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Research Related to Indigenous Peoples Of The So Called Americas

This is an attempt at documenting a full chronology of the so called "Americas" up to 500000 years ago. Below is a timeline for the entire continent not constrained to any particular modern day country -- because modern day country borders are completely artificial and lifeless. Modern borders take no account of how people live on the geography of the Earth, they were established by colonization by extractive empire which set the course for the destruction of countless ecosystems and ways of life.

Any Wikipedia articles are placeholders until more research is done to gather primary and secondary sources.

If you've benefitted from this document, please consider tipping me.

Overview of Current Lands of Indigenous People

The Native Land web app is currently what seems to best represent the boundaries of indigenous nations. However, as it says on it's disclaimer -- it's not actually authoritative, nor does it actually necessarily represent the boundaries at any particular time in history, nor does it necessarily have all tribal lands represented.

Can scientists repair their relationship with Native people as they probe the past?

  • Curry, A. (2022) Can scientists repair their relationship with Native people as they probe the past? Science. 8 February.
    • Many scientists pursuing the question acknowledge that too often, they have not included Native American perspectives in their approach or gotten full, informed permission to research Native remains, artifacts, or genes. But a new generation is working to change that. Science talked with paleogeneticist Jennifer Raff of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, who critiques some genetic approaches in her book Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas, published today, and with archaeologist Joe Watkins. Watkins, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is the immediate past president of the Society for American Archaeology and a consultant at Archaeological and Cultural Education Consultants in Tucson, Arizona.

Authority of Indigenous Histories

In many cases the histories passed down by indigenous peoples contain many truths and actual historical fact. For example, the aboriginal stories of islands being lost matches up with the end of the LGM at 10000 years ago. Shortly after then, the water contained in the glaciers was emptied out into the oceans causing the oceans to rise approximately 60 meters. The islands were submerged from then on.

Origin of Modern Humans and other Necessary Background

Humans have a very messy story of migration and intermingling with other varieties of our family tree. We are starting to untangle the story. However, it is necessary to have a picture of what the research currently looks like for the origins of modern humans.

  • Somewhere around 400,000 - 300,000 thousand years ago modern humans appeared in the northern part of Africa and in the Middle East.
  • During the next 200,000 years modern humans migrated south through Africa and most likely interbred with our existing relatives already in the continent.
  • Humans and hominids came across from Eurasia multiple times, seemingly three times by land and one or more times by water. (Part of me wonders if there couldn't be multiple lines of hominid evolution outside of Africa that made it to North America before 150000 BCE and persisted along submerged coastal regions — this is of course crazy talk, but I do wonder.)
  • 70,000 years ago, a large group left Africa and traveled through SE Asia and Indonesia and down into Australia (or just sailed over there).
  • Many more migrations in different areas and directions occurred. These migrations likely encountered more of our genetic relatives and we likely interbred with them.
  • Humans were present in the Americas since at least 30000 BCE.
  • Once the ice free corridor opened up, gene flow moved from North America back to Beringia. There are still detectable North American genetic traces in Sakha (Yakut).
  • There are traces of Australasian ancestry in South America up through Mexico that date back to about 10,000 years ago.
  • Around 500-800 CE, Native Americans from Ecuador traveled with Polynesians back to Rapa Nui. There is genetic evidence of this, plus this is likely when Polynesia got the sweet potato and why it uses the same word for sweet potato as the Indigenous peoples of Ecuador. It's entirely possible that this happened before or that people also moved and traded between the west coast of the Americas for thousands of years before colonization.


Moved to the Genetics page.

Also see the Languages repository.

Overview of Migration Theories

Bear in mind, these are just theories and every Indigenous culture will have their own beliefs and knowledge of their origin. Many of these theories tend to only allow about 13K years of history, which contradicts native stories and physical evidence that is "pre-clovis" (including newly discovered footprints that are about 20K years old). The actual picture is likely much more detailed and complicated than any scientist will be able to fathom on their own.

In addition to this list, there's the Earth Science, Megafuana, Horses, Population Growth, & Economics page which can provide helpful context.

Additional Resources

Great American Biotic Interchange (2500000 BCE - 10000 BCE)

Jaguars migrate to the Americas and split into their current lineages (850000 YBP - 830000 YPB)

Jaguars and the House of the Jaguar

Jaguars have a interesting culture and the House of the Jaguar followed from what Indigenous people learned about these beautiful animals.

Asian and North American Hops and Menispermum Diversify (900000 YBP - 280000 YBP)

Intriguingly, these are plants that seem to have diversified by being transported over large distances during various ice ages. Hops seems to have moved from Asia to North America and started differentiating, while Menispernum seems to have migrated from North America to Eastern Asia around the same time jaguars split into their current linages

Hominids had spread to Luzon, Phillipines (777000 BCE - 631000 BCE)

  • Ingicco, T., van den Bergh, G. D., Jago-On, C., Bahain, J. J., Chacón, M. G., Amano, N., ... & de Vos, J. (2018). Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago. Nature, 557(7704), 233-237.
    • These 40Ar/39Ar dates yielded an age for the formation of the volcanic plagioclase crystals. Quartz grains from the same two sandy units were also dated using the electron spin resonance (ESR) method18, and resulted in a maximum depositional date of 727±30 ka for unit A, and a minimum depositional date of 701±70 ka for unit G (1σ confidence interval; see Supplementary Information).

