St. Johns culture
The St. Johns culture was an archaeological culture in northeastern Florida, USA that lasted from about 500 BCE until shortly after European contact in the 17th century; the St. Johns culture was present along the St. Johns River and its tributaries (including the Oklawaha River, along the Atlantic coast of Florida from the mouth of the St. Johns River south to a point east of the head of the St. Johns River, near present-day Cocoa Beach, Florida. At the time of first European contact, the St. Johns culture area was inhabited by speakers of the Mocama, Agua Fresca and Acuera dialects of the Timucua language and by the Mayacas; the St. Johns culture is defined in terms of pottery styles. Plain chalky ware was the dominant St. Johns ceramic type. "Exotic" ceramic ware is common in ceremonial contexts. These "exotic" ceramics represent types from the Deptford, Belle Glade, Swift Creek, Weeden Island, Safety Harbor, Fort Walton cultures. There was a transitional area from the mouth of the St. Johns River extending into southeastern Georgia where St. Johns ware overlapped with Savannah ware, another transitional area, the Indian River region, where St. Johns ware overlapped with Belle Glade and Glades ware.
The St. Johns culture was based on the exploitation of fresh water resources. Villages and camps were located close to rivers, wetlands, coastal lagoons and estuaries. During the 2000 years of the St. Johns culture, large middens of shell and other debris, sometimes covering several acres and up to 25 feet high, accumulated throughout the region; some existing mounds extend for as long as a half-mile along the banks of the St. Johns River. While oyster and mussel shells dominate the middens, bones found in the middens indicate that catfish were a much larger component of the St. Johns people's diet than were shellfish; the St. Johns diet consisted of a wide variety of fish, reptiles and birds. Investigation of a site at Hontoon Island indicated that fresh water snails and turtles provided most of the meat consumed at the site, that those resources were exploited year-round. Plant foods included berries, cabbage palm and various small plants those growing in wetlands. Gourds were grown, but used as containers.
Maize cultivation reached the Timucua speakers of the St. Johns culture area around 750, although some authorities think the arrival was as late as 1050; the southernmost part of the St. Johns culture area had not acquired maize cultivation at the time of first European contact; the St. Johns peoples were not as dependent on maize cultivation as were most cultures in the southeastern United States, as suitable soil for sustainable maize production was scarce in the wetlands favored for habitation, abundant wetland resources were available year-round. Except along the western fringes of the region, the only stone resources available were soft coquina and sandstone, which were used for grinding and abrading tools. Tools and implements were more made of bone and shell, than of stone. Stone artifacts in the St. Johns culture are a mixture of styles preserved from the Archaic period with styles representative of neighboring cultures. Wooden artifacts that were preserved in water and wet soils have been found.
Purpose-built mounds of sand first appeared in the St. Johns culture region around 100 CE; as was common throughout Florida, mounds were used for burials. Some bodies were buried intact, in a flexed position, but most were first placed in charnel houses, which were built on top of a mound; the flesh was removed from, or allowed to rot off of, the bones, the bones were cleaned. The accumulated long bones and skulls of each individual were bundled and buried in a group in the mound; the charnel house would be destroyed by fire. A new layer of sand might be added to the mound, a new charnel house build on the top; the early mounds in the St. Johns culture region were 4 feet high up to an occasional 10 feet; the number of burials in a mound might be as high as 100, but most held fewer than 25. After 1050 influence from the Mississippian culture led some groups to construct platform mounds, which may have been topped by temples and/or chiefs' residences. One of these mounds, the Shields Mound in Duval County reached 190 feet along each side of the base, held 150 burials.
Another mound, Mt. Royal Mound, just north of Lake George, 15 feet high and 160 feet in diameter, was a burial mound; this mound contained many items received as trade goods from the region of the Mississippian culture. Chiefdoms in the St. Johns culture region did not achieve the size and power of those to the west, from the Florida panhandle through to the Mississippi valley, large platform mounds were rare in the St. Johns region. Milanich, Jerald T. "Chapter 3: St. Johns Culture of East and Central Florida", Florida's Indians from Ancient Times to the Present. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1599-5 Southeastern Prehistory - Middle Woodland Period - Retrieved July 17, 2007 An Environmental History of Northeast Fl
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States federal government's official list of districts, buildings and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property; the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966 established the National Register and the process for adding properties to it. Of the more than one million properties on the National Register, 80,000 are listed individually; the remainder are contributing resources within historic districts. For most of its history the National Register has been administered by the National Park Service, an agency within the United States Department of the Interior, its goals are to help property owners and interest groups, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, coordinate and protect historic sites in the United States.
