Sculpting, Renewal and Perdurance of Illinois Hopewell Mounds

Author(s): Jason King; Jane Buikstra

Year: 2017


Investigations of Illinois Valley Middle Woodland (Hopewell, ca 50 cal BC – cal AD 400) mound structure have traditionally emphasized the organization and composition of initial, or primary, features that anchor these monuments. Particular attention has been placed upon the distinctive ramp and tomb complex that centers initial ritual activity at mound sites and its connection to mortuary activity, cosmology, and creation. In contrast, archaeologists have typically underappreciated subsequent building episodes that transform tumuli into massive monuments. Often referred to simply as "capping layers" because they obstruct access to central features, these earthen additions transform and sculpt the external structure of mounds in meaningful ways that reconfigure Middle Woodland people’s landscape through repetitive performances that reinforced received and transmitted wisdom. In this paper, we focus on the communal and regenerative nature of mound sculpting, particularly the reconfiguration of structures that shift activity and attention away from mortuary contexts and creation narratives to practices that emphasize renewal and perdurance throughout the Middle Woodland period and beyond.

Cite this Record

Sculpting, Renewal and Perdurance of Illinois Hopewell Mounds. Jason King, Jane Buikstra. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430200)

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Hopewell Illinios Mounds

Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17535