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North Dakota Eclectics

Middle Woodland
Middle Woodland Period (100 B.C. - A.D. 600

The Woodland people hunted, as their predecessors had, but they also began to plant and grow crops in gardens. Likely, their first crops were planted from the seeds of wild plants that were used for food, such as goose foot and marsh elder.

Trade with other trips also increased, bringing such foods as corn, squash and other food crops into North Dakota. In Woodland villages which have been discovered, archaeologists have found seashells used in beads, masks and pendants, which indicates that they were part of a larger trade network that extended far from the lands of North Dakota. Copper beads, knives and axes have also been found, probably from Minnesota or Wisconsin. By A.D. 1000, the trade system among Native American people extended from coast to coast, and from North Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico.

There were also differences in the manner in which the Middle Woodland people buried their dead. While earlier peoples placed their dead on raised platforms or under low piles of rock, the Woodlands people began to bury their dead in the ground, building a rounded mound of earth over the grave. Often, tools or other items, such as weapons, tools, jewelry, and pots, were placed within the mounds. While the rounded mounds were the most prominent, other mounds were shaped like animals. These effigy mounds were usually on high points overlooking rivers.

The use of clay to make pottery became common among the Woodland people. These pots were shaped, dried, and hardened by placing them in fires. Most of the pots were about two feet tall and one foot across, with a pointed bottom. Interestingly, the pots that were placed in burial mounds were usually much smaller and highly decorated, suggesting that they may have been made for that purpose.

Of Interest