While National Register listings are symbolic, their recognition of significance provides some financial incentive to owners of listed properties. Protection of the property is not guaranteed. During the nomination process, the property is evaluated in terms of the four criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places; the application of those criteria has been the subject of criticism by academics of history and preservation, as well as the public and politicians. Historic sites outside the country proper, but associated with the United States are listed. Properties can be nominated in a variety of forms, including individual properties, historic districts, multiple property submissions; the Register categorizes general listings into one of five types of properties: district, structure, building, or object. National Register Historic Districts are defined geographical areas consisting of contributing and non-contributing properties; some properties are added automatically to the National Register when they become administered by the National Park Service.
These include National Historic Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Historical Parks, National Military Parks, National Memorials, some National Monuments. On October 15, 1966, the Historic Preservation Act created the National Register of Historic Places and the corresponding State Historic Preservation Offices; the National Register consisted of the National Historic Landmarks designated before the Register's creation, as well as any other historic sites in the National Park system. Approval of the act, amended in 1980 and 1992, represented the first time the United States had a broad-based historic preservation policy; the 1966 act required those agencies to work in conjunction with the SHPO and an independent federal agency, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, to confront adverse effects of federal activities on historic preservation. To administer the newly created National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service of the U. S. Department of the Interior, with director George B.
Hartzog Jr. established an administrative division named the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation. Hartzog charged OAHP with creating the National Register program mandated by the 1966 law. Ernest Connally was the Office's first director. Within OAHP new divisions were created to deal with the National Register; the division administered several existing programs, including the Historic Sites Survey and the Historic American Buildings Survey, as well as the new National Register and Historic Preservation Fund. The first official Keeper of the Register was an architectural historian. During the Register's earliest years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, organization was lax and SHPOs were small and underfunded. However, funds were still being supplied for the Historic Preservation Fund to provide matching grants-in-aid to listed property owners, first for house museums and institutional buildings, but for commercial structures as well. A few years in 1979, the NPS history programs affiliated with both the U.
S. National Parks system and the National Register were categorized formally into two "Assistant Directorates." Established were the Assistant Directorate for Archeology and Historic Preservation and the Assistant Directorate for Park Historic Preservation. From 1978 until 1981, the main agency for the National Register was the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service of the United States Department of the Interior. In February 1983, the two assistant directorates were merged to promote efficiency and recognize the interdependency of their programs. Jerry L. Rogers was selected to direct this newly merged associate directorate, he was described as a skilled administrator, sensitive to the need for the NPS to work with SHPOs, local governments. Although not described in detail in the 1966 act, SHPOs became integral to the process of listing properties on the National Register; the 1980 amendments of the 1966 law further defined the responsibilities of SHPOs concerning the National Register.
Several 1992 amendments of the NHPA added a category to the National Register, known as Traditional Cultural Properties: those properties associated with Native American or Hawaiian groups
The Deptford culture was an archaeological culture in the United States characterized by the appearance of elaborate ceremonial complexes, increasing social and political complexity, mound burial, permanent settlements, population growth, an increasing reliance on cultigens. Deptford is named for the Deptford area near Georgia; the culture is defined by the presence of sand-tempered pottery decorated with the impressions of carved wooden paddles that were pressed against the vessels before they were fired. The sand-tempering distinguishes Deptford ceramics from the fiber-tempered ceramics of the late-Archaic Stallings Island/St. Simons and Norwood cultures that preceded it. Other contemporary cultures of the southeastern United States produced paddle decorated ceramics; the Deptford culture was oriented to the coast. From northern Georgia it spread along the Atlantic coast, reaching Cape Fear, North Carolina to the north and the mouth of the St. Johns River to the south; the Deptford culture spread along the Gulf of Mexico coast, reaching from the Perdido River on the western border of Florida to Tampa Bay on the lower west coast of Florida.
