Article

Travel or Trade?

Silhouette images of canoes with people in them
Did the Hopewell travel or did they trade for these exotic items?  Or, maybe both?

NPS / Tom Engberg

The Hopewell created artifacts from beautiful materials that were not local to the region. These raw materials were expertly carved and molded into shapes of a variety of animals, humans and dozens of other forms that are reflected in the natural environment. The artifacts were discovered under the mounds within geometric earthworks by archeologists. We know the location of the raw materials, and we know where the finished product was placed by the people. But how did the material make it to Ohio? In these activities, you are going to determine how people from the Hopewell culture obtained these exotic raw materials. Did they travel, trade or both 2,000 years ago?

Activity 1

For this first activity, draw a line from the picture of each artifact to its source location on the map of North America. When you finish, scroll down to find out where each item came from by sliding the slider in each photo to the left. You'll find the second activity after the last slider.

Outline of the United States with five exotic materials placed around the outline
Print this image out and then draw a line from each item to the red star where you believe each item came from.  No items will share a red starred location.  Check your answers with the sliders below.  Challenge yourself!  Don't scroll down and look ahead until you complete the above activity.

NPS / Tom Engberg

Obsidian
Left side reveals a grass covered group of mounds near a concrete patio, right photo shows eastern half of United States image from space Left side reveals a piece of obsidian over top of an image of a geyser, right photo shows eastern half of United States image from space
Obsidian and its source location.
The Ohio Hopewell core area in yellow over present day Ohio and surrounding states. NPS / Tom Engberg - NASA



Mica
Left side reveals a grass covered group of mounds near a concrete patio, right photo shows eastern half of United States image from space Left side reveals pieces of mica over top of an image of a road in the mountains, right photo shows eastern half of United States image from space
Mica and its source location.
The Ohio Hopewell core area in yellow over present day Ohio and surrounding states. NPS / Tom Engberg - NASA



Copper
Left side reveals a grass covered group of mounds near a concrete patio, right photo shows eastern half of United States image from space Left side reveals a piece of copper and a cut out of a copper bird over top of an image of a lakeshore bay, right photo shows eastern half of United States image from space
Copper and its source location.
The Ohio Hopewell core area in yellow over present day Ohio and surrounding states. NPS / Tom Engberg - NASA



Whelk Shells
Left side reveals a grass covered group of mounds near a concrete patio, right photo shows eastern half of United States image from space Left side reveals a large whelk shell over top of an image of a beach, right photo shows eastern half of United States image from space
Whelk Shells and its source location.
The Ohio Hopewell core area in yellow over present day Ohio and surrounding states. NPS / Tom Engberg - NASA



Shark Teeth
Left side reveals a grass covered group of mounds near a concrete patio, right photo shows eastern half of United States image from space Left side reveals a cluster of 5 shark teeth over top of an image of a seashore, right photo shows eastern half of United States image from space
Shark Teeth and its source location.
The Ohio Hopewell core area in yellow over present day Ohio and surrounding states. NPS / Tom Engberg - NASA



Calm waters on a river as seen through a clearing between trees
The Scioto River flows near several Hopewell earthworks in South Central Ohio.  Could this and other rivers have been used for additional purposes besides drinking water and fishing?

NPS / Tom Engberg

Activity 2

The Scioto River flows near Mound City Group and was used by the Hopewell for transportation and trading. There were no horses in America during Hopewell times. Can you think of two ways American Indians may have travelled during this time? You can either print this section of the activity out and jot your answers on each line or just record your answers on a blank sheet of paper and then discuss it with your parents. You can also email us and ask a ranger.


How do you think the Native Americans obtained these exotic materials?

Last updated: May 4, 2020