SIA4108: National Park Serivce Marker: Early Gardeners

Photographer:Calvin J. Hamilton
Copyright:Copyright © 2013 Calvin J. Hamilton. All rights reserved.
Date Added:2013/10/02
Location:Hopewell Mound Group, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Chillicothe, Ohio

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Early Gardeners

The Hopewell did not live in villages. They lived in small family groupings in clearings such as this one. Typically one or two large, well-built huts housed one extended family. The substantial nature of these structures tells us that the Hopewell were becoming more settled than earlier American Indians in the Scioto River valley area. Although organized crop fields had not yet reached the area, gardens of native plants may have provided up to a quarter of their diet.

Garden produce was most likely dried on racks such as this one to the right. Food would have been prepared and stored in preparation for the harsh winters of the Scioto Valley.

Each family would tend a garden made up of plants that today are considered weeds—goosefoot, knotweed, sumpweed, and maygrass as well as sunflowers, squash, and tobacco. Corn as a crop was not introduced into the Ohio Valley until several hundred years later.

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