Last Updated 24 Mar 2020

Middle Woodland

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The communities in the Middle Woodland Period possess creative beginnings, essential factors of which are native people, a history of domination and existing and widened transferring of the population from various places and societies. This has led in one of the most varied and differentiated communities in the globe, with almost a thousand ethnic societies (Applegate, 2005). Every one of these ethnic communities has its own definitive traits and characteristics and as a consequence of history, territorial variances and inner and outer migration of people, including differences associated to essential elements such as status, sex and territorial setting.

The concept of settlement and subsistence based on the Middle Woodland Period includes diversity, involving the emergence of a powerful existence of aborigines and profiles. This illustrates meaningful topics for the Middle Woodland Period communities: the implications of being a member of a community; the interaction between local and individual profiles; establishing and employing in both the connecting and dividing elements in a community with various ethnicities; and the type and scenario of an incoming leadership and governance system (Fortier, 2001).

Under the Middle Woodland Period, community is connected to human ecology with regard to the organizations, mechanisms for survival, and the way of thinking of the people, motives and quality of life. It tops the complicated box of concepts which portrays daily happenings in life and attitudes--the comprehensions and assumptions which leads the people’s initiatives and communications with other members of the community.

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The Swift Creek community existed during the periods of 1-400 CE, while the Santa Rosa society in Western Florida existed during the periods from 150-500 CE. The start of the Middle Woodland indicated a change of settlement to the Interior. As the Middle Woodland era went on, domestic and foreign exchange of exotic products tremendously improved to the point where a trade mechanism became existent on the Chesapeake Bay. Amongst the Southern and northern parts of the Chesapeake Bay, burial areas of significant people were very evident and possessed various presents, most of which were not recognizable to the people (Ritzenthaler, 1991).

The most evident archaeological site in the place of burial sites during this period was in the Chesapeake Bay, and is now pertained to as the Hopewell culture. Due to the likeness of works and burial gifts, experts predict a traditional norm of religious beliefs and customs and cultural communication that was present throughout the entire territory (also pertained to as a Hopewell Communication Sphere).

However, this could also be seen as the consequence of the fair exchange of goods and/or responsibilities between local families that managed particular regions. Access to food or other basic needs external to a family's region would be done through special agreements with other people. Family leaders would then be laid to rest along with presents obtained from their business partners to represent the interactions they had formed.

Under this situation, permanent communities would obviously be established, leading to improved agricultural gains and an increase in the density of people as well (Wittry, 1994). Although majority of the Middle Woodland customs and beliefs are pertained to as "Hopewellian," and in spite of the shared ceremonial customs and beliefs, independent beliefs and customs have been established during the Middle Woodland era. These involve the Swift Creek and the Copena beliefs and customs.


Applegate, D, 2005. Woodland Period Systematics in the Middle Ohio Valley.  University Alabama Press

Fortier, A, 2001. The Dash Reeves Site: A Middle Woodland Village and Lithic Production Center in the American Bottom.  Illinois Transportation

Ritzenthaler, R, 1991. The Woodland Indians of the Western Great Lakes. Waveland Press

Wittry, W, 1994. The Holdener Site: Late Woodland, Emergent Mississippian, and Mississippian Occupations in the American Bottom Uplands (11-S-685). Illinois Transportation

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