Saturday, August 15, 2009

Trade, Trails, and Tales

Among the American Indians over the centuries there have been many great trading systems. I think we took a look at a trail that was part of such a system. That is the 7000 year old trail north from the Gulf of California sea route at where it passes near Organ Pipe Nation Monument. Over these routes goods and certain people traveled over many hundreds of miles. My tale of 'the little bells may have suggested to you such a system.

The Hopewell system is one that you might enjoy learning about yourself. Perhaps you will tell us tales of its trails. Perhaps the story of the young time wanderer we left in New Mexico will aid your real imagination.

What we can call the Hopewell Exchange System had probably already passed its peak before the earliest European visitors had begun to move in. It had extended through the Mississippi, Arkansaw, Missouri river systems and into the Great Lakes and probably well beyond to include the tributaries of these great rivers and to even Beyond the mouths of the Mississippi and the St. Laurence.

The great days of that system were probably the centuries between 200 BC and 500 AD.

The Hopewell System may be seen as an extension and continuation of the Adena culture and systems, which seems to have been strongly active from about 2000 BC to about 200 BC. The Adena culture was probably centered in the Ohio valley, but extended into what is now Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, New York and beyond.
Still, it probably covered and area smaller than did the Hopewell system.

Adena people as did Hopewell people after them cultivated pumpkin and other squash, sunflower seeds, and pittseed gooseberries which are, they tell me, much like quinoa.
They were also, of course hunters of wild game. Their ancestors had hunted very large game indeed.

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