Adena: Early Woodland Settlers Across Multiple States

Adena were settlers who had lived in areas in Ohia, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, parts of Pennsylvania and New York during the Early Woodland Period. Their name was only derived from an estate near Chillicothe, Ohio were artifacts were excavated in 1901. Adena were skilled craftsmen, jewellers and pottery makers. They lived in small villages and their main source of living was through hunting, fishing and farming (Adena Period, 2007).


They were also traders since some evidence were located showing copper from Western Great Lake Regions, mica from the Carolinas and shells from Gulf of Mexico (The Adena Mounds, 2007).

These people had carved many figurines and artifacts. They also had their famous pipe found in burial sites. They were somewhat nomad because of their source of living as hunters and gatherers. In their communities, they had built small circular houses (Ohio and Its People, 2003). Adena people were called mound builders.

The construction of mounds

They built mounds for the purpose of burying and honouring their dead people including some of their possessions.

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People buried in the mounds were cremated and then were put in small log tombs. However, some people were not cremated and they were buried together with variety of artifacts including flints, beads, pipes, mica and copper ornaments (The Adena Mounds, 2007). They had started building mounds approximately 1,000 BC to 100 AD. They built mounds in different sizes. The biggest mound built is in Montgomery County, the Miamisburg Mound, measuring sixty-eight feet covering three acres (Taylor, 2007, p.16).

Construction of these mounds is presumed to be manually built since there is no evidence supporting any mechanical evidence present within any site.

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Some mounds that Adena built are not burial mounds but effigy mounds. It may be part of their religious ceremony. The most famous effigy mound is the Great Serpent Mound found in the Adams County which measures five feet high and 1,330 What is Adena? 4 feet long. The said effigy mound is shaped like a big snake about to swallow an egg (Taylor, 2007, p. 17).

The Chesapeake Region

Adena people were linked with the Chesapeake Region. Chesapeake Region covers 2,500 square miles and is the largest estuary in North America. Chesapeake Bay was formed over 10,000 years ago during the melting of the glacial ice. (Guide to the Chesapeake Bay, 2007). They were closely linked by archaeologists due to evidence that Adena artifacts were earthen in Chesapeake region. These artifacts were believed to be imported to Chesapeake region by the Adena people. The said artifacts were earthen in the burial and living quarters of the Adena people.

These areas are in West River near Annapolis and Sandy Hill and Nassawango Creek on Eastern Shore. The artifacts were found along with the cremated and uncremated Adena people. Same with the importation of the said artifacts, Adena people were also debated whether they were natives of Chesapeake region or Ohio Valley immigrants. But this proposition was contradicted by the fact that Adena sites were only located in areas along Coastal Plain and around Chesapeake region (Hunting and Gathering Lifeways… , 2007).

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Adena: Early Woodland Settlers Across Multiple States. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Adena: Early Woodland Settlers Across Multiple States
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