      To directly constrain the age of the rhinoceros skeleton and the cut marks, we applied ESR/uranium-series dating to the enamel of the rhinoceros’s right maxillary third premolar from the unit F bone bed. The tooth yielded an age of 709±68 thousand years (1σ confidence interval), which is in agreement with the ESR results on the quartz (Fig. 1, Extended Data Fig. 6, Extended Data Table 1, Supplementary Information and Supplementary Table 1).

    • Taken together with the ESR dating results, it follows that the rhinoceros skeleton was buried by a mudflow at least 631 ka.

    • Our excavations at Kalinga and the numeric dating results clearly provide securely dated evidence for human colonization of the Philippines by the early Middle Pleistocene epoch, and long before the appearance of modern humans in both the local context and wider Island South East Asia region21. Although the identity of these archaic toolmakers remains unknown, it is likely that they dispersed over at least one sea barrier to reach Luzon Island22. The most likely points of origin are Borneo through Palawan to the west, or China through Taiwan to the north, this latter island was connected to mainland Asia during periods with low sea levels23. The Middle Pleistocene fauna from the Awidon Mesa Formation contains a wider range of vertebrates than the Pleistocene faunas from two islands to the south of the Philippines that have both yielded evidence of the occupation by premodern humans, Sulawesi9 and Flores26 (Extended Data Fig. 9). Overseas dispersal throughout Wallacea of land mammals, including hominins, could have been primarily, although not exclusively, in a north to south direction, following the major surface current flow patterns.

    • Beyond the chronological gap that is yet to be filled, a question clearly linked to our discovery is the origin of the Callao Cave hominin that has been dated to 66.7±1 ka. This diminutive Callao hominin may represent a direct descendent from a Pleistocene migration stock related to these early Kalinga toolmakers—similar to what happened on Flores Island—or may be derived from a more recent migration wave of anatomically modern humans6,21,24,25.

    • Despite the current evidence, it still seems too farfetched to suggest that H. erectus, or another unknown Pleistocene ancestral candidate for the Kalinga toolmakers (for example, Denisovans27), were able to construct some sort of simple watercraft and deliberately cross sea barriers to reach these islands28. However, considering evidence of overseas dispersal during the Middle Pleistocene stage is increasing in number29,30, such a hypothesis cannot currently be rejected.

  • Greshko, M. (2018) 700,000-Year-Old Stone Tools Point to Mysterious Human Relative. National Geographic. 3 May.

Water crossing ability of Homo genus

  • Gaffney, D. (2021). Pleistocene water crossings and adaptive flexibility within the Homo genus. Journal of Archaeological Research, 29(2), 255-326.
    • In contrast, in a multispecies model proposed by Runnels (2014) in the Mediterranean and Bednarik (2003) in Wallacea, strategic, long-distance water crossings are viewed as distinctly within the capacity of not only H. sapiens but also H. neanderthalensis, H. heidelbergensis, H. erectus, and the ancestors of H. floresiensis. Erlandson (2001) demonstrates that aquatic resources, including fresh water, shellfish, fish, reptiles, and amphibians, have been important to our genus since the Plio-Pleistocene, and that hominins would have experimented with water crossings (even short river crossings) during any major dispersal around the planet. From this revisionist perspective (see Leppard 2015b), archipelagos are described as express highways rather than barriers. These models are ultimately borne from paradigmatic shifts in the late 20th century, which emphasized coastal and island adaptations in human migration narratives, especially as they pertain to the “southern dispersal route,” the rapid colonization of Sahul by H. sapiens, coastal occupation by H. neanderthalensis, and the peopling of the Americas (Bailey and Milner 2002).

    • Recent excavations on the north coast, along with genetic work, have pushed back our species, H. sapiens, to over 300,000 years ago (Hublin et al. 2017; Schlebusch et al. 2017), and there is substantial evidence throughout the continent for subsequent innovations such as pigment use (Watts et al. 2016), blade production (Wilkins and Chazan 2012), future planning (Texier et al. 2010), and marine shell ornamentation (d’Errico et al. 2009) thought to mark a stretching of behavioral plasticity.

