6123 St. Rt. 350
Managed on behalf of the Ohio History Connection
Support Fort Ancient... Make a Donation Today!
Page 2 of 6
Archaic 8000 - 1000 BC
Archaic people were highly mobile, but probably spent most of their time living within a loosely defined home territory. Their tool kit included many of the same tools found in the Paleoindian period, but without the distinctive fluted points used by the earlier hunters. Spear points were typically long and broad and they used atlatls to throw their spears. Towards the end of the Archaic period, mysterious ground stone objects were manufactured from slate. Many archaeologists suspect that some of these objects, often called “bannerstones,” “pendants,” or “gorgets,” are counterweights that were attached to atlatls.
In the Middle and Late Archaic, other new tools were introduced. These include the earliest axes, which are suggestive of the increasing importance of trees and nuts in the Archaic economy. Plummets and “net-sinkers” may represent a similar growing emphasis on aquatic resources such as fish and shellfish. Heavy stone bowls are rarely found, but show evidence for the processing of seeds or nuts. In general, the Archaic economy is remarkable for its diversity on a wide range of natural resources, which was an effective long-term adaptation to a changing environment. Archaic people were the first to experiment with growing food sources, including squash, sunflower, and marsh elder.
Small Archaic campsites are common, especially in the Early and Late Archaic. Most represent brief, single-use campsites, but there are a few larger settlements with hearths, earth ovens, deep storage pits and middens. The Archaic people typically buried their dead in the vicinity of large camp sites to which they regularly returned each year. Burials indicate a division of labor and social status. Some men were buried with stone spear points and hunting equipment while women were buried with bone awls, needles, and stone scrapers. Goods from distance regions appear in burials as well – flint from Indiana, copper from Lake Superior region, and shells from the Atlantic and Gulf Coast. Not all people were treated equally in death, indicating that status was achieved by personal accomplishments, not by heredity.
©2013 Fort Ancient. All Rights Reserved.