Deluge of Atlantis

Deluge of Atlantis
Deluge of Atlantis

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

American Archaics

Map of Archaic or  "Meso-Indian" cultures at about 2000 BC, toward the end of the Archaic period. The Archaics begin at the end of the Paleoindian period and include equivalents of both the Old-World Mesolithic and the Neolithic. From Wikipedia, Amended.

Archaic period in the Americas

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In the sequence of North American pre-Columbian cultural stages first proposed by Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips in 1958,[1] the Archaic stage or "Meso-Indian period"[2] was the second period of human occupation in the Americas, from around 8000 to 2000 BC. As its ending is defined by the adoption of sedentary farming, this date can vary "significantly across the Americas".
The Archaic period followed the Lithic stage and was superseded by the Formative stage.[3]
  1. The Lithic stage
  2. The Archaic stage
  3. The Formative stage
  4. The Classic stage
  5. The Post-Classic stage
The Archaic stage is characterized by subsistence economies supported through the exploitation of nuts, seeds and shellfish. Numerous local variations have been identified. The period has been subdivided by region and then time. For instance, the Archaic Southwest tradition is subdivided into the Dieguito-Pinto, Oshara, Cochise and Chihuahua cultures.[4]
Since the 1990s, secure dating of multiple Middle Archaic sites in northern Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida have challenged traditional models of development, as hunter-gatherer societies in the Lower Mississippi Valley organized to build monumental mound complexes as early as 3500 BCE (confirmed at Watson Brake), with building continuing over a period of 500 years. Such early mound sites as Frenchman's Bend and Hedgepeth were of this time period; all were localized societies. Watson Brake is now considered the oldest mound complex in the Americas[5], preceding that built at Poverty Point (both are in northern Louisiana) by nearly 2,000 years. More than 100 sites have been identified as associated with the regional Poverty Point culture of the Late Archaic period, and it was part of a regional trading network across the Southeast.
Across what is now the Southeastern United States, starting around 4000 BC, people exploited wetland resources, creating large shell middens. Middens developed along rivers, but there is limited evidence of Archaic peoples along coastlines prior to 3000 BC. Archaic sites on the coast may have been inundated by rising sea levels (one site in 15 to 20 feet of water off St. Lucie County, Florida has been dated to 2800 BC). Starting around 3000 BC evidence of large-scale exploitation of oysters appears. During the period 3000 BC to 1000 BC shell rings, large shell middens more or less surrounding open centers, developed along the coast of the Southeastern United States. These shell rings are numerous in South Carolina and Georgia, but are also found scattered around the Florida Peninsula and along the Gulf of Mexico coast as far west as the Pearl River. In some places, such as Horr's Island in Southwest Florida, resources were rich enough to support sizable mound-building communities year-round. Four shell and/or sand mounds on Horr's Island have been dated to between 4870 and 4270 Before Present (BP)[6][7]
See also

  • Archaeology of the Americas
  • Archaic–Early Basketmaker Era
  • List of pre-Columbian cultures
  • List of archaeological periods (North America)
  • Prehistoric Southwestern Cultural Divisions (North America)
  • Pre-Columbian South America
  • References

    1. ^ Willey, Gordon R. (1989). "Gordon Willey". In Glyn Edmund Daniel and Christopher Chippindale (eds.). The Pastmasters: Eleven Modern Pioneers of Archaeology: V. Gordon Childe, Stuart Piggott, Charles Phillips, Christopher Hawkes, Seton Lloyd, Robert J. Braidwood, Gordon R. Willey, C.J. Becker, Sigfried J. De Laet, J. Desmond Clark, D.J. Mulvaney. New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05051-1. OCLC 19750309.
    2. ^ Gordon R. Willey and Philip Phillips (1957). Method and Theory in American Archaeology. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-89888-9.
    3. ^ "Method and Theory in American Archaeology" (Digitised online by Questia Media). Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips. University of Chicago. 1958. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
    4. ^ "Archaic Period, Southeast Archaeological Center". Retrieved 2004-11-28.
    5. ^ Joe W. Saunders*, Rolfe D. Mandel, Roger T. Saucier, E. Thurman Allen, C. T. Hallmark, Jay K. Johnson, Edwin H. Jackson, Charles M. Allen, Gary L. Stringer, Douglas S. Frink, James K. Feathers, Stephen Williams, Kristen J. Gremillion, Malcolm F. Vidrine, and Reca Jones, "A Mound Complex in Louisiana at 5400-5000 Years Before the Present", Science, 19 September 1997: Vol. 277 no. 5333, pp. 1796-1799, accessed 27 October 2011
    6. ^ Milanich:84-85, 90, 95
    7. ^ Russo, Michael. "Archaic Shell Rings of the Southeast U. S.". National Park Service. pp. 10, 27. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
    • Milanich, Jerald T. (1994). Archaeology of Precolumbian Florida. Gainesville, Florida: The University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1273-2.

