Early Woodland Period
The Adena Culture
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There is evidence that some groups of Archaic people lived in Ohio at least
until 1000 to 500 B.C. However, in the centuries just before the birth of Christ
a new culture evolved in eastern North America. Archaeologists refer to this as
the Woodland period. At first, the differences between Archaic and Woodland
cultures seemed to be quite clear; the people of the Woodland period grew more
plant food, lived in permanent villages, made pottery, and emphasized ceremony
and art. These differences appeared to be so great that some archaeologists in
the past believed that the Woodland peoples must have moved into Ohio from
places as far away as Mexico. More recent research, however, shows that in much
of the Ohio Valley, there was not an abrupt change, but rather a slow shift from
Archaic to Woodland lifestyles.
Archaeologists have divided the Woodland cultures into three segments, Early,
Middle, and Late. Within these segments, groups have been distinguished from
each other due to differences in the tools they made. In some cases,
archaeologists have named these groups after sites where the members once lived
or worked. For example, the Adena culture was named for a mound on an estate
called Adena near Chillicothe. Although such names are convenient,
archaeologists do not know what the people called themselves.
For more information on the Adena culture, or to learn about other cultures,
visit the Ohio Historical Society's Virtual First Ohioans Website.