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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history
(1998)

1. Prehistoric and historic Native American occupation,   pp. 1-42


Page 7

rise of horticulture as an important part of the subsistence base. In Wisconsin, Woodland
peoples made pottery vessels tempered with crushed rock. The production of this pottery began
sometime between 3000 and 2500 B.P. and continued up to the period of European exploration.
For ease of interpretation, this period has been divided into three periods: Early, Middle, and
Late.
During the Early Woodland period there was the first widespread use of ceramic vessels.
Groundstone pipes and copper ornaments were also prevalent and mound construction became
widespread. There is evidence of the use of both local and imported domesticated plant
species. The Early Woodland period also saw the rise of the first great mortuary complex in
the Adena culture. In Wisconsin, few Early Woodland sites have been identified. This is not
surprising since the main cultural manifestations of the Early Woodland period occurred
further to the south. Wisconsin was peripheral to this development and retained more
continuity with the past. Many characteristic Early Woodland pottery and projectile point
types are poorly represented here. In southeast Wisconsin, the Hilgen Spring Park Mound site
in Ozaukee County represents a rare example of an Early Woodland mound in the area (Van
Langen and Kehoe 1971). In the southwestern part of the state, a number of Early Woodland
sites have been found, and in south-central Wisconsin the Beach site near Madison (Salkin 1982
survey) represents the Early Woodland period. There is little evidence for Early Woodland
occupations in Rock County. While it has not been proven, it is possible that some of the conical
mounds in the county relate to Early Woodland occupations. While they may exist, no Early
Woodland sites have been positively identified in Janesville or the immediate area.
The Middle Woodland period in the Midwest is almost synonymous with the Hopewellian
cultures. The Hopewellian manifestation developed in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, yet its
influence extended over a broad area, from the eastern Plains to the Atlantic and from the
Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Based on the extent to which a particular area
participated, the Hopewellian manifestation may be understood as a culture in some areas and
as a mortuary complex or artistic style in others. The Hopewellian culture was marked by the
development of a complex interaction sphere and mortuary ritualism. Mortuary ritualism was
related to high-status individuals, who were sometimes clustered in what were probably
ceremonial centers. High status in this ranked society was apparently validated by acquisition
of scarce status goods through interaction. Hopewellian culture was developed on a subsistence
base that included maize horticulture as well as hunting and the gathering of wild plant and
shellfish resources. Cultures that developed north of the Hopewellian centers shared a number
of basic traits with Hopewell but lacked the elaborate art styles and mortuary complex and,
most likely, the complex social patterns. In southeastern Wisconsin, the Middle Woodland is
represented by the poorly defined Waukesha Phase (McKern 1942). Waukesha Phase sites are
primarily mound groups in the Rock River area. In southwestern Wisconsin, mound groups such
as Trempealeau and Coutois demonstrate various Hopewellian characteristics. These sites
have been defined as the Trempealeau Phase.
Fewer Hopewellian-related sites have been identified in south-central Wisconsin. The Outlet
site in Dane County (Bakken 1950) consisted of mounds with burials that had clear
Hopewellian traits. Also, a thin distribution of Hopewellian ceramics exists from other sites
in Dane and Rock counties. In the northern part of the Rock County, the Cooper Shore Site
represents an important village site. While they may exist, no Middle Woodland sites have
been positively identified on lands within or adjacent to Janesville.
The Late Woodland period began with the decline of the Hopewellian complexes and ended
with the arrival of the Europeans. During this period, the cultures continued to develop to
resemble Eastern Woodland tribes of the historic period. Late Woodland cultural development
Prehistoric and Historic Native American Occupation
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