    • H. erectus were present around Sunda since the Middle Pleistocene, probably arriving during one or more sea-level low stands, 1.8–1.74 million years ago. The paleoenvironmental record covering the time span of H. erectus in Southeast Asia (on Java 1.51 million years ago to 117,000–108,000 years ago, see Hyodo et al. 2011; Rizal et al. 2020) is poorly understood. However, there is growing evidence for occupation along lakeshores and in marshy areas within broader mosaic grassland and forest landscapes, particularly later in the record (Rabett 2017). Specifically, the Trinil and Sangiran H. erectus had access to near-coastal rivers, swamp forests, lagoons, lakes, and marshes with minor marine influences (Bettis et al. 2009). In these environments a wide array of easily caught near-shore fish species were present, and accumulations of Pseudodon and Elongaria shell may indicate predation by H. erectus (Joordens et al. 2009). Moreover, during times of insularization and increased precipitation (which typified MIS-60, MIS-40, MIS-22, MIS-12, and MIS-6), highly mobile hominins may have found themselves increasingly entering novel environments, even when revisiting known resource patches, with selective pressures favoring groups who proved adaptively flexible. Such environmental variation could have promoted expansions toward the coast to make use of littoral resources. This is supported by findings at both Sangiran and Trinil that suggest H. erectus were using shell tools and engraving shell by about 500,000 years ago (Choi and Driwantoro 2007; Joordens et al. 2015). Along with implications for incipient aquatic adaptation, this has important ramifications for the symbolic and cognitive dimensions of Southeast Asian H. erectus.

    • As Rabett (2017) points out, it could be this ecological diversity that led to the long survival of these hominins. I would add that it might have also encouraged adaptive flexibility in new environments. This flexibility perhaps led to H. erectus making the first open water crossings in history and adapting to islands. Early and Middle Pleistocene hominins crossed water gaps of at least 20–40 km to reach three islands: Flores, Luzon, and Sulawesi. The earliest known crossings reached Flores in the Lesser Sunda Chain, with evidence for island occupation 1 million years ago at Wolo Sege (Brumm et al. 2010) and 880,000 years ago at the Mata Menge site (Morwood et al. 1998). It is likely that these hominins—H. erectus or an unknown species—moved west to east across several straits into Sumbawa and then Flores, or north to south through Sulawesi (Bellwood 2017, p. 35).

    • The possibility that multiple hominin species crossed into northern Sahul and the Pacific has, so far, been overlooked. However, genetic research reveals that the highest frequency of Denisovan admixture with H. sapiens occurred among the ancestors of Australian Aboriginals and New Guineans, leading Cooper and Stringer (2013) to ponder whether these hominins also crossed into Near Oceania. Jacobs et al. (2019) speculate there was introgression from one lineage of Denisovans east of the Wallace Line, which continued into the Terminal Pleistocene. The archaeological and paleoanthropological evidence, however, is nonexistent.

    • Similar evidence demonstrates that hominins expanded into the continental and oceanic islands off the coast of eastern Eurasia (Fig. 9). It is currently debated whether non-sapiens occupied the Japanese islands; however, from what we know about Wallacea it would not be impossible. Matsufuji (2011) makes the case that Middle Pleistocene hominins entered Japan by MIS-6, a glacial period when sea levels were lowered. Possible lithic artifacts from Kanedori are associated with tephra dated to 115,000–84,000 years ago; however, Norton et al. (2010) question whether these remains are indeed artifactual and stress current evidence that H. sapiens first entered the Japanese islands in MIS-3. At that time, the northern island of Hokkaido was connected to Sakhalin and the northeast Eurasian mainland as a peninsula, due to lowered sea levels. Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, on the other hand, formed one larger island called Paleo-Honshu, which was separated from Eurasia by the Tsugaru Strait to the north, the Korea Strait to the west, and the Tokara Strait to the south.

    • Finally, recent controversial claims that hominins reached the Americas in MIS-5 are still being scrutinized, but they have important implications for global human migration and water-crossing behaviors (Braje et al. 2017). Holen et al. (2017) assert that hammerstones and stone anvils found at the Cerutti site in southern California are associated with mastodon bones, dated by Th/U to c. 130,000 years ago. Some of these bones are spirally fractured, perhaps indicating that hominins deliberately broke fresh long bones to extract marrow. These breakage patterns closely resemble experimental breakage from using hafted and unhafted cobble hammers on stone anvils. They do not resemble carnivore breakage, but it is unclear if this represents active hunting or indirect scavenging of carcasses. Beringia was submerged during that time period (Hu et al. 2010), and it was not until ~110,000 years ago that the land bridge fleetingly formed, facilitating terrestrial migrations of megafauna (Timmermann and Friedrich 2016). If reliable, the most likely time of terrestrial dispersal would have been during MIS-6.

      From the perspective of Wallacea, it is not unfeasible that hominins, whether early H. sapiens or another population such as northern Denisovans, could have crossed open water gaps to reach North America. However, I would stress that there are key environmental differences in water temperature, marine biodiversity, open-sea distances, prey abundance, and availability of raw materials (see Anderson 2018), which would likely discount the possibility of hominins venturing through northern Pacific waters prior to Late Pleistocene H. sapiens.

      Due to these ecological factors, the Americas’ evidence provides an intriguing comparison to the Indo-Pacific records of seafaring and voyaging, which primarily occurred in tropical and subtropical bodies of water. By contrast, the coastal dispersal of our species down the western fringe of the Americas seems to have been associated with regular use of maritime technologies and the long-distance transfer of lithic materials, but water crossings themselves were restricted to short distances of under 10 km and, when undertaken, targeted known locations of rich offshore resources.

