Sites & cities that bear the name of Toolesboro Mound Group

Toolesboro Mound Group

Today in : United States of America
First trace of activity : ca. 2nd century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 1st century C.E

Description : The Toolesboro Mound Group, a National Historic Landmark, is a group of Havana Hopewell culture earthworks on the north bank of the Iowa River near its discharge into the Mississippi. The mounds are owned and displayed to the public by the State Historical Society of Iowa. The mound group is located east of Wapello, Iowa, near the unincorporated community of Toolesboro. The mouth of the Iowa River was a superb location for people skilled in hunting and the gathering of food. Wild plants living in the rich alluvial soil of the two rivers could be supplemented with fish, shellfish, and waterfowl. The Hopewell culture was a Native American celebration of the economic surplus, in food and other goods, created by harvesting the natural wealth of the American Midwest. Native Americans, in the Hopewell period, buried their dead in earthen mounds, accompanied by grave goods that displayed their status and possibly their religious and social leadership. Grave goods discovered in Hopewell mounds include copper from Lake Superior, sea shells from the Gulf of Mexico, mica from the Appalachian Mountains, and obsidian from the region of what is now Yellowstone National Park. It is believed that the Hopewell Interaction Sphere had extensive trading relationships that enabled them to transfer large quantities of high-status goods across wide sections of the North American continent. The Hopewell of the Toolesboro area would have been able to export blades cut from local flint. Local freshwater pearls were another highly prized item, exported and distributed over a wide area. The surviving mounds of the Toolesboro Mound Group were built by the Havana Hopewell culture sometime between 200 BCE and 100 CE. The status of the people buried in the mounds indicates that the mounds were raised by people working within an organized community with an established social hierarchy. It is believed that there is likely to have been a Hopewell village located nearby, but as of December 2006 the location of this village had not yet been identified. Archeologists conjecture that the Iowa River, shifting its course frequently during the following two millennia and spreading alluvial silt over its path, may have flooded or buried the site.

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