Prehistory of West Virginia - Other Woodland Cultures

Other Woodland Cultures

The Mid-Atlantic region cultural pattern is found early in West Virginia. An Early Woodland people from the east began to trade with the latest Archaic people. Early Woodland peoples established sites on floodplains, terraces, saddles, benches and hilltops. Storage or refuse pits in habitation sites appear. Analysis of a new style ceramic discovery from the Winfield Locks Site (46PU4) has provisional Early Woodland dates of 1500-400 BCE along the Kanawha shores.

The earliest ceramics of the region's Woodland Culture (1000 BCE–1250 CE) is called the Half-Moon Ware. There are now two known types of early ceramics of the Woodland Culture. It has been suggested that oval or circular structures were used as houses. In 1986, Grantz attempted to test in Fayette County, Pennsylvania several post mold arcs for a pattern to confirm the suggestion of early village houses. Despite earnest effort, it was not confirmed. The Middle (1-500 CE) and Late Woodland (500-1000 CE) Periods for the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia would include the Mid-western cultures of primarily Adena and Late Hopewell (1-500 CE) from McConaughy's (2000) research. "Nebulas" is a term to describe late Hopewellian—localizing societies. Later (650 CE), some Woodland would be alongside very Late Adena (46PU2) and assimilating on the Greater Kanawhan region. Burial ceremonials and mound construction gradually became smaller which has phased out by the end of the Woodland period. However, because tobacco was probably being grown and used, McConaughy in 1990 suggests the development of complex society. Early Woodland peoples lived a more settled existence.

'Fairchance Mound and Village' of Marshall County, West Virginia is a Middle Woodland complex. The mound artifacts carbon dates to the 3rd century CE. One of the tombs in the mound is unique in being a stone lined crypt. This "crypt" was simply a layer of "slab-stone" covering the mound with more dirt placed over the "sheets" of stone. This was not a "boxed-in crypt." This should not be confused with the centuries later Hadden Phase (1100–1600 CE) Hadden site (15To1) mortuaray complex (Allen 1977:14) stone box grave and stone slab-lined crematory cist of the Kentucky Western Coal Fields Section. The Fairchance village pottery included Watson Ware that was lime stone tempered. The stone points were Fairchance-notched and Snyders points. The foods found through screening were the semi-domesticated "wild plants" listed in the summary below for this period. The nearby Watson Farm village dated between 1600 to 1400 BP and its small, one-meter high mound also contained a stone crypt. The limestone tempered Watson Ware along with a limited amount of grit-tempered Mahoning Ware was found. Flotation samples were performed at this site, but, these have not been analyzed by botanical specialists. Either wild or domesticated Chenopodium, goosefoot, was found. These Middle Woodland people subsisted primarily on wild plants, animals, fish, and shellfish. Each site had a single circular structure found, which may be due to limited excavation.

Maize horticulture appears in the Late Middle Woodland (550–950 CE) and seems to be an "economy" crop.McConaughy 2000, Dragoo 1956 "Climbing beans" similar to today's Kentucky Wonders planted beside hills of maize (corn, Zea mays) appear in the Northern Panhandle and Monongahela drainage system by the 14th century. This is after the northern West Virginia and western Pennsylvania "Hamlet Phase" of the Monongahela culture (Monongahela Drew "tradition", R L George et al. of Pa) which transitions to Fort Farmers (1200 CE) now located on higher creek flats and ridge line gaps. The grit-tempered Mahoning Ware pottery becomes the primary ceramic form. Stone points, the Jack's Reef Corner Notched, Jack's Reef Pentagonal, Kiski Notched and Levanna, indicate that the "spear thrower", a common incorrect terminology for the atlatl and dart, was gradually replaced by the bow-and-arrow during the Late Middle Woodland. Both atlatls and the earliest bows and arrows were used in West Virginia at about this time frame.

Late Woodland people's wigwam settlements increased in size within relatively fixed territories. Late Woodland temporary hunting rock shelters increased the distance for procuring resources. Facing Monday Creek Rockshelter (33HO414) in Hocking County, Ohio documents this resource expansion process. The value of knowledge sharing across borders today can be shown by quoting one of several sources. In his 2006 abstract, Steven P. Howard sums up his field team's findings, "Elements of the Ohio Hopewell florescence are evident at the Caneadea (Allegheny County, New York) and other northeastern mounds, but direct Hopewell influence appears to have been minimal. Data from northeastern mounds indicate that Hopewell may not be appropriate as a universal label for Middle Woodland mound building cultures."

State Archaeologist Dr. Robert F. Maslowski writes, "The Woodland (1000 BCE–1200 CE) on the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers settlement patterns at Winfield Lock Site and the Burning Spring Branch site (46KA142) have provided radiocarbon dates and good physical descriptions of the earliest pottery in southern West Virginia. This site is a multi-component site having several strata with a stockaded Fort Ancient Village (ca. 1500 CE) with 25 houses. West Virginia's Middle Woodland Period (650 CE) was redefined to include Adena with conical burial mounds. Gallipolis locks expansion project on the Ohio River for industrial navigation upgrading allowed the Kirk and Newman Mounds and an Adena ceremonial circle at the Niebert Site to be totally excavated. This provided for new interpretations of Adena ritual associated with burial mounds (Clay 1998, Clay and Niquette 1992). The paired post circle at Niebert consisted of outward sloping posts forming an open air structure. No artifacts were found in the structure but one large pit contained charcoal and fragments of cremated human bone. The structure was interpreted as a place where bodies were cremated and the remains reburied in local burial mounds like Kirk and Newman." (Maslowski 2003).

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Prehistory Of West Virginia - Other Woodland Cultures - Summary
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