The diet of the Woodland Indians consisted of fish and the results of their gardening, wild plant gathering, trapping and hunting catches. Corn had been an agricultural crop in Central America for centuries before it found its way into North America, and by around 500 A.D., the Woodland Indians also began cultivating it. As they developed better methods of food storage to last them through the leaner months, the Woodland Indians began storing food staples, such as the wild nuts they gathered and the corn they grew, in specialized covered pits which were dug into dry rock shelters.
As crop-raising began to replace hunting and gathering, the Woodland Indians devised new forms of pottery to cook and prepare foods. The newly domesticated grains required specialized vessels to be cooked into stews and porridges. A wide variety of pottery vessels made of fired clay were soon developed. The craft of making the vessels eventually became more artistic, and the variety of its artifacts survived as an archaeological record of Woodland Indian life and culture.
Deer and elk meat were obtained from hunting, and a variety of wild fruits and nuts were the result of gathering efforts. In addition to corn, Woodland Indians grew barley, maygrass and squash.