    • Secondly, our species, specifically populations in the Indo-Pacific, pushed water-crossing behaviors to new extremes, breaking the 30 km threshold already achieved by other species to move out of sight of land, sometimes on voyages over 200 km long, and, upon reaching new landmasses, shifted their behaviors to adapt to challenges in insular environments. In particular, H. sapiens are the only Pleistocene hominins to utilize very small islands with tight biogeographic constraints in Wallacea, the Ryukyus, the Pacific, and the Americas. Living on these islands required drastic transformations from the adaptive strategies practiced on continental shelves and larger islands. These H. sapiens also started to use islands strategically for specific resource acquisition, as people reshaped archipelagos into inter-island exchange networks and manipulated some new environments to better suit human needs by introducing reliable food sources.

      Thirdly, upon moving to the coast of mainland Eurasia, it remains unclear if H. sapiens required thousands of years to gradually innovate boat technology and water-crossing behaviors or if these transformations occurred rapidly, over such a short space of time that they have become archaeologically imperceptible. These two scenarios can be tested with ongoing and future field research across the globe, and they have important implications for how we understand the rate and scale of human adaptive flexibility. Understanding these mechanisms, especially in the face of new and changing environments, is a central concern if 21st century hominins are to effectively adapt to our changing environments.

    • So much incredible discussion points in this paper about human/hominid sidpersal patterns.
    • Leaves the door wide open for early rafting populations.

Eurasian Context

Castel di Guido, Latium, Italy (449000 BCE - 386000 BCE)

Denisova Cave, Southern Siberia, Altai Krai, Russia (334000 - 222000 BCE)

Not as close to the land bridge (it's 5000 km hike to Diring Yuriakh), but shows the span of the Denisovans.

See Genetics: Early Hominid through Modern Human.

Diring Yuriakh, Yakutsk, Russia (260 KA, ~ 258000 BCE)

This is close to the land bridge. In fact, crossing the land bridge would be just as far away as traveling to Denisova Cave. If these Denisovans made trips across the ocean at that time or one of the times when the land bridge emerged since 500000 BCE, that could explain the earliest and highly contested sites: Hueyatlaco, Calico, and Cerutti.

See Genetics: Early Hominid through Modern Human.

Pre Clovis (before 11000 BCE)

Hueyatlaco, Puebla, Mexico (250 KA BP, ~248000 BCE)

This coincides with another glacial maximum, the last in the middle pleistoncene, according to Miller KG et al. (2005) and Kominz (2001). This means there was likely a land brige the Denisovans (or other hominid) could have crossed over or raft technology the could use to enter North America from Diring Yuriakh.

Bison Enter America (195000 BCE - 135000 BCE)

I want to take a moment to point out that if Bison were able to move freely into the "Americas", then it should also be pretty trivial for hunters to follow them.

This coincides with another glacial maximum, the first in the late pleistoncene, according to Miller et al. (2011, Miller et al. (2005), and Kominz (2001). This means there was likely a land brige humans could have crossed over to enter North America, see Douka et al. (2019) for more on the possible lineages of Denisovans whom could have mode this journey along with Stewart, Clark-Wilson, Breeze, Janulis, et al. (2020) for the tantalizing possibility that Homo Sapiens could have been out of Africa already.

The Highly Disputed Calico Early Man Site, San Bernardino County, California, USA (135 KA BP)

There was a rock ring discovered beneath a 100000 year old soil profile -- but there is controversy over potential contamination. There are potentially some tools from then, too. However, most of the tools discovered here come from later times 30 KA BP and 14.4 KA BP.

This coincides with a glacial maximum, the first in the late pleistocene, according to Miller et al. (2011, Miller et al. (2005), and Kominz (2001). As we can see, in modern day Italy, there were ~400000 year old tools discovered. It seems there are plenty of examples in the "old world" of items that date to the pleistocene, so why is it so unbelievable that hominids could have already been present in the "Americas"?

Cerutti Mastodon, San Diego County, California, USA (130 KA BP, ~128000 BCE)

Again, this coincides with a glacial maximum, the first in the late pleistocene, according to Miller et al. (2011, Miller et al. (2005), and Kominz (2001). As we can see, in modern day Italy, there were ~400000 year old tools discovered. It seems there are plenty of examples in the "old world" of items that date to the pleistocene, so why is it so unbelievable that hominids could have already been present in the "Americas"?

Homo Sapiens 120000 years ago in Levant and Arabia

This is evidence that Homo Sapiens had left Africa and spread out by 120k years ago.

  • See the genetics page for the research.

70 - 10 KA BP (68000 BCE - 8000 BCE)

There are a few articles highlighting holes in our knowledge and where we might go searching for answers. If there is a chance that some of the evidence for Indigenous life in North America was swept away by glacial drainage, then there's a chance a decent number of sites would be found burried in ocean sediment at the confluence of river drainages and the ocean basin. The question then becomes how do we find anything of the sort and how do we study it when it has been geologically displaced?

