Topics: A Portrait of an Adena Female and Women in Adena Society.

The Adena Culture emerged in the Ohio River Valley sometime between 1400 and 800 BC, and persisted until around 300 AD. Adena raised earthen mounds ranging from just.

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The Adena Culture emerged in the Ohio River Valley sometime between 1400 and 800 BC, and persisted until around 300 AD. Adena raised earthen mounds ranging from just a few inches to nearly 70 feet high (21 meters). Within the mounds, the honored dead were buried in sub-mound pits, log tombs, and occasionally elaborate timber structures. The human remains from the mounds were frequently found with artifacts, including copper bracelets, beads, and gorgets, as well shell, flint, and slate objects.

The Adena also constructed circular earthen enclosures. These “sacred circles” usually included an interior ditch following the circuit of the earthen wall and one causewayed entryway. These structures are typically considered to have served some ritual or ceremonial purpose. The Adena people lived in dispersed seasonal hamlets and consumed white-tailed deer, squash, and gourd. At the Charleston Mound Group in West Virginia and elsewhere, evidence has been found suggesting that the Adena engaged in some level of maize agriculture by the third century BC.

Modern archaeology considers Adena society to have been heterarchical in nature. In heterarchical societies, leadership positions activate when needed, but supposedly do not ascribe lasting power to the person or persons chosen to bear the status roles. However, research in some regions of the Ohio Valley has suggested that at least some Adena polities were modeled upon an inherited, generational elitism.