Deptford culture appeared in Florida around 500 BCE. The Deptford culture in the Gulf region evolved into the Swift Creek and Santa Rosa-Swift Creek cultures around 200 CE, while the culture in the Atlantic coastal region continued until about 700. In the eastern Florida Panhandle the Deptford culture has been divided into an early Deptford period, in which fiber-tempered and Deptford series ceramics are found together, a middle Deptford period, with only Deptford series ceramics present, a late Deptford period with both Deptford series and Swift Creek series ceramics present. Archaeological sites associated with the Deptford culture include: Tar River, North Carolina G. S. Lewis-West site, middle Savannah River Brewton Hill site, eastern Savannah, Georgia Dulany site, eastern Savannah Irene site, northwest of Savannah Refuge site, north of Savannah Meldrim site, southeast of Savannah Haven Home site, southwest of Savannah The Florida Panhandle from the Perdido River to the Aucilla River.
Hawkshaw site, in Pensacola, Florida The Block-Sterns site, Lake Lafayette, Florida Site 8LE484 on the northern shore of Lake Miccosukee, Leon County, FloridaThe sites in Leon County represent significant inland Deptford period sites. The Gulf coast of Florida from the Aucilla River to the Anclote River, extending 15 miles to 20 miles inland. Bird Island, near Horseshoe Beach, Florida Garden Patch, near Horseshoe Beach, Florida Cat Island, north of the mouth of the Suwannee River Little Bradford Island, in the mouth of the Suwannee River Sites 8LV75 and 8LV76 on Deer Island, between the mouth of the Suwannee River and Cedar Key, Florida Shell Mound, north of Cedar Key Palmetto Mound, north of Cedar Key Richards Island, north of Cedar Key North Key, in the Cedar Keys Seahorse Key, in the Cedar Keys Crystal River site, FloridaMany Deptford culture sites along the Gulf coast may now be under water, or eroded by rising water levels, as the sea level along the coast of the Florida Panhandle has risen 80 inches in the last 2,000 years.
Early Deptford ceramics appear to have been developed in Georgia around 2,600 years ago out of the Early Woodland Refuge phase, spread north into South Carolina and North Carolina and south into Florida. Deptford ceramics continued to be made and found on Middle Woodland sites in the southeastern U. S. until about 600 BCE. Occupation for the Atlantic coastal plain of Georgia and the Carolinas seems to have followed a seasonal pattern of winter shellfish camps on the coast inland occupation during the spring and summer for deer hunting, fall for nut gathering. From the Early through the Middle Woodland periods, the extensive, low-lying coastal environment of the South Atlantic coast, stretching from North Carolina to northern Florida, was used by numerous Deptford hunter-gatherer bands who lived seasonally within a variety of ecosystems and took advantage of seasonally available foods. Along the Gulf Coast, the Deptford culture continued the seasonal existence throughout the Middle Woodland.
Settlements in this geographical area lacked permanence of occupation, although the cultures here participated in the Hopewellian trading network to a limited extent and constructed numerous low sand burial mounds. These sand burial mounds along coastal Georgia and Florida, as well as in the Carolinas, are believed to represent local lineage burial grounds rather than the resting place of an elite individual. In northwestern Florida, the Early Woodland Deptford culture evolved in place to become the Swift Creek and Santa Rosa-Swift Creek cultures. Trade items recovered from burial mounds include copper panpipes, ear ornaments, stone plummets, stone gorgets; these show this area's incorporation within the Hopewellian Interaction Sphere by about 1,900 years ago. McFadden, Paulette S.. "Archaeological Investigations at Bird Island, Dixie County, Florida". University of Florida Laboratory of Southeastern Archaeology. Technical Report 14. Retrieved May 25, 2012. Milanich, Jerald T.. "The Southeastern Deptford Culture: a Preliminary Definition".
Bureau of Historic Sites and Properties. 3: 51–63. Retrieved 14 May 2012. Milanich, Jerald T.. Archaeology of Precolumbian Florida. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1273-2. Monés, Micah P..
Caborn-Welborn was a prehistoric North American culture defined by archaeologists as a Late Mississippian cultural manifestation that grew out of – or built upon the demise of – the Angel chiefdom located in the territory of southern present-day Indiana. Caborn-Welborn developed around 1400 and seems to have disappeared around 1700; the Caborn-Welborn culture was the last Native American occupation of southern Indiana before European contact. It remains unclear; the Caborn-Welborn culture is a cluster of more than 80 sites located on ridges along the Wabash and Ohio rivers from Geneva, Kentucky to the mouth of the Saline River. Most are concentrated near the confluence of the Wabash rivers; the sites range in size from 0.6 acres to 35 acres for the larger villages. Most sites are located on the higher flood plain ridges situated near sloughs and swamps; the Ohio River floodplain of this region has an extensive system of natural levees which parallel the river, with sloughs and swampy areas in between the levees.
