Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Textiles as Indicators of Hopewellian Culture Burial Practices
by Thompson, Amanda J., Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2003, 188; 10834932
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this research is to explore the usefulness of textiles as indicators of Hopewellian culture burial practices. Charred textiles, typically ignored by researchers, form a particular focus of this study. Fragments from Edwin Harness, Hopewell, Seip, and Tremper Mounds were studied, a labeling system was developed that will allow future researchers to locate the exact pieces examined. A Burial Practices Framework was developed that predicts the survival of textile assemblages in different burial scenarios. The use of textiles outside the cremation or final burning ceremonies, known to have occurred at Seip and Harness mounds, is indicated by the presence of uncharred fabrics at these sites. Compact fabrics made of coarse yarns likely were used to transport crematory remains to the gravesite. More open, loosely twined fabrics made of fine yarns probably served aesthetic rather than functional purposes. Because only charred materials were found at Tremper, a second burning in the communal cache, comparable to the “final ceremony” conducted at other Hopewellian sites, is indicated although not proposed in the past. Charred textiles with applied designs were identified, a feature never before reported in the literature. It is possible that other charred textiles have applied designs but these are not visible in the fabric's present condition.

Textiles are not only indicators of Hopewell burial and cremation practices, but also of interaction in Hopewell societies. Fabric structure, yarn size, and yarn spacing vary between each of the four sites studied. Fabrics from Seip Mound include those made with spiral interlinking, a structure not found in the other three sites studied. While use of textiles in cremation and burial may have been prescribed regionally, as would be anticipated in a Hopewell “cult”, the particular structure of the fabric was locally determined. Local craftspeople manufactured the fabrics with particular end uses in mind; there is no particular pattern that typifies them as Hopewellian. Distribution of textiles between sites is not indicated. The research forms the basis for further work in the exploration of social differentiation of Hopewellian societies based on their textile production and use.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jakes, Kathryn
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Textiles and Clothing
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Textile Research
Keywords: Archaeological textiles, Burial mounds, Hopewell, Native american textiles, Textile preservation, Textiles
Publication Number: 10834932
ISBN: 978-0-355-94711-3
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