See the Earth Science: Drainage of Glaciers to Ocean section of the page.

Evidence of "entry" to the Americas around 40000 BCE - 30000 BCE

  • Mcelrath D, Emerson T (2012) Reenvisioning Eastern Woodlands Archaic Origins. The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology. 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195380118.013.0037. - This is a really good overview.
    • The antiquity of human entry into the New World has been one of the longest- running and most contentious debates in North American archaeology, with little resolution in sight. Scientists in the early 20th century, led by the famed physical anthropologist Ales Hrdlicka, were convinced people entered the New World in very recent times, perhaps a few thousand years BC. It was not until the discovery of extinct megafauna and associated artifacts at Folsom and Clovis, New Mexico and the chronometric analysis of Vance Haynes (1964) that the entry date was pushed back to about 12000 BP. However, South America researchers have for some time now, accepted dates in the 20,000–30,000 year range and have theoretically divorced themselves from their North American colleagues (Gruhn 2005), the majority of whom, until recently, defamed any radiocarbon date that exceeded 12,000 years in age. Now that this Maginot Line has been crossed, it makes sense that much earlier dates should be entertained. Since seagoing vessels were necessary to colo- nize Australia (minimally 45000 BP and possibly 65000 BP) and Japan (minimally 30000 BP), and northern latitude cold-weather-adapted technologies were sufficiently well developed to enable occupation of major parts of eastern Siberia by 45000 BP, it would indeed be surprising if colonization of North America’s west coast had not begun by at least 30000 BP, especially since Northeast Asia and North America were joined for lengthy periods after 50,000 years ago. The possibility—in fact, the probability—of an early coastal entry into the New World appears strong.

  • Fiedel SJ (2000) The peopling of the New World: present evidence, new theories, and future directions. Journal of Archaeological Research, 8(1), 39-103.
    • Jesse Jennings (1974, p. 72) characterized the then-known Siberian Paleolithic material as “clearly derivative from the Afro-European Paleolithic cultures,” while “the Asiatic Pacific Coast remains are seen as belonging to the ancient Southeast Asian tradition long regarded as different from the European assemblage.” He believed that the earliest American artifacts originated in this coastal Asian tradition, yet noted the lack of “Asiatic prototypes for the beautifully fluted and pressure-flaked American point and blade types” (p. 74). Similarly, Gordon Willey (1966) suggested that, if people came to America more than 30,000 or 40,000 years ago, they brought a simple tool kit with no blades or points, “in the tradition of the ancient Lower or Middle Paleolithic Chopper-Chopping Tool Industry of southeast Asia.” Although he admitted that there were “no thoroughly acceptable associations of manmade artifacts, extremely early radiocarbon dates, and convincing middle or early Wisconsin geological contexts,” Willey still felt that “there remains strong suggestive evidence” of a very early migration, in the form of crude chopper-chopping tools found in North and South America. Alex Krieger (1964) argued that these artifacts, although generally found in surface contexts of indefinite date, could be assigned to an early “pre-projectile stage.” Yet, as Jennings observed, the surface finds of American chopper-scrapers “meet none of the minimum control standards archeologists insist upon for any ancient complex if it is to be deemed truly ancient” (1974, p. 75), while the few stratified occurrences (e.g., at the C. W. Harris site in California and the South Yale site in British Columbia) were only of early Holocene age.

      In 1974, Willey cited new finds in the Yukon (Old Crow) and in Mexico (Valsequillo and Tlapacoya) as providing “good evidence that man has been in the New World for as much as 25,000 to 30,000 years if not longer.” Jennings (1974, p. 76) expressed disappointment that no “convincing proof” of the antiquity of the pre-projectile stage had yet emerged, but in 1983, buoyed by evidence from Old Crow, Shriver, and Meadowcroft of pre-11,000 occupation, he was more optimistic: “Further research should continue to push the evidence of human occupancy of both American continents farther back into time, perhaps into the mid-Wisconsin (40,000 B.P.) range” (Jennings, 1983, p. 63). The eager acceptance by these doyens of American archaeology of apparent evidence of pre-Clovis occupation shows that the scientific “establishment” has not been predisposed to crush such claims. The problem for pre-Clovis advocates has been one of cumulative negative evidence, not paradigmatic rigidity (Meighan, 1983). In contrast to the optimism of Jennings and Willey about pre-Clovis finds, Waters (1985) stated that “after an evaluation of the evidence, collected by numerous researchers over many decades, the Clovis Culture still remains the oldest unequivocal evidence for man in the Americas south of the former continental ice sheets.” I reached the same conclusion in 1987: “It is only after about 9500 B.C. that we find entirely convincing evidence of human occupation in North America” (Fiedel, 1987, p. 56), although I had to admit that “the archaeological record offers tantalizing hints of earlier occupation” (p. 51).

