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Early Woodland Period (2,500 - 2,000 Before the Present)

The Early Woodland Period is characterized by the intensive use of domesticated crops and the widespread production of pottery. Although both domesticated crops and pottery appeared in the late Archaic Period, the Early Woodland Period represents a shift in lifestyles as a response to these new technologies. People lived in larger, sturdier houses in permanent villages.

Expanded trade networks brought materials that supported another hallmark of Woodland life, a vibrant artistic and ritual culture.

Significantly, people we call the Adena Culture began to build some of the first earthworks in southern Ohio during the Early Woodland Period. However, the Adena Culture did not include everyone that lived in Ohio during the Early Woodland Period. In northern Ohio, people lived similarly to the Adena but they did not produce large earthen mounds. Earthworks in the north are predominantly earth walls along bluffs and oval enclosures called “forts.”

Adena Culture

The Adena culture flourished during the Early Woodland period in southern Ohio and adjacent portions of Kentucky, Indiana, and West Virginia. The Adena Culture constructed some of the earliest earthworks in the eastern Woodland region. In particular, the Adena built conical burial mounds and circular enclosures. Elaborate siltstone pipes as well as other artifacts indicate craft specialization was associated with burial and ceremonial practices.