chapter  2
18 Pages

The Archaic Period: 7000–1000 bce

WithAlice Beck Kehoe

Archaeologists’ Archaic period is the era of slowly stabilizing regional cultural patterns, culminating in economies based on techniques of intensified food production. By the Late Archaic, a few unusual plants – notably maize – passed beyond their natural habitats to be widely grown as domesticates. The view can be taken that with the disappearance of the Pleistocene “mosaic” pattern of varied plant-animal ecologies, humans modified the Holocene “stripe” zones by experiments to manage natural resources, including importing alien plants into habitats. Archaeologists noticed that fluted stone blades – Clovis and Folsom types – seemed not to have been made in the Holocene. It may be that tongue-in-groove hafting of spear blade to shaft was needed only for megafauna, and once mammoths and giant bison were gone, it was enough to secure blades in spear shafts by binding thinned or narrowed bases into slots in the shafts.