Ashworth Archaeological Site – Located in Posey County and placed on the National Historic Register in 1985. Bone Bank Site – The site was a large village on the Wabash River in Posey County, it was nicknamed "Bone Bank" for the large number of remains of graves washed out of the site in the 19th century. It was established early in the Caborn-Welborn phase, about 1400. Hovey Lake-Klein Archeological Site – The site is located on the west bank of a backwater lake near the Ohio River, it was established about 1400. Murphy Archaeological Site – Located in Posey County and placed on the National Historic Register in 1975. Known as the Sullivan Farm Site and the Mouth-of-the-Wabash Site. Slack Farm Site – A large village near the mouth of the Wabash River in Union County, Kentucky. Welborn Village Archeological Site known as the Murphy's Landing Site – Located in Posey County. An internal temporal subdivision for the Caborn-Welborn culture, based on ceramic decorative attributes and the presence of European trade goods.
Pottery made by the Caborn-Welborn women was built up from strips of clay, smoothed out by the potter, much like other pottery in the Eastern America area, where the potters wheel was unknown. Common vessel shapes include jars, pans and funnels. Most jars tend to have rims with rounded necks and strap handles; the majority of the pottery found at Caborn-Welborn sites are of the kinds known as Mississippian Plain and Bell Plain, which are varieties common to most Mississippian cultures throughout the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. It was buff colored, contains large fragments of ground mussel shell as a tempering agent, is not as smooth and polished as other varieties. Certain unique kinds of pottery and decorations define the Caborn-Welborn people as distinct from other cultures. Caborn-Welborn Decorated, Kimmswick Fabric Impressed, Kimmswick Plain are varieties which are present in greater frequencies in Caborn-Welborn sites, are hallmarks of the culture. Effigy jars, both of humans and animals, are common in Caborn-Welborn sites.
Some have a human or animal head and sometimes a tail attached to the rim, others are shaped into the forms of heads, with attached clay lugs to represent limbs. Caborn-Welborn Decorated, the most found decorated ceramic style, is characterized by incised or punctated lines on the shoulders of the jar forms. Other less common varieties found are indicative of continuity from preceding Lower Ohio Valley cultures and contact with the wider Mississippian world the Central Mississippi valley and the Oneota culture; these types include Old Town Red, O'Byam Incised/Engraved, Manly Punctate, Angel/Kincaid Negative Painted, Beckwith Incised, Barton Incised, Ranch Incised-Like, Parkin Punctate, Campbell Punctate, Walls Engraved, Vernon Paul Applique. The people of Caborn-Welborn were intensely involved in maize agriculture, as well as other food crops originating in the Americas, such as beans, squash and gourds; the addition of beans to their diet came after the demise of the Angel Phase peoples thought to have preceded the Caborn-Welborn.
It would have been a valuable source of protein to add to their maize-rich diet. Maize lacks the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which the body needs to make proteins and niacin, but beans contain both, they collected local wild foodstuffs, including a variety of nuts such as hickory, black walnut and acorns, as well as fleshy fruits and berries such as persimmon and plums. The hunting of whitetail deer, squirrel, turkey and beaver added vital protein to their diet. But, unlike other Mississippian peoples in the central Mississippi Valley, they did not eat quantities of fish and waterfowl as part of their diet. By the final phase of Caborn-Welborn culture, European trade items began to be included among grave goods; these included copper and brass tubes, glass beads, bracelets. This is not indicative of direct European contact, however; the items could have made their way to the Caborn-Welborn area by the native traders along the routes which had brought exotic materials such as marine shells and native copper from other regions to the area for centuries.
But with the traders contracted and carried European diseases such as smallpox and measles, which penetrated the American continents far in advance of European-manned expeditions. With little or no immunity to the new European diseases, many Native cultures died or were disrupted before the Europeans made direct physical contact with them. The
Fort Walton culture
The Fort Walton culture is the term used by archaeologists for a late prehistoric Native American archaeological culture that flourished in southeastern North America from 1200~1500 CE and is associated with the historic Apalachee people. The Fort Walton culture was named by archaeologist Gordon Willey for the Fort Walton Mound site near Fort Walton Beach, based on his work at the site. Through more work in the area archaeologist have now come to believe the Ft. Walton site was built and used by people of the contemporaneous Pensacola culture; the peoples of the Ft. Walton culture used sand, grog, or combinations of these materials as tempering agents in their pottery, whereas the Pensacola culture peoples used the more typical Mississippian culture shell tempering for their pottery. Using this unique combination of sand/grit/grog tempering as its criterion Fort Walton culture is now defined within the geographical area stretching from the Aucilla River in the east to a Pensacola–Fort Walton transitional area around Choctawhatchee Bay in the west and north into the interior of south Alabama and Georgia, 107 miles up the Apalachicola River and 50 miles up the Chattahoochee River.
