2,250 to 500 BP : Middle Woodland to Mississippian
The Middle Woodland Period ran from 2250-1550 BP. During this period, the Hopewell
culture of the Ohio River valley waxed and waned. It strongly affected peoples this far
west as it did those in the other directions. DL33 and DL49 were villages located at the
mouth of Honey Creek into Grand River, both with Hopewell affiliations. Grave goods of
the time exhibited far-reaching trade with obsidian, mica, copper, shark teeth, and
marine shell turning up. Their pottery types were Cooper Zoned-Stamped, Honey Creek plain,
Ozark zoned stamped, Cowskin Dentate stamped, and Renner Cross-Hatched. Their points
include the Grand, Snyders, Gary, and Langtry, Rice side-notched, and Kings Corner notched,
and the North knife has also been found with their remains. Other Woodland sites occurred
at DL48, on Honey Creek, MD1 and MD2, both near Big Sugar Creek, MD9 and MD10, both on
Indian Creek, and NE47 and NE50, on Shoal Creek. Slate pendants, shell bead pendants,
pottery, and a sandstone pipe fragment have been found at these sites, but some may have
been mixed in from later periods. Unassociated items of European manufacture have also
turned up from this time period. One was a stone carved with Ogam script found near
Maysville, Arkansas, and dated to 2200-2100 BP. Another is a Carthaginian coin found
buried 6 inches deep near Spring River, which dates to around 2150 BP.
Around 2200 BP, Eratosthenes, a Greek, determined the circumference of the earth
to within 100 miles, and Egyptians produced the Rosetta Stone. By 2150 BP, the Greek
astronomer, Hipparchus, had worked out the distance to the moon using trigonometry.
Julius Caesar was assassinated in 2044 BP, and around 2000 BP, or AD1, Jesus of
Nazareth was born. The Mayans were writing then, and early Buddhist manuscripts come
from this period. In 79 A.D., Mt. Vesuvius buried Pompeii and Herculaneum, and in the same
year, Josephus reports that the Romans destroyed the Great Temple at Jerusalem. The
Hopewell peoples of Ohio built the Serpent Mound around 1800 BP. The Mayan Classic Period
with its impressive architecture and obsidian and jade artifactsran from 1750-1100 BP.
From 1750-1350 BP, the Scandic climatic episode occurred, which was slightly
warmer and drier. The Late Woodland Period in this area covers the time between
1550-1100 BP. Weaver plain and cordmarked grit tempered pottery appear around 1550 BP,
maize and the bow and arrow were introduced late in the Period, and Scallorn point types
appear around 1400 BP. The moister Neo-Atlantic climatic episode existed between
1350-850 BP. Around 1300 BP, the Mayans were constructing a 600 foot bridge, and by
1250 BP, maize was one of the leading staples in the midwest. Madison points appear about
1200 years ago, when Charlemagne, the first emporor of the Holy Roman Empire, ordered
the years to be numbered A.D., and Popocatepetl erupted, burying Puebla valley pyramids
40 miles southeast of Mexico City.
The Anasazi people ruled a 40,000 square mile area in the American southwest between
1100-850 BP, and the Early Mississippian Period in this area ran from 1100-800 BP. The
Mississippian peoples in this area were mainly concerned with the rise and
fall of the Caddoan Empire. This was a religion dominated civilization centered in the
central southeast. This area was toward its northwest corner. They constructed platform
mounds, square with the corners pointing in the cardinal directions, for civic-ceremonial
use. Five sites with these mounds have been located in this area, one on the south side of
the Neosho River in Delaware County, OK., one on the south side of the Illinois River in the
southwest corner of Benton County, AR., one on the west side of White River near Elkins
in Washington Co., AR., one on the south side of Elk River near its confluence with the
Grand River in Delaware Co., OK., and one at the top of Elk River where Big Sugar Creek
and Little Sugar Creek join in McDonald Co., MO. Another site showing striking similarities
lies in a valley about three-quarter mile southwest of Redding's Mill near Shoal Creek in
Newton Co., MO. Other Mississippian sites include a cluster of seven around the Woodward
Hollow-Neosho River confluence, a group of three near the Honey Creek-Neosho River
confluence, a group of three near the Elk River-Neosho River confluence, and a few more
on Neosho River, Drowning Creek, Elk River, and Indian Creek. Shell tempered pottery was
typical of the times and the types - Neosho punctate, Weaver plain, and Woodward plain
were in use. Small triangular points such as Morris, Reed, and Huffaker, all apparently
forms of the Cahokia point type appear around 1100 BP, and Fort Ancient blades and Harahey
knives have turned up occasionally. Ear spools were worn, though probably only by priests.
Pipes were in use, and hoes are frequently found due to their reliance on maize.
1000 years ago, movable type was invented. A case can be made that it changed the
world. Almost 1000 years later the same may be said for the computer. I wonder what
we'll think of next?
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