Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

Publication Date



Ritual economy, Microwear, Hopewell, Craft production, Fort, Ancient, Middle Woodland


Ritual economy provides a powerful framework for examining aspects of the organization of craft production, especially in the absence of a strong, centralized political economy. This paper outlines the basic tenants of ritual economy and describes how this framework can expand the understanding of the organization of production in small scale societies. I apply these concepts in a case study based largely on microwear analysis of Hopewell bladelets from the Fort Ancient earthworks in southwest Ohio. Microwear analysis from many different localities excavated within and near the earthworks demonstrates that craft production was an important activity conducted using bladelets. Each of the localities in which crafts were produced concentrated on media distinct from the others. These findings have important implications for our understanding of Hopewell economy and social structure as well as craft production in general.


This paper was originally published in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.