Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Archaeology

Committee Chair

Gregory L. Miller


Understanding Middle Woodland period sites has been of considerable interest for North American archaeologists since early on in the discipline. Various Middle Woodland period (50 BCE-400CE) cultures participated in shared ideas and behaviors, such as constructing mounds and earthworks and importing exotic materials to make objects for ceremony and for interring with the dead. These shared behaviors and ideas are termed by archaeologists as “Hopewell”. The Mound House site is a floodplain mound group thought to have served as a “ritual aggregation center”, a place for the dispersed Middle Woodland communities to congregate at certain times of year to reinforce their shared identity. Mound House is located in the Lower Illinois River valley within the floodplain of the Illinois River, where there is a concentration of Middle Woodland sites and activity. Use-wear analysis is a tool that archaeologists can use to identify the materials stone tools were used to cut, scrape, drill, etc. Use wear analysis looks at forms of polish on stone tools that are specific to the types of materials that they were used to cut, scrape, etc. The application of this technique to blades, a tool style associated with Hopewell, at Mound House can reveal what people were doing at Mound House. This thesis applies this technique to the Mound House site to reveal evidence for communal activities such as feasting, while craft production and daily activities play a lesser role at the site. This supports preexisting ideas about Mound House as a center for Middle Woodland people to gather to form a symbolic community.


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