The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Mound City

Hopewell wall

I like to go places that make me feel small.

Mound City

Mark and I had actually been to Mound City (Hopewell Culture National Historical Park) before, but somehow I didn't manage to make a post about it. Probably because we were just passing through, on a road trip deadline. This time, we made a day of it and spent two edifying hours on the site.

Effigy pipes

A new and improved interpretative movie helped me understand the site much better than I had the last time around. Apparently, during the Hopewell period (200 BC to 500 AD), there were no cities in the region. People lived as family units, with three dwellings the most that have ever been found in one place.

There was no big political structure either, and everyone hunted or gardened for their own food. And yet, despite all this, the Hopewell people were able to create artworks rivalling those produced by societies with a designated artisan class.

Hopewell artifacts

They also brought in goods from very far afield, perhaps via ceremonial journeys rather than through trade. The mica from North Carolina particularly inspired me because I could see how the reflective surface might tie into the various Hopewell sites' Stonehenge-like obsession with astronomy and the sky.

NPS umbrella

"These walled complexes were likely the gathering places of people who wanted to form community even though they were not living together in villages," one brochure read. Sounds a lot like a homesteading blog, doesn't it? Perhaps that's why these massive earthworks fire my imagination and send me plotting out more visits to other sites in the near future.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Did you learn what the pipes were made of, and where that came from? Also, about the kinds of tools that they used to carve those pipes? And if there were any flutes? (I remember seeing a clay whistle with actually shaped sort of like a turtle, once...) The amazing thing about archeology is how one thought really leads to another. So glad you went!
Comment by adrianne Sun Mar 4 09:10:50 2018

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