1000 to 1200 CE local Weeden Island peoples began adapting and adopting intensive maize agriculture, the building of platform mounds for ceremonial and religious purposes and making a new variety of ceramics, changes influenced by contact with the major Mississippian culture centers to the north and west. Early archaeologists thought that the Fort Walton culture represented the intrusion of peoples from Mexico or Mississippian cultures from the northwest replacing the indigenous Weeden Island peoples, but by the late 1970s this theory was discounted. Layouts and locations for Fort Walton sites are similar to other Mississippian culture sites, with the exception of sites in the Tallahassee Hills area which because of the local geography are located around lakes and swamps instead of rivers. Settlement types include single family homesteads, multi family hamlets, small single mound centers, large multimound centers; the hierarchical settlement patterns suggests. By the Late Fort Walton period increased contact with Lamar Phase peoples from central Georgia saw another change in styles of decoration and manufacture of ceramics.
This new phase is known as the Leon-Jefferson culture. This period sees the collapse of the chiefdoms as aboriginal populations declined following contact with European explorers and colonizers, such as the Hernando de Soto Expedition in 1539; the Fort Walton and Leon-Jefferson peoples are the direct ancestors of the Apalachee peoples. The Lake Jackson Mounds site in Leon County is the largest known ceremonial center of the Fort Walton culture, although there are eight other known ceremonial sites in the Apalachee Province, it was occupied during the entire Fort Walton period, but abandoned at about 1500 CE when the capital of the chiefdom was moved to nearby Anhaica, the capital when the de Soto entrada encamped there in the winter of 1539. Another large site located nearby is the Velda Mound, occupied from 1450 to 1625. Other sites include the Yon Mound and Village Site in Liberty County, the Thick Greenbriar Site in Jackson County. Woodville Karst Plain Project Gabrielle Shahramfar. Determining Fort Walton burial patterns and their relationship within the greater Mississippian world.
University of South Florida
National Park Service
The National Park Service is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior; the NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment. As of 2018, the NPS employs 27,000 employees who oversee 419 units, of which 61 are designated national parks. National parks and national monuments in the United States were individually managed under the auspices of the Department of the Interior; the movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland. With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the Department of the Interior.
They wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that mandated the agency "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS. On March 3, 1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933; the act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. It wasn't until that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, made use of this power. Deputy Director Horace M. Albright had suggested to President Roosevelt that the historic sites from the American Civil War should be managed by the National Park Service, rather than the War Department.
President Roosevelt issued two Executive orders to make it happen. These two executive orders not only transferred to the National Park Service all the War Department historic sites, but the national monuments managed by the Department of Agriculture and the parks in and around the capital, run by an independent office. In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service and went to work on bringing park facilities up to the standards that the public expected; the demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, a ten-year effort to upgrade and expand park facilities for the 50th anniversary of the Park Service. New parks were added to preserve unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded. In 1966, as the Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful scenery and unique natural features to making parks accessible to the public.
Director George Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and National Recreation Areas. Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has managed each of the United States' national parks, which have grown in number over the years to 60. Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States. In 1872, there was no state government to manage it, so the federal government assumed direct control. Yosemite National Park began as a state park. Yosemite was returned to federal ownership. At first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone, the civilian staff was replaced by the U. S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the federal government to improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, the National Park Service, to manage all national parks and some national monuments.
Mather was successful with the ratification of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. The agency was given authority over other protected areas, many with varying designations as Congress created them; the National Park System includes. The title or designation of a unit need not include the term park; the System as a whole is considered to be a national treasure of the United States, some of the more famous national parks and monuments are sometimes referred to metaphorically as "crown jewels". The system encompasses 84.4 million acres, of which more than 4.3 million acres remain in private ownership. The largest unit is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. At 13,200,000 acres, it is over 16 percent of the entire system; the smallest unit in the system is Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Pennsylvania, at 0.02 acre. In addition to administering its units and other properties, the National Park Service provides technical and financial assistance to several "affiliated areas" authorized by Congress.
