie Mauzé

Region of eastern Vancouver Island and the adjacent Canadian–US mainland, opposite the Fraser River delta and canyon. It is the homeland of the Native American Coast Salish and the location of a number of Pre-Columbian sites, including Marpole, Glenrose, St Mungo, Locarno Beach and Musqueam around the Fraser delta. The first art, including sculpture in the round, appeared during the Developmental period (c. 3500–c. 1100 bc). The Marpole site, for example, has yielded ground slate fragments decorated with drilled holes, notched or scalloped edges and patterns of incised lines. Similar decorations were applied to bone and antler. From St Mungo come carvings in bone or soft stone resembling segmented insect larvae (Vancouver, U. BC, Mus. Anthropol.). The most impressive example, from Glenrose, is a small tool handle of antler in the shape of a human figure (Vancouver, U. BC, Mus. Anthropol.). It has a large, deeply carved face, perforated earlobes, almond-shaped eyes and eyebrows and nose forming a ‘y’. It is one the oldest anthropomorphic sculptures from the Northwest Coast (...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

Archaeological areas in eastern and southern North America reveal advanced mound building cultures from several different cultural phases. Around 1500 bc, several North American indigenous groups attained the sophisticated cultural “Woodlands” phase. For over a millennium, three principle cultural groups, the Adena, Hopewell and Mississippian, built elaborate advanced earthen structures and large temples in the Upper Ohio Valley of Kentucky and West Virginia. Accompanying the earthen monuments was an ambitious religious devotee system.

The Adena culture flourished in the Upper Ohio Valley, around 800 bc. An excavation in 1902 uncovered the preliminary extensive temple mound building structures ( see Adena Mound ). Precursors to monumental temple building, these sites offer early evidence of organized, sophisticated, cultural communities. The Adena lived in large permanently constructed circular dwellings covered with thatch. For almost 1700 years, the Adena performed extensive elaborate death ritual ceremonies. A notable ritual was burial with specialized élite material objects. Advances in copper metallurgy produced technologically specialized objects ideal for interring with the dead. Commercialized production of funerary objects revealed that greater and more elaborate burial practices were developed for elevated individuals. Material goods became increasingly important for eternal rest and great qualities and object types began to appear. Evolving their burial rites into elaborate practices the Adena increased the size and sophistication of their early temple mound building construction techniques....

Article

David M. Jones

Rock shelter in North America, in the Castle Mountains, AZ. It was occupied in Pre-Columbian times from c. 10,000 bc to c. ad 1300. Ventana Cave was excavated by the American archaeologist Emil Haury and the results were published by the University of New Mexico Press. The earliest layers of occupation contained crude, then more sophisticated, stone tools (including projectile points, of which the type—Clovis or Folsom—is disputed), a variety of faunal remains and shells from the Gulf of California, c. 160 km to the west. The inhabitants practised a hunting–gathering economy. Later layers contained artefacts of the Hohokam culture ( fl c. 300 bcad 1300) of the US Southwest, including evidence of their agricultural way of life ( see also Snaketown ), such as maize-grinding stones, pottery and remains of netting, cordage, basketwork, leather and feather objects and cotton textiles. The pottery is typical of early Hohokam styles, with red-on-buff decorations (...