ATH 242-01

*** VIDEO, cont’d: The Peopling of the Americas/Clovis Points (NOVA)

Paleo-indians in Eastern North America

  • more diverse environment = more diverse adaptations
  • more and larger sites than West
  • more variation in point styles (regional traditions)
  • in North, tundra & coniferous forests
  • in South, deciduous forest by 10,000 BP

Paleo-Indians in Ohio

  • sites date to around 9300-8000 BCE
  • hunting using bi-fluted points similar to Clovis
  • probably also foraged & gathered
  • small mobile bands of closely-related individuals
  • sites generally along bluffs or terraces
  • re-use of various sites
  • mostly lithic materials preserved

Sheriden Cave (Wyandot Co OH)

  • flat-headed peccary
  • long-nosed peccary


  • area where major biotic provinces meet
  • forest/tundra ecotone ideal for hunting
    • caribou
    • bison

Vail site (Oxford Co., ME)

  • First paleoindian site discovered in ME
  • refit at least 5 points from campsite to kill sites

Nobles Pond (Stark Co. OH)

  • 11 clusters of artifacts (one of largest paelo-indian sites in East)
  • four clusters form semi-circle
  • 53 points, 1500 endscrapers
  • high quality flint from 100km away
  • aggregation of groups over time

Embedded procurement

  • raw materials acquired at no real “cost”
    • stopping by the quarry for raw material on the way to fishing hole

Disembedded procurement

  • raw materials are aquired at a “cost”
    • going directly to the quarry to acquire raw material, stopping at Nobles Pond to exchange material

Archaic Period Cultures

  • long believed to be generalized hunting and gathering
  • often identified as what it is not:
    • not complex society
    • not sedentary
    • no pottery
    • non agricultural
    • non mound-builders
  • “The Archaic time period represents a monotonous cultural pattern…essentially boring…studying it is an investigation in minutiae…” Olaf

Why study something so bland?

  • represents a long time period
  • lasts as long as all the other cultural periods combined
  • adaptations must have been incredibly successful to last so long
  • Early Archaic: 8000-6000 BCE
  • Middle Archaic: 6000-4000 BCE
  • Late Archaic: 4000-1000 BCE
  • climate change
  • hunting strategy change
  • size of groups roughly the same
  • utilization of resources (types of artifacts)

Early Archaic Cultures (8000-6000 BCE)

  • general warming and drying trend
  • forests change from spruce to hardwood
  • avoid hilly parts of Ohio
  • visit specific sites over and over
  • points heavily used and recycled
  • visiting stone quarries every 2.3 years
  • caribou in west, white-tailed deer in east
  • hickory nut resources exploited

Middle Archaic Cultures (6000-4000 BCE)

  • environmental uncertainty
  • population apparently down 80%
  • possibly migrated out of Ohio
  • possibly migrated to Eastern Ohio
  • 209 Archaic radiocarbon dates show 1500 year gap in Middle Archaic

Late Archaic Cultures (4000-1000 BCE)

  • increasing environmental stability
  • population rebound
  • increasing social complexity
  • beginning of regionalization
  • rise of sedentism
  • forest maintenance?
  • horticultural beginnings
  • pottery making
  • burials (Williams cemetery, Sidecut Cemetery 600-1000 individuals)

Archaic Period Artifacts

  • projectile points
    • NOT fluted like Clovis points, corner/side notched instead
  • bannerstones
  • pestles
  • woodworking tools
  • tubular pipes
  • copper utilitarian artifacts

Early Woodland (1000 BCE)

  • Eastern US, 3 cultural elements coalesce
    • food production
    • mound building
    • pottery manufacture
  • Early Woodland begins @ 1000 BCE, but core practices are not necessarily widespread until 500 BCE

The Woodland Period in Ohio

  • three parts
    • Early Woodland (1000 BCE – AD 50)
    • Middle Woodland (AD 50 – AD 450)
    • Late Woodland (AD 450 – AD 1000)
  • developmental threads run through these periods
  • there are other area where cultures never evolved beyond Woodland
  • dynamic regional diversity

Food production

  • growing importance on seed-bearing plants
  • eastern agricultural complex
    • maygrass, amaranth, sunflower, sumpweed, chenopodium
  • modification of seed morphology
  • horticulture, not agriculture
  • plants supplement hunting and gathering
  • maize present, but not used as staple food


  • Hebrew word for “Beautiful Land”
  • centers of activity in s. Ohio and Kanawha River Valley of WV
  • also in KY, w. PA and IN
  • arises sometime around 1000-500 BC
  • “Adena” describes mortuary customs, not a way of life

Adena Economy

  • lack of domestic sites discovered
  • EAC plants documented at some sites
  • hunting and gathering of major importance

Adena Settlement

  • few examples of “villages”
  • structures under mounds
  • settlements probably scattered/dispersed

Adena Mortuary Customs

  • emphasize individual leaders
  • evidence for exchange
  • thousands of small burial mounds
    • conical in shape
    • elevated spots
    • formed accretionally
    • log tombs
    • lots of extended burials, a few cremations
    • Vertical cemeteries
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