    • It must be added that there is possible evidence of a much earlier human presence at Monte Verde. Some distance away from the ca. 12,000 rcbp deposits, and in a lower (by 80 cm) and older layer, two dozen modified pebbles of basalt and andesite were found near two ostensible hearths. Carbonized wood from these features dates to 33,370 ± 530 and more than 33,020 rcbp (about 35,000 B.P., during a relatively warm interstadial period). Judging from published illustrations, at least one of the stones has certainly been chipped by humans. This tool has yielded protein residue that may be derived from a mastodon (Tuross and Dillehay, 1995).

    • Pedra Furada. At this rockshelter site in northeastern Brazil, French archaeologist Ni`ede Guidon has excavated multiple layers of charcoal concentrations, interpreted as hearths, and broken quartz and quartzite cobbles that are said to be pebble tools (Guidon and Delibrias, 1986). The “hearths” yielded dates ranging from 17,000 to more than 40,000 years, in stratigraphic order. There are paintings on the shelter walls, and it is reported that fragments of the paintings were found in ca. 17,000-year-old occupation levels. Upper levels of the site contain undoubted tools made of exotic cherts. Several other sites in the same region have yielded comparably early dates, but few details are available concerning the contexts. Like Monte Verde, Pedra Furada was examined several years ago by a small party of North American archaeologists (Meltzer et al., 1994). It did not fare as well. They concluded that the broken cobbles were not artifacts and that the “hearths” were not created by human activity.

  • Torroni A, Schurr TG, Yang CC, Szathmary EJ, Williams RC, Schanfield MS, Troup GA, Knowler WC, Lawrence DN, Weiss KM (1992) Native American mitochondrial DNA analysis indicates that the Amerind and the Nadene populations were founded by two independent migrations. Genetics. 130(1): 153-162.
    • The similarity of the sequence divergences of the Amerind clusters A, C, and D suggest that those were the founding linages of the Paleoindians. Using the weighted mean value of 0.084%, the Amerind mtDNA lineages are estimated to have begun radiating between 21,000 - 42,000 YBP. If most of this radiation occurred after entry into the Americas, this time range would suggest that the Americas were colonized before the dates associated with the oldest Paleoindian skeletal remains (14,000 YBP) and Clovis lithic artifacts (11,500 YBP), and would be consistent with the estimated ages of the oldest American archeological sites.

Old Crow Basin, Yukon, Canada (40000 BCE - 34500 BCE)

Pedra Furada (58000, 46000, 30000 BCE - 7000 BCE)

Evidence of a pre-30000 BCE population

  • Ardelean, C. F., Becerra-Valdivia, L., Pedersen, M. W., Schwenninger, J. L., Oviatt, C. G., Macías-Quintero, J. I., ... & Willerslev, E. (2020). Evidence of human occupation in Mexico around the Last Glacial Maximum. Nature, 584(7819), 87-92.
  • Becerra-Valdivia, L., & Higham, T. (2020). The timing and effect of the earliest human arrivals in North America. Nature, 1-5.
    • However, the Clovis-first model has been refuted by new archaeological and chronometric data6–8 that demonstrate the existence of sites that predate Clovis (often termed ‘pre-Clovis’ or ‘older-than-Clovis’6,9) as well as of distinct technological industries that occur coevally10–14. An earlier dispersal route along the Pacific Coast is currently considered the most likely means by which people moved into the Americas15,16, although this not universally accepted17.

    • Modelled start boundaries for pre-Clovis sites show the earliest evidence for cultural occupation in stratigraphic component C of Chiquihuite Cave (Mexico) at 33,150–31,405 cal. bp, before the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) (from 26.5 to 20–19 ka2,3). Several sites appear to be occupied later, during or immediately after the LGM. These include Gault (26,435–17,385 cal. bp), Meadowcroft Rockshelter (24,335–18,620 cal. bp) and Cactus Hill (20,585–18,970 cal. bp) (Fig. 2a). In eastern Beringia, Bluefish Caves is represented by a single date obtained on a humanly modified bone sample (24,035–23,310 cal. bp) dating squarely to the LGM. Start boundaries for stratigraphic component B of Chiquihuite Cave (16,605–15,615 cal. bp), Cooper’s Ferry (16,560–15,285 cal. bp) and Debra L. Friedkin (16,315–14,660 cal. bp) suggest occupations at these sites began after the LGM and near to GI-1—a warmer period of sudden, short-lived climatic fluctuations4. Following these sites, age estimates for Hebior (15,615–13,975 cal. bp), Schaefer (15,020–13,710 cal. bp), Paisley Caves (14,755–13,780 cal. bp), Page–Ladson (14,710–14,450 cal. bp), Lindsay (14,625–13,945 cal. bp) and Manis (13,795–13,745 cal. bp) fall within or near GI-1. Chronometric data (n = 171 dates) from these 14 pre-Clovis components yielded a distribution with a peak centred on around 14,250 cal. bp, which represents the bulk of the chronometric evidence (Fig. 2b). For the later Beringian, Western Stemmed and Clovis lithic traditions, the modelled start boundaries we obtained suggest that they began at 14,955–13,895, 14,860–13,065 and 14,210–13,495 cal. bp, respectively (Fig. 3, Extended Data Figs. 1–3).

