Project Title: Ohio Hopewell: Prehistoric Crossroads of the American Midwest

Project Description:

Elaborate and large-scale ritual events among the Ohio Hopewell integrated many native societies in the midwest during the first five centuries of the Common Era. These practices included monumental earthwork construction and complex mortuary rituals at sites across the Ohio River Valley. More than two hundred years of speculation and research have generated dozens of hypotheses and models about how the Hopewell interaction sphere was created and how these ritual events shaped ceremonial connections in the region. In spite of centuries of research, extensive unpublished information exists in various repository institutions, including data from sites that have subsequently been destroyed.

Due to the long and complex excavation history of many Hopewell mounds, legacy data are housed in repositories scattered across the US and abroad (The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Ohio Historical Society, the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, the Field Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and the British Museum). Hence, the information used to build interpretations of Hopewell culture have limited availability because of access restrictions and the burden of research travel. The primary goal of this collaborative project is to advance research by aggregating these data and providing open access to legacy and contemporary archaeological information on the ceremonial activities of the Ohio Hopewell, specifically the creation of mound complexes (e.g., Mound City, Hopewell, Seip, Hopeton, Fort Ancient, and Newark). This work will facilitate international collaborations, use web-accessible technologies to disseminate scholarly research to new audiences, and advance the preservation of and increased access to the cultural patrimony of the American people.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Field Museum are partners in this effort.

Organizers Names: Carrie Heitman
Collaborator(s): William Parkinson, University of Illinois at Chicago
Organizer's Contact Information:, office: 402-472-7957
Organizer's Departmental and University Affiliation: University of Nebraska-Lincoln