Early Cultures: Pre-European Peoples of Wisconsin
Paleo Tradition Archaic Tradition Woodland Tradition Mississippian and Oneota Traditions
Archaeological Basics Native Technology Wisconsin Sites Glossary Home
Oneota Farmers
Image of Corn, Beans, and a Scapula Hoe
Corn, beans, and a scapula hoe

Image of Sand Lake Blocks
Sand lake blocks
Oneota people grew crops of corn, beans, and squash, and hunted and gathered the abundant resources found in and adjacent to rivers and lakes. These areas provided a lot of resources such as turtles, muskrats, beaver, fish, waterfowl and mussels. The area between the villages was left empty. Oneota people probably hunted and gathered in these areas but did not live there. Hunting large animals like deer, elk or bison may have taken hunters far from their villages. Archaeologists aren't sure what Oneota people did during the winter. Groups in the western part of Wisconsin probably traveled further westward to hunt buffalo and meet with other groups.

Archaeologists have found acres of ridged fields where Oneota farmers grew corn, beans and squash. Ridged fields were created by piling the soil into long parallel ridges. These early farmers grew corn on the ridge, with beans growing up the corn stalk and the squash covering the ground around the base of the corn. The corn provided support for the beans to grow on and the squash provided ground cover that helped keep weeds down. Hoes made from the shoulder blades (scapula) of animals, such as bison and elk, were used to tend the fields. People went though the trouble to make the ridged fields because it helped to ensure a successful harvest. The ridge raised the corn just enough to protect it from flood and frost and it effectively extended the growing season a bit longer.
























Corn being milled on rocks
Site Credits