The Indigenous in the Americas

Part I: The Hopewell Culture

The Hopewell Culture

From present-day New York to Iowa to Missouri to the Gulf of Mexico, the Hopewell Culture flourished from 100 b.c.e. to 500 c.e. The Hopewells had intricate trading links and sophisticated agricultural practices. They got together to build and maintain many huge earthworks and countless smaller ones. These mounds are supposed to have been a part of "religious cults." These people had a common culture, but they were not united in any other way. The Hopewells also settled in small, temporary settlements and then moved to find fresh resources and establish more advanced trading routes. Their settlements were composed of a few rectangular homes that had thatched roof and were made of wattle and daub. They were hunter-gatherers and moved into farming.

The Hopewells: More Information

The Hopewells placed a strong focus on agricultural settlements and they emphasized planting indigenous seeds like sunflower, squash and maygrass. This concentration on a shift from hunting to agriculture marked the "official" birth of mass farming in the Americas.

The Hopewells also had an intricate trading system from the Great Lakes to present-day Florida. As a result, they had access to exotic goods not found in their own settlements. There were larger settlements that served as "hubs" for the dissemination of trade goods to more distant locations.

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
Mound City, Ohio: Ancient Earthworks and Secret Energies of the Hopewell
Who were the Mound Builders? The First American Civilization built by Native Americans!

More Information About the Hopewells

Art: The Hopewells created some of the finest art of the era. They had access to a variety of resources since they were not limited by regional resources. Their art featured the images of the bear, deer and birds (most popular.)

*The shapes of bowls and jars were introduced at this time and the imprints are found on the pottery.

Earthworks and Burial Mounds: They were a part of funerals and religious practices and were in different shapes.

*By 400 c.e. the Hopewell Culture was in decline for an unknown reason; but it is suspected that it was because of a cultural collapse. At the time there was a large-scale transition to larger, more permanent settlements in more isolated areas and there were technological developments (introduction of the bow and arrow) that led to a shift in hunting, gathering and war that forced the Hopewells to become more secluded for survival.