A very strong social structure is apparent in the Late Woodland period. The introduction of farming allows family units to start establishing settlements, abandoning the migratory way of life. In response to this change, populations increase. All of these factors lead to an increased social hierarchy. Pottery designs and shapes change significantly during this period. Trade persists during this time, and appears to be peaceable. Durable bark lodges are built in settlements for permanent housing and for food storage. After European contact, some settlements are surrounded by wooden walls or stockades. Evidence also shows an increase in spiritual and healing practices. Although it may have been practiced in the past, this is the first time period where self ornamentation is documented. In addition, miniature tools and utensils are constructed for children as toys.
The climate is similar to present day. The landscape is covered by dense forests dominated by chestnut trees. These thick chestnut forests provide building material for houses and canoes and more importantly they provide nuts for food. White- tail deer, turkeys, geese and ducks inhabit the forests.
The Late Woodland is distinguished from all other periods by the advent of garden farming in the northeast. The staple crops include corn ( maize), beans, and squash. Farming is not the primary source of food. Instead, these crops supplement a diet that still relies heavily on the resources obtained through hunting, fishing and gathering. Bows and arrows are now the dominant hunting weapon, moving away from the traditional spear. Chestnuts are a very important dietary staple at this time which were extensively gathered and stored.
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