Gateways and Gatherings: Economic, Ideological, and Social Networks of Southeastern Hopewell

Author(s): Alice Wright; Cameron Gokee

Year: 2016


The existence of the Hopewell Core – the concentration of remarkable ceremonial assemblages and geometric earthworks in the Ohio River Valley – presupposes the existence of a Hopewell Periphery, a social space that includes large swaths of the American Southeast. Often, archaeologists have attributed Hopewellian material culture at southeastern sites to their role as gateway centers facilitating the exchange and transfer of special raw materials through the Hopewell Interaction Sphere. Alternative proposals have suggested that certain southeastern sites may have served as pilgrimage centers where dispersed communities gathered to participate in Hopewellian ceremonial activities. While such economic and ideological scenarios are not mutually exclusive, we suggest that it may be possible to distinguish between them by considering macro-scalar connectivity across the Hopewellian social network. Using social network analysis in a GIS framework, we consider how multiple lines of evidence – geographic location, monumental architecture, exotic raw materials, and finished craft objects – support or refute such interpretations of major Hopewellian sites in the Southeast, clarify the structure of the Hopewell Interaction Sphere, and raise new questions about Middle Woodland connections across eastern North America.

Cite this Record

Gateways and Gatherings: Economic, Ideological, and Social Networks of Southeastern Hopewell. Alice Wright, Cameron Gokee. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403702)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;