Adena history – Native Americans

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

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

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

An Adena tobacco pipe from about 1 AD

An Adena tobacco pipe carved from soapstone about 1 AD

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. 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 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.

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
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By | 2017-08-08T13:37:01+00:00 August 8th, 2017|History, Native American|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Adena history – Native Americans. Quatr.us Study Guides, August 8, 2017. Web. December 13, 2017.

About the Author:

Karen Carr

Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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