The largest affiliated area is New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve at 1,164,025 acres. The smallest is Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at less than 0.01 acres. Although all units of the Nat
Fort Ancient is a name for a Native American culture that flourished from Ca. 1000-1750 CE and predominantly inhabited land near the Ohio River valley in the areas of modern-day southern Ohio, northern Kentucky, southeastern Indiana and western West Virginia. Although a contemporary of the Mississippian Culture, they are considered a "sister culture" and distinguished from the Mississippian Culture. Although far from agreed upon, there is evidence to suggest that the Fort Ancient Culture were not the direct descendants of the Hopewellian Culture], it is suspected. The Fort Ancient Culture were most the builders of the Great Serpent Mound; the name of the culture originates from the Fort Ohio archeological site. However, the Fort Ancient Site is now thought to have been built by Ohio Hopewellian people, it was occupied by the succeeding Fort Ancient culture. The site is located on a hill above the Little Miami River, close to Ohio. Despite its name, most archaeologists do not believe that Fort Ancient was used as a fortress by either the Ohio Hopewell culture or the Fort Ancient culture.
Starting in about 1000 CE, terminal Late Woodland groups in the Middle Ohio Valley adopted maize agriculture. They began settling in small, year-round nuclear family households and settlements of no more than 40 to 50 individuals; these small scattered settlements, located along terraces that overlooked rivers and sometimes on flood plains, would be occupied for short periods before the groups moved on to new locations. By 1200 the small villages began to coalesce into larger settlements of up to 300 people, they were occupied for longer periods up to 25 years. During the Early and Middle Fort Ancient period, the houses were designed as single-family dwellings. Fort Ancient buildings are larger multi-family dwellings. Settlements were permanent, as the people moved to a new location after one or two generations, when the natural resources surrounding the old village were exhausted; the people laid out the villages around an open oval central plaza, surrounded by circular and/or rectangular domestic structures facing the plaza.
The arrangement of buildings in Fort Ancient settlements is thought to have served as a sort of solar calendar, marking the positions of the solstices and other significant dates. The people began to build low platform mounds for ceremonial purposes, many villages added defensive palisades to their boundaries; the plaza was the center of village life: the place where ceremonies and other social events were held. The Late Fort Ancient period from 1400 to 1750 is the protohistoric era in the Middle Ohio Valley. During this era, the dispersed populations began to coalesce; the Gist-phase villages became much larger than during the preceding period, with populations as high as 500. Archaeologists have speculated that the larger villages and palisades are evidence that after 1450, warfare and intergroup strife increased, leading the people to consolidate their villages for better protection; this era showed increased contact with Mississippian peoples. The Madisonville horizon of artifacts after 1400 includes high proportions of bowls, salt pans, triangular strap handles, negative painted pottery and beaded rims, some effigies, all items and styles that are associated with the Mississippian cultures of the Lower Ohio Valley, at sites such as Angel Mounds and Kincaid Mounds.
These sites were abandoned during this time period. During the Montour phase, the people inhabited their villages year-round, although less densely in the winter than in the summer months; this may indicate that during the winter, family groups and hunting parties may have returned to the regions occupied by their ancestors. Such a pattern was observed for example, among the Miami and Potawatomi. By their trading, the Fort Ancient people had access to European trade items, such as glass, iron and copper, which have been found as grave goods at sites such as Lower Shawneetown and Hardin Village; such artifacts appeared and were used in the area before the arrival of European explorers or settlers. Although the Fort Ancient peoples did not encounter Europeans at this time, like other groups in the interior of the continent, may have suffered high fatalities from their diseases, transmitted among Native Americans by trade contacts; the next-known inhabitants of the area, who were encountered by French and English explorers, were the historic Shawnee tribe.
Scholars believe that the Fort Ancient society, like the Mississippian cultures to the south and west, may have been disrupted by waves of infectious disease epidemics from the first Spanish explorers in the mid-16th century. After 1525 at the Madisonville Site, the type site for the Madisonville Phase, dwellings were built on a smaller scale and in fewer number; this change indicated the culture was less attached to a sedentary life. Scholars believe that similarities in material culture, art and Shawnee oral history link the historic tribe to the Fort Ancient people; the Fort Ancient culture can be divided into Early, Middle & Late Phases. It is not believed that they merged into a singular society until close to the end of the Middle Phase. At this time, Fort Ancients were poor sedentary societies, they lived. The locals farmed corn, beans & sunflower-- the last of which being a plant