Monday, August 13, 2007

More about who created these stone cairns.

In a previous post a reader "Norman" left a comment that stated his belief that the Adena were not associated with stone structures. He felt that the Hopewell culture was more directly connected to the culture that created these stone structures. The information that I included in my previous post that addressed the question of who created these stone cairns was derived for the most part from the writings of David Robinson.
David passed away a few years ago and his wisdom is sorely missed. He like myself was an amateur archaeologist. Like anyone interested in past cultures he attempted to assign a label to the people that he was trying to understand. I have read many of these labels: Adena, Hopewell, Owasco, Massawomeck, Woodlands, Burial Phase 1, Burial Phase 2. I understand the need to do this but I also think it is a flawed concept. I think about the community that I live in. We might identify it as an Anglo-Christian community, but that is misleading. We have a strong Mennonite community as well as people who have African, Chinese or Mexican heritage. The world is not black and white.

So what do we know? There was a culture that lived in this area before the Seneca. They have been called the Owasco culture. They are believed to have spoken the Algonquian language. David Robinson felt they were connected to the Adena

The Owasco were descendants of the Adena. The Once mighty Adena were in a regressed state when their culture changed enough so that archeologists considered them to have become a different people, the Owasco, around 1000AD in New York State, according to William Ritche> Even if they had been in a more regressed state than the later Adena, the Owasco were different from, and seem to have been more advanced, except in warfare, than the tribes that later made up the Iroquois. This was taken from David's article "The Seneca Serpent Legends" in the summer 1998 issue of the Neara journal.

Maybe it is more accurate to call the previous culture Hopewellian. To date I don't know the answer. Who ever made these structures seemed to have a connection with people in New England, Delaware, Georgia, etc...
The reason that I created this blog was to connect with people that can provide information about these ancient people and share ideas like Norman did. I love a mystery and riddles. I look forward to hearing from other readers.


Norman said...

The cairns at the Oley Hills site were once attributed to the Adena by an archaeologist about fifteen years ago. On what basis, I have no idea.

About ten years ago, about ten pieces of cinder material were found on the ground at the base of the Terrace at the Oley Hills site (see
One of these was sent to a professor of archaeometallurgy and geology at Yale University, and he wrote back saying the cinder was not part of a metallurgical operation, but instead came from a clay lined hearth that contained a very hot fire. Now, it turns out that the Adena constructed large clay lined pits in which they cremated human remains. The possible connection of the cinder samples with the Adena is tantalizing, but to establish whether they are associated with a cremation, one needs to find evidence of phosphate, and this has not been done. As I mentioned before, Adena burials have been found along the Maryland and Delaware coasts.

Norman said...

One other comment: The Glenford stone "fort" in Ohio, which consists of a mile long stone wall that traces the perimeter of a hill, and a large stone and earth mound. The latter was radiocarbon dated in the 1980s to about 2200 B.P. which is late Adena or early Hopewell. I only mention this because it is entirely possible that the Adena also constructed with stone.

stonepilewhisper said...

Once again thanks for the input. I was reading 1491 last night and the author suggested that many archaeologist aren't sure that the Adena and Hopewell are two different cultures or just a progression of one culture. He also discussed what he called "interaction sphere" where cultural traits are adopted by others. I was excited to see my home in Vine Valley marked as an Adena site on the map on page 257. It is a good book for anyone interested in Pre-Columbian America.