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OHIO ARCHAEOLOGY OVERVIEW

“Ohio’s rich prehistoric heritage holds a unique place in the cultural history of North America. From the time of the last glacier, the Ohio area was inhabited by a succession of prehistoric people who left a legacy of their passing unparalled anywhere on the continent. Some of the most important cultures of prehistory were formed and reached their apogees in Ohio. Cultural development over the entire eastern United States was influenced by Ohio cultures.

More than 12,000 years ago the Paleo-Americans, early hunters of the Ice Age, wandered into Ohio and hunted Pleistocene animals as the glacial ice retreated. Their passing is marked by distinctive fluted points which occur in Ohio more often than any comparable area in the United States. Numerous campsites of their descendants, the Plano people, can be found across northern Ohio from Pennsylvania to Indiana.

Later, successive groups of Early Archaic people moved into Ohio and left an abundance of evidence over the entire state. During the Middle Archaic period, Midwestern Archaic cultures evolved into societies of great complexity and created stone artifacts of elaborate and unique design, the finest examples of which are found in Ohio. The type sites for the Late Archaic Glacial Kame culture are in northwestern Ohio.

During the Early Woodland period, Adena, the first of the great mound building cultures was formed in Ohio and along the Ohio River valley and spread as far as the Atlantic Coast. The southern half of Ohio is dotted by thousands of Adena mounds.

No prehistoric manifestation of the Middle Woodland period in North America approached Ohio Hopewell in its complexity, splendor or influence. The center of the Hopewell Universe was in southern Ohio where this, the most sophisticated of all prehistoric cultures, reached its climax. It is in Ohio where most of the gigantic Hopewell earthworks occur. The largest Hopewell monuments in North America, the Newark Earthworks and Fort Ancient, are in Ohio.

The Late Woodland Intrusive Mound culture may have reached its peak in Ohio where it left a widespread tradition of occupation. Many sites of the powerful Fort Ancient people of the late prehistoric Mississippian period lie along the Ohio River, and the largest Fort Ancient village, Madisonville, is in southern Ohio. Related Monongahela, Whittlesey and Sandusky culture villages abound in eastern Ohio and along the shores of Lake Erie.”

from The Archaeology of Ohio by Robert N. Converse

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