Adena Burials Unearthed at Pigs Point, Maryland

pigs-point-marylandThe Pigs Point site in Maryland recently gave archaeologists a surprise as they unearthed burial pits that appear to have been in constant use/re-use over hundreds if not thousands of years. The earliest evidence of architectural structures in Maryland was also discovered at this site. As is usual with these discoveries, it has sent the Academics back to the drawing board to formulate new theories since the old theories simply don’t explain what they are finding. Read the story below:

This year’s dig at Pig Point uncovered what appears to be a ritualistic burial place with five or more oval pits with human bone and artifacts dating from 230 B.C. to 620 A.D.
“It looks like this was ritual central for 850 years or more,” county archaeologist Al Luckenbach said. “This casts all the things we discovered in the first three years in a completely different light. It is a hell of a mystery.”
Earlier finds suggested it was the area’s bounty (especially the fishing along the Patuxent) that lured bands of tribes to the site. But now it looks like the rituals surrounding the sacred dead — or were they enemies? — are also a key part of the continued occupation.
“This is completely new to science,” Luckenbach said. “And the first time professional archaeologists have been able to glimpse what is really going on in these places.”
Years ago, mostly in the 1930s and 1950s, similar deposits of what is known as Adena flint — tools, arrow and spear points and pipes made of stone found only in quarries in Ohio — have been found along a line stretching from Ohio to Delaware. But those were found by amateurs and hobbyists long before more modern archaeology theories and technology were developed.
Luckenbach and other Lost Town staffers were amazed to find Adena artifacts at Pig Point on a bluff overlooking Jug Bay. Layer after layer of artifacts were found, one period of material stacked atop another, and another.
The first big find indicating the pre-historic sweep of time were wigwam post holes built on top of one another. The youngest was from the 16th century, the oldest could be 3,000 years old. They are the oldest structures ever uncovered in Maryland.
It was one eureka moment after another, from pottery preceding the birth of Christ to a Palmer point that could be 10,000 years old. Other points found were from 1,000 to 5,000 years old. A small paint pot, the first fully intact pre-historic pot Luckenbach has ever held, was made about two centuries before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

 

Read the full story here: http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/local/centuries-old-burial-rituals-uncovered-at-pig-point/article_3329de25-cfe6-551d-9e22-2253b7bc6266.html

Ancient Earthworks Electronically Rebuilt, To Become A Traveling Exhibit

Native American cultures that once flourished in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia constructed geometric and animal-shaped earth works that often rivaled Stonehenge in their astronomical accuracy.

A few are still extant – Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio, for example – but most of the region’s ancient architecture was all but squandered. Earthworks, from as early as 600 BC that stretched over miles and rose to heights of 15 feet or more, were either gouged out or plowed under in the 19th century or paved over for development in the 20th.

But now, this lost heritage from the Adena, Hopewell and Fort Ancient cultures is returning in the form of a traveling exhibit that will include virtual reconstructions of earthworks from 39 sites. The electronic recreations represent nearly ten years of work by an extensive team of architects, archaeologists, historians, technical experts and Native Americans. Project director is John Hancock, professor of architecture at the University of Cincinnati, working in partnership with the Center for the Reconstruction of Historical and Archaeological Sites (CERHAS) at the University of Cincinnati. The title of the project and the coming traveling exhibit is: “EarthWorks: Virtual Explorations of the Ancient Ohio Valley.”

The “EarthWorks” reconstructions will be the centerpiece within a 500-square-foot traveling exhibit which will also include a graphic timeline wall with cross cultural comparisons; a giant map wall of the Ohio River Valley (from the approximate location of Pittsburgh to Louisville) indicating placement of Native American earthworks; panels with diagrams, photos and text; and 3-D topographic models of five earthwork sites. The exhibit opens June 20, 2006, at the Cincinnati Museum Center. It remains at the museum center till Sept. 7, 2006. Later venues include the Ohio Historical Center, Columbus, opening on Sept. 30, 2006. Discussion are now underway for later exhibits in the state and nation.

Set amid the physical elements of the exhibit, the 3-D virtual reconstructions by Hancock and his team recreate the earthworks for school children and scholars alike. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a large screen on which the 3-D explorations of “EarthWorks” by a user at the touch-screen computer can be shared with a larger audience. Virtual exploration of a gallery of period artifacts is also possible at two stand-alone kiosk stations.