    Archaic Period: 8,000 B.C. to 1,000 B.C.

    (Ten thousand to three thousand years ago)

    As food gathering became more efficient, Archaic Indians were able to develop more sophisticated tools, including the atlatl for hunting and weighted nets for fishing. Mega fauna such as the woolly mammoth became extinct, and smaller animals like the white-tailed deer became an important source of food.
    In the late Archaic Period, Indians began to cultivate plants such as marsh elder, lambsquarters, sunflowers, pigweed, and some native squash [same species as pumpkins]. From the southern Americas, the bottle gourd and the squash were introduced.
    [These plants were being cultivated by 5000 BC, 7000 years ago according to a review article I just consulted: and plants such as the Chenopodium such as lamb's quarters and quinoa are known to have been used since 8500 BC. It is not exactly known for certain when regular cultivation began, but cultivation of Chenopodium was much more important in Peru and Mesoamerica than is generally realized. And plants such as marsh elder or sumpweed were definitely modified by long periods of cultivation because the size of the seeds and the number of seeds produced by each individual plant increased dramatically, something like tenfold. It is thought that the introduction of Indian corn (Maize) quickly supplanted such plants as sumpweed because it lacked some of the disadvantages of sumpweed-an unpleasant smell, and pollen that can cause violent allergic reactions.Somewhere also along the line, sunflowers worked their way down to South America as well, so we know exchanges of crops worked both ways.-DD]

    Skull of the Archaic type in Eastern USA,

    "Minnesota Woman" (Reported as Paleoindian but circumstances indicate a burial with grave goods.) Same Cromagnon like type as the previous Paleoindians, though.
    "Indian Village Pomeiooc"
    Palisaided village derived from Archaic originals, common in Eastern USA and simuilar to Arawak type of settlements in the West Indies and Amazon region, a variation on the circular-settlement arrangement. Archaic people also built "Shell-ring" structures as noted in the Wikipedia entry. The point I'm trying to get across is that the Mesolithic period was much the same on both sides of the Atlantic since the end of the Ice Age, and it began along the coastlines with a striong interest in exploiting marine resources, marine mammals and shellfish; and it included a beginning for systematically regulating plantt crops and hence the beginnings of the true Neolithic. Owning to different local circumstances the plants which ended up being domesticated varied from area to area but there is a common thread of cucurbits and bottlegourds,beans, barley and other grains, non-grain seed crops such as quinoa and root crops such as arrowroots and sweet potatoes. This sounds line a plausible transposition of the way of life from Atlantis and corresponds to Plato's descriptionin its key points. Its association with circular settlements also is reminiscent of Atlantis: and on both sides of the Atlantic you get the continuity of the way of life from ten thousand years ago right up to 1000 BC, and up to even recent times in some areas. Best Wishes, Dale D.


    1. Thank you, Dale. Interesting article. Do you have any idea which group is attributed with megalithic constructions in New Jersey?

    2. I can get you pdfs on the New Jersey Archaic if you like.

      Toward the end of the New Jersey archaic there was increased trade activity in the Mid-atlantic region with a lot of steatite (soapstone) being shipped around and carved into bowls and the like: the source is in Pennysylvania. The culture at this time is different from earlier cultures and it will be different again in the following Woodlands period. This Transitional period is marked by a larger, more robust type of spearhead (broadspears) which may indicate beefed-up security forces to back up the traders: and the first evidence of burial ceremonialism turn up at that time. For this last reason I suspect that thee could be a Megalithic connection there. This would be in the vicinity of 2000-2500 and up to 1000 BC. Soapstone would not be the only thing being traded but it seems in this area it was the most valuable resource at the time.

      Incidentally the Old Copper Culture is part of the Archaic around the Great Lakes and this article was meant as a preparation to the Old Copper Culture (and Lake Superior Coppermining)article meant to come next after it.

      Best Wishes, Dale D.


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