Early Cultures: Pre-European Peoples of Wisconsin
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Red Ocher Culture
Image of a ''Turkey tail'' projectile point
"Turkey tail" projectile points are characteristic of the Red Ocher culture
A unique culture called the Red Ocher Culture existed in the time between the end of the Archaic and the beginning of Woodland. This culture showed more social complexity than earlier people. The people were involved in long distance trade of exotic materials and practiced elaborate burial practices. A characteristic of this culture was its unique burial practices of using red ocher to decorate or cover the corpses of their dead. Red Ocher is ground up iron ore that is red in color.

Objects made from exotic materials were placed with the burials to mark the individual's status. Copper ornaments, marine shell beads and ceremonial blades (knives or points that were thinner and larger than could be practically used) have been found buried with some individuals. The trade networks and use of copper by the Red Ocher people have their beginnings in the trade and copper use of the Old Copper Culture. Red Ocher people used copper more to make ornaments (beads, rings) than tools, like the Old Copper Culture people did. Not all Archaic or Woodland people were involved in the Red Ocher Culture. This is a unique set of lifeways that only some people were involved in.

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