The Middle to Late Woodland Transition
(1,500 to 1,200 years ago)
Burial practices changed drastically as the Middle Woodland drew to a close. The bow and arrow was introduced into Wisconsin and advances in ceramic technology led to the introduction of fine pottery. People began experimenting with the shapes of burial mounds—connecting dome-shaped mounds in chains or with long embankments, or adding long extensions to one or more sides of a mound.
This transition is not well documented in Wisconsin. Only one site, a mound burial at Rehbein in Richland County, has been dated to this period. Several contemporary burial sites have been excavated just across the Mississippi River in Iowa. Excavations in mounds there yielded burials accompanied by small copper ornaments, pottery elbow pipes, arrow points and cooking pots. The mounds were built over scraped surfaces and contained inner mound cores that were topped with stone paving or earth mixed with ash, charcoal and burned stone. Extended and bundle burials were placed in sub-floor graves and pits excavated into the mound cores. Graves dating to this period have also been found dug into older mounds.