Funeral Processions

5b.12 Funeral Processions

Funeral Processions

Funerals, especially for persons with high social status, were major events at most Hopewell earthwork complexes. In this drawing, the procession is a group of mourners carrying the body of a kinswoman to the charnel house for burial. The body is covered with a finely woven cloth painted with designs. The mourners have arranged their hair in special styles. Many have painted their bodies. Some carry objects that belonged to the woman. These objects will be buried with her as a sign of her social position.

A shaman, wearing the bear skin robe that confirms his connections with the spirit world, will preside at the ceremony. One man blows a bone whistle, perhaps to accompany chanting. The figures, their clothing, body paint, and accessories are based on objects found in Hopewell sites in Ohio and Illinois.

Inside the charnel house, the body of the deceased will rest in a log tomb. After arranging more logs across the top of the tomb, the attendants will cover it with a low mound of earth.

Image Number: MPOpg39_HopewellFuneral