Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Did They Believe?

Field Museum of Natural History - Hopewell Hand, Mica

Ancestors of the Algonquins, Iroquois and Cherokees the Hopewell Moundbuilders and their predecessors the Adena occupied the river valleys of central North America from 200 BC to 1000 AD. Their impressive burial mounds and lavish grave goods show us not only that they traded extensively but that they had an elite ruling class and sophisticated culture. Delicate musical instruments, effigy pipes, copper and silver jewelery, pearl covered blankets and ornate headdresses are just a few of the articles found buried among their elite.

With evidence of temples, possible sacrifice, and feasting we can only wonder what they actually believed. Like the Anazazi their structures show evidence of a keen and exact
knowledge of celestial events and seasonal markers. They were hunters and gatherers who developed cultivated crops and a highly stratified society. Whatever their actual beliefs, it is clear that they had a powerful ruling class, highly developed understanding of math and astronomy, exquisite craftsmanship and a rich ceremonial life.

Hopewell Jewelry - Natural Pearls, Shell, Copper alloy, Obsidian

Southern Ohio, 200 B.C. - A.D. 500