    • If transatlantic migration is set aside and an Asian origin assumed, the antiquity and distribution of the early sites suggest that the initial crossing of the 48th parallel north occurred either (i) during the later part of Marine Isotope Stage 3 (57–29 ka)36, when ice and sea level estimates37–39 indicate that land passage through Beringia was unlikely or interrupted, and an ice-free corridor between the Laurentide and Cordilleran Ice Sheets was probably present39 (with evidence of terrestrial landscapes occurring between 48 and 40 ka40) or (ii) during the LGM terminus, when the Bering land bridge was viable but the ice-free corridor was inaccessible41,42. Both possibilities suggest the earliest arrivals to North America had some degree of littoral adaptation. The second scenario would have required movement along the Pacific Coast, perhaps before the Cordilleran Ice Sheet reached its maximum extent (between about 20 and 17 ka43). It is also more compatible with current genetic findings, which suggest that ancestral Native American populations experienced genetic isolation in eastern Beringia during the LGM44 and diverged from Ancient Beringian populations at 22–18.1 ka45,46.

    • Our study of the timing of initial human dispersals into Beringia and North America suggests that people were present in different settings before, during and immediately following the LGM, before the commencement of more-widespread occupation and human population growth during GI-1. Pre-LGM evidence is currently limited to one archaeological site (Chiquihuite Cave). If population continuity is assumed, this pattern is consistent with phases of human exploration and colonization, and the degree of genetic structure already present in North America by GI-1. However, the biocultural relationship between the humans represented by pre-Clovis sites and later North American and Beringian traditions is largely unknown. The analysis of ancient human DNA from sediments75 has the potential to increase our knowledge and shed light on these questions. Finally, although this study focused on Beringia and North America, continued investigations in Central and South America—for which Late Pleistocene data are comparatively limited (as discussed in a special issue of Quaternary International76)—should allow for the chronological assessment of local archaeological sites6,10,14 and the development of continent-wide spatiotemporal models. Future research will enable our chronological model to be tested, and its precision and accuracy improved as new data are integrated.

Chiquihuite Cave, Zacatecas, MX (32000 BCE - 29000 BCE)

Cueva Coxcatlan, Valle de Tehuacan, Puebla, MX (31498 BCE - 26329 BCE)

  • Somerville, A. D., Casar, I., & Arroyo-Cabrales, J. (2021). New AMS Radiocarbon Ages from the Preceramic Levels of Coxcatlan Cave, Puebla, Mexico: A Pleistocene Occupation of the Tehuacan Valley?. Latin American Antiquity, 1-15.
    • The traditional model for the peopling of the Americas contends that the first Americans crossed Beringia and the Ice-Free Corridor around 13,500 cal BP and that these populations utilized Clovis chipped-stone tool technology known for its fluted spear points (e.g., Kelly 2003; Meltzer 2015). However, growing evidence demonstrates the presence of pre-Clovis people in both North and South America who used less elaborate chipped-stone tool technology (Bourgeon et al. 2017; Davis et al. 2019; Dillehay et al. 2015; Erlandson 2013; Jenkins et al. 2013; Waters et al. 2011). Within Mexico, researchers have argued for Pleistocene ocupations at several locations (González et al. 2006; Irwin-Williams and Martin 1967; Lorenzo and Mirambell 1986a), but because of the early period in which these sites were excavated, there are ambiguities in their dating methods or the documented stratigraphy (Meltzer 2009:105–107; Sánchez 2001). Currently, the best—though still contested—evidence for pre-Clovis occupations in Mexico comes from three sites: (1) the Rancho La Amapola site at Cedral, San Luis Potosí; (2) the Santa Isabel Iztapan II mammoth kill site near Mexico City; and (3) Chiquihuite Cave in northern Zacatecas. Research at the Rancho La Amapola site produced radiocarbon ages from charcoal sampled from hearths ranging from approximately 45,000–25,000 calibrated radiocarbon years BP (Mirambell 1994:239). These were found associated with a chipped-stone discoidal scraper and Pleistocene faunal bones, including a broken and utilized horse tibia (Lorenzo and Mirambell 1986b; Mirambell 1994). The Santa Isabel Iztapan II mammoth kill site contained the remains of a disarticulated mammoth (Mammuthus sp.) skeleton associated with three bifacial stone projectile points: Scottbluff, Lerma, and Angostura points. Cut marks on the bones demonstrated that humans had butchered the carcass (Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda 1956). González and colleagues (2015) estimated the mammoth to date to 14,500–10,800 BP based on tephra ages. Finally, chipped-stone artifacts from recent excavations at Chiquihuite Cave site in Zacatecas were associated with optically stimulated luminescence and radiocarbon ages ranging from approximately 33,000 to 31,400 cal BP (Ardelean et al. 2020). Although our new radiocarbon ages from the Late Ajuereado zones of Coxcatlan Cave remain only tentatively associated with human activities, they join this list of potential pre-Clovis sites from Mexico.

