This article reports on our assessment of the events that resulted in Mound 2 at the Hopewell Earthworks, with a special focus on its two caches of blue-gray chert bifaces. Our analysis begins by examining the ritual practices associated with Mound 2, including the evidence for fire ceremonialism, extended burial regimes, and the ceremonial deposition of two biface caches. Initially, we focus on evidence of Scioto Hopewell fire ceremonialism on the lower floor under Mound 2, including the significance of the basin-shaped hearth found next to the lower cache of bifaces and several features that contained puddled-clay hearth fragments. We then examine the five burials found under Hopewell Mound 2, considering their grave goods and mortuary furniture. Next, we analyze the two biface caches and their resemblance to similar deposits. We also provide a preliminary assessment of the chert sources from which these bifaces were produced based on a reflectance spectroscopic analysis of 172 bifaces. Our subsequent discussion considers the historical intersection of these three aspects of Hopewell Mound 2 (i.e., fire ceremonialism, biface caches, and burials), including how Middle Woodland ceremonial situations gathered together and arranged increasingly complex assemblages in novel ways.

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