Settlements during this period are found along the Atlantic coast and further inland along major rivers. The presence of storage pits at these encampments indicates a longer period of inhabitation. Burial ceremonialism appears during the Frost Island and Orient Phases. Cemeteries become established. Burial practices continue and become more elaborate and varied, possibly indicating an emerging social structure. Many burial sites have large caches of pottery and soapstone vessels. Several of these vessels were purposefully broken or punctured, suggesting they are a part of the burial ritual. Some believe this would release the objects spirit so it would accompany the spirit of the deceased. Projectile points, jewelry, pipes, red ocher and flint are also common at burial sites. Long distance trade is established that crosses the eastern United States into Canada. Leather, copper, tools, stones and shells are traded and used for personal ornamentation and utility.
Average temperature is slightly cooler than previous periods. Forests dominated by oak and hickory trees cover the landscape.
Due to the closeness of their settlements to water, fish and shellfish are most likely a staple food source. Hunting and gathering continues to be the dominant method of obtaining food. Evidence from storage pits shows that the people are eating dehydrated fish, meats, nuts and seeds.
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