Woodland Period

Woodland Period (1000 BC-AD 800)

Millions of people now populate North America. Settlements are established near rivers, streams and coastal areas. Specialization—in religion, hunting and fishing, tool making, armory, farm implements, jewelry and clay making—is now a way of life. Fish are a staple of diet. Shamans perform rituals whose purpose is to placate gods of the sky and animal spirits. In Illinois, the sun is viewed as a god star, as is Venus. The first farmers experiment with agriculture and propagation of plants. Artisans make garments and jewelry and use plant-based paints, pipestone and other “soft” stones suitable for carving to make representations of life. Celts, the last generation of stone axes, fit into slotted wood handles and are used for cutting trees. Arrowheads are much smaller and more aerodynamic. Copper implements replace some stone technologies. Fired clay pottery vessels are introduced. Children play games: ‘catch’ with stone balls, ‘chunky stones,’ with hockey puck-size granite wheels. Tool makers establish mining camps where stone is plentiful. More than forty miles upstream from the confluence of the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers, stone workers fashion representations of parts of their communities, apparently as reminders of home. Miniature sandstone and limestone pyramids and carvings have been discovered in far-flung locations along streams and in farm fields. Burial mounds abut steep hills and bluffs of the mining camps.

Housing east of the Mississippi (there are no teepees) features thatched roofs over lodge-style dwellings which hold multiple or extended families. Ground and polished plum stones are used for roof alignment. Small underground living spaces are utilized.   

Printing is invented, 618, the T’ang Dynasty. Socrates, 469. Roman Empire, 300 BC. Buddhism is practiced in China, Han Dynasty, 206. Jesus, 5 BC.