Early Cultures: Pre-European Peoples of Wisconsin
Paleo Tradition Archaic Tradition Woodland Tradition Mississippian and Oneota Traditions
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Settlement
Image of a Woodland Setting
Woodland Setting

Image of a Mound
Mound

Image of a Woodland House
Artist's rendition of a Woodland house
Woodland people moved around less than previous groups as they continued to develop territories. They continued to move seasonally to take advantage of resources. The distance they traveled, however, was probably not as great as in the past and they probably didn't move as frequently. In the spring and summer, when resources were more available, several small groups (25 - 50 people) might meet to trade and socialize. These small groups would gather with other small groups to form larger groups of 100 to 500 people, close to lakes, rivers, streams or springs. This would be a good time for ceremonial activities including moundbuilding. During the winter, when resources were scarce, the people would break up into smaller family groups and move to protected areas such as rockshelters. Camps developed along rivers and lakes in the summer, and inland or in more protected and sheltered places during the winter.

Archaeologists know that Woodland people were making some type of seasonal shelters. Archaeologists haven't, however, found any actual structures. What they have found are postmolds. Postmolds are stains in the ground where a post used to be but has now rotted away. The only thing left is the stain of where the post used to be. Archaeologists have found postmolds arranged in circular, rectangular, oval and keyhole shapes. It seems that people built their houses in different shapes in different locations and times in Wisconsin. The things that Woodland people left behind suggest to archaeologists that, regionally, there were many differences in lifeways. The varied landscape and environments of Wisconsin were part of the reason for the variety of lifeways.


Pottery Shards
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