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Adena Mounds of the Ohio River Valley

Around 1000 BC a stocky, broad headed people migrated into the Upper Ohio Valley. Their original home was probably in the Southeast since their physical appearance was identical to that of the peoples who built the platform village at Poverty Point, LA and the shell rings on Sapelo Island. (See previous articles on those locations.) Another hint about their place of origin was that unlike their new neighbors, they knew how to make pottery. The oldest known pottery in the Western Hemisphere was found in the Savannah River Basin of Georgia. Ceramic technology spread very slowly elsewhere. It did not reach Mexico until around 1500 BC. Archaeologists have labeled these immigrants, the Adena People. That name in turn comes from the Adena Mound, near Adena, Ohio. During the first 200 years in their new home, the Adena were not remarkably different than their neighbors, other that they made pottery. Then, around 800 BC, the Adena people began to create mounds in their villages, initially by dumping detritus in the same spots for generations. By 300 BC they were intentionally piling soil and clay into geometric forms. Their later, more sophisticated, earthworks were aligned to the solar azimuth and perhaps some stars. Over time, some of their cone shaped mounds became extremely large – up to seventy high at the Grave Creek Mound in Wheeling, WV. Most of the larger mounds appear to have been burial mounds, and show no evidence of ever supporting buildings. The cone shaped mounds were usually surrounded by ceremonial ditches and earth berms. The circular enclosures typically had 30 feet+ openings facing the south or...

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