11,000 to 5,500BP : Late Paleo to Middle Archaic



  Scottsbluff Point



       The Holocene Period began around 11,000 years ago. The southern edge of the

Laurentide ice sheet was south of Chicago and coniferous forest existed here. A mass

extinction occurs at the beginning removing the mammoth, mastodon, camel, horse, and long-

horned bison with the glaciers and their effects. Dalton point types were in style through

much of the central and eastern U.S. between 11,000 and 9,900 BP. The carbonized

nutshells of shagbark-hickory (Carya ovata), black walnut (Juglans nigra), and hazelnut

(Corylus americana) found in their firepits show their use by these people. A severe

drought hit the region around 10,900 BP. Agate Basin and Hell Gap points came into use

around 10,500 years ago. From 10,050-9,550 the pre-Boreal climate supported essentially

modern plants and animals. By 10,000 BP the wooly mammoth was extinct, the

Laurentide ice sheet existed above Lake Superior, deciduous forests of oak and hickory

dominated this area, wheat and pigs were being domesticated in the Middle East and Turkey,

respectively, and copper was being first formed into objects - beads, pins, and awls in

Turkey and Iran. Rice lanceolate and Hardin barbed points may have been in use in this area

as early as 9800 BP. The Hale-Bopp comet flew by around 9600 BP, and the Boreal climatic

episode which began slightly cooler and moister but soon became warmer and drier, ran

from 9550-8550 BP. Grasses, oak, hickory, ash, and elm were prominent during the Boreal.

     The Early Archaic Period begins around 9,500 years ago here. Early Archaic peoples are

known to have lived in and around a rock shelter at Breckenridge in northwest Arkansas,

at Albertson shelter in Benton Co., Arkansas, and in the Shoal Creek valley in Newton Co.,

Missouri. The lanceolate point tradition was still strong 9,500 years ago, as attested to

by the introduction of late Dalton forms such as Beaver Lake, and the Scottsbluff and

Eden point types, but the variability of these apparently put ideas into peoples heads as

the early notched varieties of Thebes and Calf Creek appeared then as did the contractile

stemmed Hidden Valley type. My daughter was lucky enough to find a Scottsbluff point in

excellent condition in Neosho, Missouri, which was probably moved in loam cover soil from

the Shoal Creek valley nearby.

     Around 9,000 years ago, agriculture developed in the Fertile Crescent which, in turn,

produced a population explosion from which people poured out in all directions. Human

head lice is known to have been a problem then in the Middle East. The Hypsithermal, an

increased flow of dry, westerly winds in the Pacific airmass, crossed North America from

9,000-5,000 BP. The lanceolate Angostura, Rice lobed, and the side notched Big Sandy and

Graham Cave point types appear around 9,000 BP, as did the crescent knife. The Atlantic

climatic episode, which was hotter and drier than the Boreal, held sway from 8550-5050

BP, and pollen profiles show their driest period of the times between 8750 and 6550 BP.

Around 8500 BP, four dogs were carefully buried in the Illinois River valley, and fiber

sandals dated between 8375 - 7725 BP were worn in Missouri. Around 8000 BP, the comet,

Hyakutake, probably gave people something to talk about, and around 7900 BP, some people

in Jordan were playing games on a limestone game board. Around 7700 BP, Crater Lake in

southern Oregon was created by eruption. By 7500 BP, Godar points may have been in use in

this area.

       7,000 years ago, the earliest villages in the Egyptian delta were being formed, the

Saharan rock art was created, the Chinchorro people of Chile began their society which

practiced mummification, humans first arrived on Cuba, the earliest Balkan copper mining

begins, and Alpine man domesticates dogs, cattle, sheep, goats,and pigs. Also around 7000

BP, maize may have first been produced in Mexico by cross-breeding grass with tripsacum

and teosinte. The smelting of copper occurred as early as 6500 BP at Israel and West Jordan

sites, and in central Europe by 6000 BP. The Copper Age produced the first plows and

wheeled carts. Around 6000 BP, boxing was practiced as a sport in the Nile Valley.

     The Middle Archaic began around 7000 BP. In this section, over 10 occupational sites

are recorded. They are mainly on Grand River, Shoal Creek, White River and their tributaries,

Honey Creek and Capps Creek. Between 6300 - 3000 BP, the rate of sedimentation had dropped

to about 1.9 cm/100 years. The Middle Archaic experienced severe, recurrent droughts,

accelerated erosion, and windblown sediment deposition. Possibly these mid-Holocene

conditions induced the significant decrease to modern sizes in the gray squirrel (Sciurus

carolinensis) and the cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus).

     Bluff shelters appear to have been the primary means of protection from the elements,

including the Smith bluff shelters I and II in Delaware Co., Oklahoma. This areas occupation

is referred to as the Grove focus, with phases A and B pertaining to the Early to Middle

Archaic Periods. They possessed woodworking tools such as celts, full grooved axes, and

double-bitted chipped stone axes; stoneworking tools of antler, stone, and hide for knapping

and grinding; multipurpose tools for wood, hide, shell, bone, and food, such as drills, knives,

awls, and scrapers; hunting tools of spear shaft and points, with Jakie Stemmed becoming

popular around 7000 BP, possibly atlatls and bolas, probably traps and bags; household

equipment of cradles, baskets, turtle shell bowls, woven bags, mats, sandals, etc., and

adornments such as feather robes, and shell beads. Manos and metates and nutting stones

were used to grind and crack nuts, grain, ocher, and probably other pigments, and the shell

hoe made its initial appearance. Burials were typically partial or fully flexed primary

inhumations placed either on the side or back, and grave goods, though scarce, included

shell beads, tools, and red ocher. Prairie bison, pronghorn antelope, wild turkey, jackrabbit,

prairie chicken, raccoon, badger, oppossum, deer, cottontail rabbit, gray squirrel, fish,

shellfish, nuts, grains, fruits and berries were probable staples.            






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