Hopewell Influence Stretches to the Great Plains

April 10, 2022

The Hopewell Interaction Sphere was a social network that stretched across across eastern North America from CE 1-400. Seashells, copper, and mica and other raw materials were traded within this network. People within the network adopted copper ear ornaments and drilled bear teeth as cultural symbols. Drilled bear teeth were found in a field in eastern Kansas similar to teeth in Hopewell sites in Ohio and Illinois.

Recently, these teeth have been studied. There are 14 teeth in the collection from Kansas and they were made into a necklace. They will research whether these belonged to Ohio bears, and perhaps a pilgrim from Kansas obtained them from a Hopewell site. If they are Kansas bears, perhaps the necklace was made in imitation of bear necklaces seen by a Kansas pilgrim at a Hopewell site. But the fact that these were found in the Great Plains shows the extent of Hopewell influence.

The great Brad Lepper reported on this in the Columbus Dispatch;