The project is built upon archaeological data gleaned from such modern technology as sensing devices and aerial photography as well as frontier maps and other aids provided by archaeologists to re-establish the location, size, shape and appearance of many of the region’s earthworks. Then, using architectural software and high-resolution computer modeling and animation, the UC-led team virtually rebuilt these massive structures and further created animated, interactive, narrated “tours” among them..

Funding for the traveling exhibit has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In all, the NEH has provided close to $500,000 for the project. Additional development support over the years has come from the Ohio Board of Regents, the Ohio Humanities Council, the Ohio Arts Council, the George Fund Foundation, and in-kind donations from the University of Cincinnati. Add up all funding and in-kind donations, and project support totals around $1.5 million.

Virtual First Ohioans

The Ohio Historical Society has a new online exhibit entitled Virtual First Ohioans which includes videos and photos of artifacts found at many of Ohio’s most important archaeological sites. The site covers every archaeological period in Ohio from the Archaic to the Woodland to the Mississippian. The exhibit includes extensive information on the most important cultures to have lived in Ohio including the Adena, Hopewell, and Mississippian cultures.

Visit the Virtual First Ohioans exhibit.

Researchers unearth glimpse of Adena hunter-to-farmer shift

Ohio’s Adena culture represents a turning point in state history. Situated between the nomadic hunting and gathering cultures of the Archaic period and the more settled farming cultures of the later Woodland period, the Adena culture represented the dawn of a new way of life for Ohio’s ancient people.

Archaeologists now are fleshing out the details of the daily lives of Ohio’s first farmers, who were known mostly for their mortuary and ritual sites, such as Chillicothe’s Adena Mound, for which the culture is named.

Archaeologists Craig Keener and Kevin Nye, with the Professional Archaeological Services Team in Plain City, investigated three Adena encampments in central Ohio that show strong continuities with the earlier hunting and gathering way of life as well as hints of the changes that, in Asia, are described as the Neolithic Revolution.

Their results are reported in the current issue of the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology.

The three sites are situated in the uplands and likely represent autumn camps focused on gathering and processing nuts — especially hickory nuts. Before this work, most known Adena habitation sites and camps were located along rivers. The upland setting and the focus on nut collecting are more what we would expect for Archaic period camps.

New developments are revealed by the presence of broken pots and, in one pit, a handful of seeds representing the earliest domesticated plants in Ohio: goosefoot, sumpweed and maygrass.

The pottery suggests a less nomadic way of life, because the large pots of the Adena were both heavy and fragile. The seeds indicate an increasing commitment to food production rather than simply collection of Ohio’s natural bounty.

The sites that Keener and Nye studied capture a glimpse of groups on the cusp of change — no longer simply hunter-gatherers and not yet fully committed farmers. Such sites will provide the clues to understanding how small steps led to a giant leap for humankind.

Read the story here.

Researchers unearth glimpse of Adena hunter-to-farmer shift

Ohio’s Adena culture represents a turning point in state history. Situated between the nomadic hunting and gathering cultures of the Archaic period and the more settled farming cultures of the later Woodland period, the Adena culture represented the dawn of a new way of life for Ohio’s ancient people.

Archaeologists now are fleshing out the details of the daily lives of Ohio’s first farmers, who were known mostly for their mortuary and ritual sites, such as Chillicothe’s Adena Mound, for which the culture is named.

Archaeologists Craig Keener and Kevin Nye, with the Professional Archaeological Services Team in Plain City, investigated three Adena encampments in central Ohio that show strong continuities with the earlier hunting and gathering way of life as well as hints of the changes that, in Asia, are described as the Neolithic Revolution.

Their results are reported in the current issue of the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology.

The three sites are situated in the uplands and likely represent autumn camps focused on gathering and processing nuts — especially hickory nuts. Before this work, most known Adena habitation sites and camps were located along rivers. The upland setting and the focus on nut collecting are more what we would expect for Archaic period camps.

New developments are revealed by the presence of broken pots and, in one pit, a handful of seeds representing the earliest domesticated plants in Ohio: goosefoot, sumpweed and maygrass.

The pottery suggests a less nomadic way of life, because the large pots of the Adena were both heavy and fragile. The seeds indicate an increasing commitment to food production rather than simply collection of Ohio’s natural bounty.

The sites that Keener and Nye studied capture a glimpse of groups on the cusp of change — no longer simply hunter-gatherers and not yet fully committed farmers. Such sites will provide the clues to understanding how small steps led to a giant leap for humankind.