Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Native American Industry

Thanksgiving is a time to travel, shop, cook, watch the Cowboys lose and argue with your relatives. It is also a time to honor those who were here before we took their land. We may think of Native Americans in simplistic cliches, but the interior cultures had an extensive network of production and trade called the Hopewell Exchange System.

This map shows the extent of trade among the different cultures that flourished from about 200 BC to about 500 AD (or CE.) The map's author, Hieronymous Rowe has numerous maps of Native American culture on Wikipedia.

A few centuries later, members of the Mississippian Culture began quarrying chert, a stone used to make tools and ceremonial objects. The raw material was dug up and transported to nearby settlements to be made into hoes, spades and other tools. Here is Rowe's map of the production sites at Mill Creek, Illinois.

Tools were then traded extensively as seen here.

And you thought they only made turkeys and yams!

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