Many Adena mounds cover the remains of large buildings as well as burials. Because the Adena people dismantled or burned down these structures before building their mounds, the only evidence of their existence are the filled-in holes where the wall posts and roof supports once stood. By careful excavation and observation of changes in soil color and texture, archaeologists can detect these post holes. The buildings were round with single posts (early Adena) or pairs of posts (late Adena) spaced at regular intervals. Often, the wall posts were not set straight up and down, but were angled out at the top. Perhaps this protected the base of the walls from rotting. Other vertical posts near the center of the structure may have been roof supports. Post holes are useful for determining the width of the structure and the size of the wall posts. They do not, however, indicate the height of the walls, the height or pitch of the roof, or the materials with which the walls and roof were covered.
The size of Adena buildings found under mounds varies greatly. Most are from 15 to 60 feet across; some exceed 90 feet. It is possible that the largest were not covered by a roof, but were circular fenced areas open to the sky. Others may have been charnel houses built especially for funerals. Some of the smaller structures may have been dwellings lived in until a family member died and was buried in the floor. The building then was demolished and a mound built over it.
Image Number: 0A adena house replica thumbnail jpg