Section Six: Late Woodland Period
Between A.D. 400 and 600, the Hopewell culture seems to have changed a great deal. No longer were complex earthworks built or exotic goods traded. Many causes for these changes have been proposed; some suggest that Hopewell society itself declined or broke down. More recently, though, archaeologists have noticed a trend during this period toward larger numbers of people living in villages that were supported by raising plant crops. This trend began with Hopewell and other Middle Woodland groups and continued among their Late Woodland descendants. Some archaeologists believe that single Late Woodland groups were better able to support themselves and no longer needed to rely on vast trade networks for food and other goods. This theory, however, is the subject of much debate.
Archaeologists recognize several Late Woodland societies in Ohio. The Newtown group lived in southwestern and central Ohio from A.D. 400 to about 900. The people who made Peters Cord-marked pottery were in southeastern Ohio about the same time. The Cole and Cole/Baldwin groups occupied the Delaware and Muskingum County areas after A.D. 1000. Western Basin Late Woodland groups lived along the western edge of Lake Erie throughout this period; however, they had more in common with groups in Michigan than in southern Ohio.