Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ohio Hopewell Earthworks: An Examination of Site Use from Non-mound Space at the Hopewell Site
by Pederson Weinberger, Jennifer, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2006, 332; 10835715
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the prehistoric use of non-mound space at the Hopewell site, an Ohio Hopewell earthwork built during the Middle Woodland period (200 B.C.-A.D. 400). Until very recently, archaeological research at earthworks concentrated on mounds and embankments. However, earthworks consist of more than earthen architecture. Between the mounds and embankments is non-mound space that may have been used for a variety of activities. These activities relate to earthwork use and provide a deeper understanding of Hopewell community organization, social dynamics, and ideology.

Various site uses have been proposed for Ohio Hopewell earthworks. Seven uses are considered in this study: ceremonial centers, burial sites, communal meeting places, trading centers, for defense, settlement, and horticulture. These site uses are formulated into two general hypotheses concerning the archaeological record of earthworks. The Ceremonial Center hypothesis limits earthwork use to ritual and mortuary activity, thus non-mound space is similarly restricted in terms of its archaeological record. The Corporate Center hypothesis posits a variety of political, economic, ceremonial, and social activities varying in terms of nature (sacred vs. secular) and extent (short-term vs. long-term and small-scale vs. large-scale).

To test these hypotheses, a random sample of non-mound space at the Hopewell site was studied using geophysical and traditional archaeological techniques. Analysis of the magnetic, electrical resistance, and artifactual data identified several non-mound activity areas. Evidence supports use for ceremonies, communal meetings, and possibly settlement, but these activities were limited in nature and extent. There is no evidence to suggest long-term or large-scale settlement. When compared to expectations for the two hypotheses, the Ceremonial Center hypothesis is rejected and the Corporate Center hypothesis is not rejected. Furthermore, the finding that non-mound space at the Hopewell site was used only for limited activities associated with earthwork construction, maintenance, and use supports the Vacant Ceremonial Center and Dispersed Sedentary Community models.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dancey, William
Commitee:
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology
Keywords: Archaeology, Earthworks, Geophysical survey, Hopewell, Middle woodland
Publication Number: 10835715
ISBN: 978-0-355-96696-1
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