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Encyclopedia > Paleo Indians

Paleo-Indians is an English term used to refer to the ancient peoples of America who were present at the end of the last Ice Age. The prefix 'paleo' comes from the Greek palaios meaning ancient, and is used in the word 'paleolithic', ancient stone, and refers to the Upper Paleolithic time period. They have also been referred to as Clovis people in North American archaeological literature; however, there is now evidence that there were several other pre-Clovis Paleo Indian cultures also. Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400 000 years For the animated movie, see Ice Age (movie). ... The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic (Greek παλαιός paleos=old and λίθος lithos=stone or the Old Stone Age) was the first period in the development of human technology of the Stone Age. ... The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. ... The Clovis culture is a prehistoric Native American culture that first appears in the archaeological record of North America around 13,500 years ago, at the end of the last ice age. ...

Paleo-Indians are believed to be the first people to have inhabited a large number of areas in the Americas, though there is now some doubt as to whether they were the first inhabitants of the continent as a whole. The current prevailing theory postulates that Paleo-Indians entered the Americas from Asia via a theoretical land bridge (see also Beringia) connecting eastern Siberia with present-day Alaska when sea levels were significantly lower because of widespread glaciation between about 15,000 to 35,000 years ago. However, evidence suggestive of even earlier human occupation in South America has generated an alternative theory that Paleo-Indians, or at least some groups of them, may have come from the Pacific Islands or mainland Asia by boat. World map showing Asia. ... Land bridge is essentially a historical term; it refers to dry land exposed during periods of low sea level (see regression), connecting what are now separate continents or islands. ... The Bering land bridge, also known as Beringia, was a land bridge roughly 1600 km (1000 miles) north to south at its greatest extent, which joined present-day Alaska and eastern Siberia at various times during the ice ages. ... Siberia Siberia (Russian: , common English transliterations: Sibir’, Sibir; from the Tatar for “sleeping land”) is a vast region of Russia and northern Kazakhstan constituting almost all of northern Asia. ... State nickname: The Last Frontier, The Land of the Midnight Sun Official languages English Capital Juneau Largest city Anchorage Governor Frank Murkowski (R) Senators Ted Stevens (R) Lisa Murkowski (R) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 1st 663,267 mi² / 1,717,854 km² 13. ... The Pacific Ocean has an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 islands; the exact number has not been precisely determined. ...

Paleo-Indians are believed to have been nomadic hunter-gatherers whose following of animal migrations dictated where they camped. As the glaciers that covered much of North America receded in the warming climate following the most recent glacial maximum, tundra foliage was the main plant-growth. Paleo-Indians primarily hunted mastodons and mammoths, as well as prehistoric bear, bison, and caribou, all large animals which were able to live on the tundra. The Paleo-Indians are known to have hunted with both fluted stone-pointed wooden lancing spears and shorter spears that they would throw using an atlatl; they probably also foraged for edible plants. Communities of nomadic people move from place to place, rather than settling down in one location. ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ... The term camp—normally used as an adjective, even though earliest recorded uses employed it mainly as a verb—refers to the deliberate and sophisticated use of kitsch, mawkish or corny themes and styles in art, clothing or conversation. ... Aletsch glacier, Switzerland A glacier is a large, long-lasting river of ice that is formed on land and moves in response to gravity. ... World map showing North America A satellite composite image of North America North America is a continent in the northern hemisphere bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the Caribbean Sea, and on the west by the... In physical geography, tundra is an area where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. ... A Mastodon skeleton in museum in Bismarck, North Dakota. ... This article is about the extinct mammal. ... Binomial name Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller, 1794 The Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus) was a species of bear which lived in Europe during the Pleistocene and became extinct at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago. ... Species B. bison B. bonasus B. priscus A North American bison Bison is a taxonomic genus containing six species of large even-toed ungulates within the subfamily Bovinae. ... Binomial name Rangifer tarandus The reindeer, known as caribou in North America, is an Arctic-dwelling deer (Rangifer tarandus). ... The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. ... Hunting spear and knife, from Mesa Verde National Park. ... The atlatl (pronounced ät-lät-ŭl), or spear thrower, is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in spear-throwing, and includes a bearing surface which allows the user to temporarily store elastic energy during the throw. ... Forage is the herbaceous plant material (mainly grasses and legumes) eaten by grazing animals. ...

Paleo-Indians likely traveled in small groups of approximately 20 or 50 members of an extended family. Archaeological evidence of particular kinds of fluted-stone have been uncovered, suggesting trade occurred between such groups. Extended family is a term with several distinct meanings. ...

Archaic stage Indians of the Americas are believed to be direct descendants of Paleo-Indians. In the sequence of North American cultural stages first proposed by Gordon Willey and Phillip Phillips in 1958, the Archaic stage was the second period of human occupation in the Americas, from around 8000 BC to 1000 BC although as its ending is defined by the adoption of sedentary farming...

See also

The Clovis culture is a prehistoric Native American culture that first appears in the archaeological record of North America around 13,500 years ago, at the end of the last ice age. ...

External links

  • Smithsonian Institute: Paleoamerican Origins
  • Possible pre-Clovis Site in Ohio

  Results from FactBites:
The history of American Indians (315 words)
Although most American Indians claim to have lived on their territory since the beginning of time, some would claim that they migrated here in prehistoric times by way of the Bering Strait Land Bridge.
Indians were suddenly forced off of their land and made to relocate.
While the number of American Indians still living today is much fewer than it was centuries ago, their people still remain strong and proud of who they are and what they have become.
Connecticut's Heritage Gateway (2006 words)
Because the Indians had no written language and were overwhelmed so quickly by the Europeans in Connecticut, the actual social, political, economic, and religious life of the people is known only vaguely and is strongly biased by unsympathetic European observers.
It is a popular misconception that Connecticut Indian culture included long, flowing headdresses, horses, and tepees before the Europeans arrived in the early 1600s.
One way in which Indians in contemporary Connecticut attempt to maintain a link with their heritage is to practice native crafts such as basketry, finger-weaving, beadwork, carving, and ceramics using natural materials and authentic techniques.
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