North American Central Plains Woodland
This project is a collaborative effort of several colleagues and students to research and document the temporal, social, political and settlement-subsistence parameters of the various Middle Woodland groups who occupied the central Plains in prehistory. From approximately 500BC to AD900, the central region of the North American Great Plains was home to groups who adopted pottery manufacture and were becoming increasingly sedentary as farm crops became more important in their diets. Our current research focuses on the Kansas City Hopewell and another Middle Woodland group who resided about 150 miles west of the Hopewell. Both groups existed from roughly 200BC to AD400, and while they shared several similarities, suggesting they knew each other, they were different cultures.
Hopewell is a term used to define various cultures, identified by distinctive artifact styles, elaborate mound construction and mortuary practices, and presence of exotic materials, which were united by a network of sociopolitical, ideological, and economic interactions over a large area of the mid-latitude United States. Although of only modest complexity, the Hopewell phenomenon tied together societies of considerable organizational variability and structure.