Woodland and Mississippian Artifacts

Gulf Coast
Middle Mississippian
Hopewell and Fort Ancient
South Appalachian


The Caddoan culture area covered the western half of Arkansas and Louisiana, and the easternmost portions of Texas and Oklahoma.

The Woodland Tradition is represented in this area by the Fourche-Maline phase, which was typical Woodland with some influences from Hopewell.

Mississippian developments in the Caddo region appear to have come into the region from the Coles Creek tradition of southern Mississippi and Louisiana via the Red River. Pottery traits include engraved black or red wares, and distinctive hatch- engraved grounds.

Eastern Texas Artifacts

Lamar County, Texas

Central Arkansas Artifacts

Saline County, Arkansas


The term "Gulf Coast" is not typically associated with Woodland or Mississippian culture, but a number of sites dispersed throughout Northern Florida share some features of mainstream Woodland and Mississippian traditions.

The Woodland cultures of the Gulf Coast appear to have evolved somewhat in advance of those in other areas. Sophisticated pottery types, whose decoration indicates some contact with Hopewell, were produced all along the coast of Florida, especially at Weeden Island. Huge burial mouds and platform mounds develop here before they become typically "Mississippian" features.

The Mississippian period is marked by the expansion of the Coles Creek culture of Louisiana eastward, and of the Swift Creek culture southward.

Florida Panhandle Artifacts

Franklin County, Florida

Taylor County, Florida

Washington County, Florida

Central Florida Artifacts

Lake County, Florida


The Middle Mississippi culture area included northern Alabama and Mississippi, eastern Arkansas and Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana, western Kentucky and all of Tennessee. 

The Woodland Period cultures in this area were primarily influenced by the Adena and Hopewell traditions of the Ohio Valley, although ceramics were less significant and mound building more so. 

An increase in the nucleation of peoples towards large centers such as Cahokia and Moundville distinguishes Mississippian from Woodland traditions. Ceramic technologies transformed dramatically, with a far greater diversity of vessel forms and decorative techniques, and shell tempering becoming the norm. Mesoamerican influence appears to have been substantial.

Southeast Missouri Artifacts

Mississippi County, Missouri

New Madrid County, Missouri

Scott County, Missouri

Bowls :: Bottles :: Jars :: Necked Jars :: Hooded Bottles :: Effigy Bowls :: Effigy Bottles :: Effigy Jars

Northeast Arkansas Artifacts

Cross County, Arkansas

Poinsett County, Arkansas

Eastern Tennessee Artifacts

Monroe County, Tennessee

Middle Tennessee Artifacts

Cheatham County, Tennessee

Montgomery County, Tennessee

Northern Mississippi Artifacts

Tishomingo County, Mississippi

Core Area Artifacts

Unattributed Artifacts


The Ohio Valley area covered southern Ohio, southeastern Indiana, and the northern portions of Kentucky and West Virginia.

The Adena and Hopewell cultures were the definitive manifestations of the Woodland tradition in the Ohio River Valley area. The Adena culture marks the beginning of the Woodland tradition in the area. The Hopewell culture achieved prominence during the Middle Woodland Period, and its influence was widespread. Characteristic pottery included small pots with conoidal or flat bases, often decorated with cord marking or roller stamping. 

The Ohio River Valley was not dramatically affected by Mississippian culture. The Fort Ancient tradition retained many features of the Hopewell tradition, blended with newer ideas from the Mississippians. Vessels forms did become more elaborate, but often retained the earlier types of decoration.

Southern Ohio Artifacts

Northeast Kentucky Artifacts

Mason County, Kentucky



The lower reaches of the Mississippi River Valley, along eastern Louisiana and western Mississippi, were the extents of the Plaquemine culture area.

These areas of the Mississippi Valley seem to have been influenced by the Hopewell culture during this period.

The proliferation of vessel forms and decorative techniques marked this area of Mississippian culture as elsewhere. However, these generally differed from northern types, being more consistent with Caddoan and Gulf Coast types.

Southwest Mississippi Artifacts

Adams County, Mississippi


The Oneota culture area covered the Upper Mississippi Valley, including all of Iowa, southern Minnesota and Wisconsin, and northern Missouri.

The earliest Woodland cultures in this area made typical early Woodland pottery, which was subsequently replaced by Hopewell types. In Wisconsin, the Effigy Mound peoples made typical Woodland-style ceramics.

Mississippian culture only partially influenced the peoples of the Oneota area. Expanded vessel forms and shell tempering were the primary manifestations.

Central Wisconsin Artifacts

Racine County, Wisconsin

Waupaca County, Wisconsin


The South Appalachian culture area covered Georgia, South Carolina and the extreme north of Florida.

The ceramics of the Woodland period were typical in terms of form and construction, but as for decoration, the cord and fabric marking common in the north was replaced by complicated stamping types in this area.

The pottery of the Mississippian period varied only slightly from the Woodland. Mississippian vessel forms began to intrude, as did decorative techniques such as negative painting.

Central Georgia Artifacts

Swift Creek Area, Georgia

Introduction :: Culture Overview :: Vessel Forms :: Decorative Techniques