The Adena Culture, which originated in Ohio, flourished from 1000–200 BCE in West Virginia. Adena people practiced agriculture and lived in settled villages. At its cultural zenith, Adena villages spread throughout the Midwestern United States and were self-governing and loosely linked by trade.
Adena houses typically were conical structures, about 15–45 feet in diameter, and built around supporting poles, either single or double. Roofs were made of bark and walls could be wickerwork or bark.
Adena crops are part of the Eastern Agricultural Complex. They grew squash, sunflower (Helianthus annuus), sumpweed, goosefoot, knotweed, and maygrass. Gourds were grown for containers and rattles. What might be a small bird pen found at one Adena site suggests limited animal domestication, but Adena people are not known for animal husbandry.
Tobacco was an important crop and was smoked in effigy pipes. Turtles, ducks, and other animals were represented in Adena art. A limited amount of copper was imported from the western Great Lakes region, and marine shells were imported from the Gulf of Mexico.
Adena nobles wore tanned heads of animals during their ceremonies. They wove coarse cloth, colored with natural dyes. Red ochre was placed in elite graves. They altered their appearance with cranial deformation. Cordage was spun from sinew, hide, and fibrous plants.
During the last few centuries of the Adena zenith (500 BCE), a second horizon with more political cohesion (a Priest Cult) arrived in a mass invasion above the Ohio River. Late Adena people fled south of the Ohio, joining their kindred, and some continued to flee as far as the Chesapeake Bay traditional trade area. A few fled towards the easterly Point Peninsula Woodland culture or the Eastern Great Lakes trade area. Their mounds progressively become smaller through Virginia. These soon assimilated with the regional Woodland People. The large conical Adena Turkey Creek Mound (46PU2) on the Great Kanawha dates to 886 CE.
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