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The Adena Culture existed during the Early Woodland Period, from approximately 1000 to 200 BC. Their people lived predominantly in what is now Ohio, along with Indiana, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Primarily hunter-gatherers, they also grew squash, sunflower, tobacco and other plants.
The Adena lived in small villages, moving frequently as they followed animal and other food sources. They were known for their advanced agricultural practices, trading and art. The Adena were the first people to produce clay pottery in Ohio. Their large, thick-walled pots were probably used to cook seeds into something resembling oatmeal.
Traces of the Adena culture can still be seen today in their elaborate burial mounds. The Adena buried their dead beneath specially-chosen earth, often with bracelets, earring, necklaces, and bone and stone tools. These mounds were built with thousands of baskets of dirt and then burned to preserve and honor the deceased. A new burial mound would be built right on top of the old one, eventually resulting in large earthworks.
One of the last remaining ancient cone-shaped burial mounds can be found in Columbus. Shrum Mound is a 20 feet high and 100 feet in diameter. It is located in Campbell Park, and is believed to have been built by the Adena over 2000 years ago.
Cover photo credit: smcculie via Instagram.