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Hopewell

HOPEWELL

HOPEWELL is the name given to a distinctive, widely shared cultural expression flourishing between a.d. 1 and 400 among locally rooted societies from the Kansas City area to upstate New York, and from southern Ontario and northern Wisconsin to peninsular Florida. Hopewell has no single point of origin, being drawn from diverse cultural traditions. Single autonomous small villages dominated cultural and political life. However, these interconnected prehistoric cultures have a common identity based upon their distinctive artifacts and the equally distinctive style with which these artifacts were decorated. Much of this artwork has been found in graves and graveside areas in and under burial mounds, and unmounded structures connected with burial rites. The singular decorative style developed in the Lower Mississippi Valley centuries earlier. During the Hopewellian Period, the Marksville cultural tradition of the Lower Valley exerted particularly strong influences upon the Havana Tradition of the Illinois Valley and adjoining Midwest. A hallmark of this period was far-flung trade in ritually important materials such as obsidian from western Oregon, silver from Ontario, native copper from the Kewennaw peninsula of Michigan, shark teeth, alligator teeth, and marine shells from the Gulf Coast of Florida, and sheets of mica from the Appalachians of North Carolina.


Religion was dominated by shamanic practices that included tobacco smoking. Stone smoking pipes and other carvings evince a strong affinity to the animal world, particularly in the depictions of monstrous human and animal combinations. These artifacts mark the earliest archaeologically documented use of domesticated tobacco.

Hopewell's distinctive technological accomplishments include various objects of cold hammered native copper such as prestigious ornaments (breastplates, skullcap headdresses, mica cutouts, and copper beads and bracelets), ritual equipment (pan pipes), and utilitarian pieces (ax and adze heads, and awls). Spool-shaped ornaments hammered from copper and secured in the earlobes required intricate fabrication and represent the apogee of Hopewellian technical expertise. Other distinctive artifacts included clay figurines, meteoric iron nodules, and atlatl weights.

Hopewell also produced some of the most noteworthy earthen architecture of the Eastern Woodlands. The most distinctive stamp to earthen constructions in this era are the geometric embankments that enclose communal ritual areas. The famous octagon embankment at Newark, Ohio, measures a maximum of 1,720 feet across. Large squares and circles often conjoined in complex but geometrically regular configurations testify to the knowledge of a simple but sophisticated mathematics that was applied to a complicated symbolism. Most mounds were dome-shaped creations of circular or oval ground plans, and some attained enormous size. The earliest platform mounds make their appearance during this period. Notable examples of earthworks include Mound City (Ohio), Seip (Ohio), Fort Ancient (Ohio), Marksville (Louisiana), and Pinson (Tennessee).

Hopewell's agriculture was based upon domesticated plants native to the Eastern Woodlands including squash, sunflower, sumpweed and chenopodium. In this period, maize, the tropical grain that was to become so important a thousand years later, made its first appearance in small amounts.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brose, David S., and N'omi B. Greber, eds. Hopewell Archaeology: The Chillicothe Conference. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1979.

Kennedy, Roger G. Hidden Cities: The Discovery and Loss of Ancient North American Civilization. New York: Free Press, 1994.

Pacheco, Paul J., ed. A View from the Core: A Synthesis of Ohio Hopewell Archaeology. Columbus: Ohio Archaeological Council, 1996.

Romain, William F. Mysteries of the Hopewell: Astronomers, Geometers, and Magicians of the Eastern Woodlands. Akron, Ohio: University of Akron Press, 2000.

James A.Brown

See alsoArchaeology and Prehistory of North America ; Indian Mounds .

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Hopewell

Hopewell, city (1990 pop. 23,101), within Prince George co. but independent, at the confluence of the James and Appomattox rivers, SE Va.; founded 1913, inc. 1916. Hopewell is a deepwater port and an industrial center where chemicals, polyester fibers, and paper products are manufactured. The city was founded as a munitions center. In 1926, Hopewell absorbed contiguous City Point, General U.S. Grant's base of operations in 1864–65, now part of Petersburg National Battlefield. Fort Lee is nearby.

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"Hopewell." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hopewell