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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

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

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

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

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 (...