Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Adena Great Serpent Mound, Ohio (700 BC-200 AD<)

Adena Great Serpent Mound, Ohio (700 BC – 200 AD)

Who were the Adena people?

People called the Adena lived along the Ohio river valley (in modern Ohio) during the Early Woodland period, beginning about 700 BC.

More about the Woodland period
All our Native American articles

How did they get their food?

These people were too far north to grow corn yet at this time. They probably chose leaders in a “big man” system. They got some of their food from hunting and gathering and fishing, and some of their food from planting squash and other plants. Adena farmers grew tobacco to use in religious ceremonies, too (and possibly to smoke outside ceremonies too).

Where did corn come from?
What about squash?
History of tobacco

An Adena tobacco pipe from about 1 AD

An Adena tobacco pipe carved from soapstone about 1 AD

Adena earth burial mounds

Adena people often built large mounds of earth. Some of these were burial mounds to put dead people in. When people died, their relatives would smear red ochre or graphite on their bodies and then bury them inside these big mounds.

More about red ochre

Sometimes they buried dozens of people in the same mound (not all at the same time! They buried the people one by one, when they died.). People buried carved soapstone tobacco pipes with the bodies for their souls to use in the next world.

Other Adena mounds

Other mounds that the Adena people built were not for burials, like the Snake mound in the picture on this page. These mounds might have been to show what group or clan people belonged to in that area.

What happened to the Adena people?

About 200 AD, as the Adena people moved into the Middle Woodland period, their culture developed into the Hopewell culture.

Learn by doing: making pemmican
More about the Hopewell culture
More about the Mississippian culture

Bibliography and further reading about Adena history

Or check out the Encyclopedia Britannica article about the Adena.

More about the Hopewell culture home