    • This article presented 14 new AMS radiocarbon ages from faunal remains excavated from the Preceramic levels of Coxcatlan Cave in the Tehuacan Valley. Our results refine the timing of the Archaic period chronological phases (El Riego, Coxcatlan, and Abejas) by using radiocarbon data to construct a Bayesian multiphase model. Although the Archaic period chronology presented here is generally similar to that originally proposed by the TABP (Johnson and MacNeish 1972), the AMS radiocarbon ages from the Early Ajuereado zones date to a period just before the Last Glacial Maximum (33,448–28,279 cal BP) and are similar to those produced from the early occupation of Chiquihuite Cave in north-central Mexico (Ardelean et al. 2020). Because many of the stone tools associated with these early levels are only minimally worked and the antiquity of the ages places these stratigraphic layers many thousands of years before traditional hypotheses posit the arrival of humans in North America, the identity of these objects as tools remains questionable. Nevertheless, the observations that the faunal remains appear to have been processed by humans, that the stone tools are made from flint, and that several stone tools exhibit retouching provide support for the notion of a pre-LGM occupation of Coxcatlan Cave during the Early Ajuereado phase. The radiocarbon ages produced from this study mandate a careful reconsideration of the materials recovered from these zones, including a close inspection of the chipped-stone tools and an analysis of faunal material to document breakage patterns, cut marks, and thermal alterations. The results of this study and those of future reanalyses have important implications for our understanding of several important issues in the archaeology of the New World, including the peopling of the Americas, the timing and causes of the megafaunal extinctions, and the origins of agriculture.

Yana RHS, Siberia (28000 BCE)

This is technically not "North America", but it's connected and may demonstrate part of the path only some of our ancestors took to get here.

Sítio do Meio (27000 BCE - 26000 BCE)

Bluefish Caves, Yukon, Canada (26050 BCE - 22000 BCE)

Discussion of "entry" in the "Americas" circa 25000 BCE

  • Vachula, R. S., Huang, Y., Russell, J. M., Abbott, M. B., Finkenbinder, M. S., & O'Donnell, J. A. (2020). Sedimentary biomarkers reaffirm human impacts on northern Beringian ecosystems during the Last Glacial period. Boreas, 49(3), 514-525.
  • Waters, M. R. (2019). Late Pleistocene exploration and settlement of the Americas by modern humans. Science, 365(6449).
    • Two sites suggest an early human presence in eastern Beringia. From Lake E5 in northern Alaska (Fig. 2A), human fecal biomarkers found in lacustrine sediments suggest human occupation of the region since ~32 ka ago (26). Cutmarks on 15 animal bones dated from ∼24 to ∼15 ka ago at Bluefish Caves in the Yukon are believed to be the result of human activity (Fig. 2A) (27). The absence of stone tools, alternative natural taphonomic explanations for the bone modification, and site formation issues render the evidence from these sites equivocal (28).

      The first unequivocal evidence of humans in eastern Beringia appears at Swan Point in central Alaska (Fig. 2A). Here, Yubetsu-style wedge-shaped microblade cores were used to make small blades that were inset into osseous projectile points 14.15 ± 0.15 ka ago (Fig. 2E) (29). This microblade technology is derived from the Siberian Diuktai culture of central Siberia, which dates from ∼18 to ∼12.6 ka ago (29, 30) and is found is western Beringia (31).

    • Organic geochemical analyses of Burial Lake sediments demonstrate the presence of humans in eastern Beringia during the Last Glacial, supporting the Beringian standstill hypothesis (BSH) and previous palaeoecological records from Lake E5. Increased fluxes of PAHs from 34 to 16 cal. ka BP indicate increased fire activity in eastern Beringian landscapes during the Last Glacial (Fig. 3). Although climate was more arid during the Last Glacial, as evidenced by Burial Lake PAH levels (Fig. 5; Abbott et al. 2010), natural lightning ignitions were likely less frequent in eastern Beringia during the Last Glacial due to decreased convective energy available in the atmosphere (Vachula et al. 2019). Decreased natural ignitions during the Last Glacial are difficult to reconcile with evidence of increased burning. Though increased aridity and more readily flammable vegetation assemblages (i.e. mammoth steppe) might have promoted burning, human ignitions offer an alternative explanation for the magnitude of elevated fire activity. Indeed, during the same period of elevated fire activity (34 to 16 cal. ka BP), the fluxes of coprostanol, a human faecal biomarker, are greatest, and coprostanol:stigmastanol values consistently exceed the 0.18 threshold value indicative of human faecal contamination (Vachula et al. 2019). Taken together, these data suggest that humans played an integral role in fire regimes near Burial Lake. The timing of this inferred human presence agrees with genetically-inferred timing of the initial divergence of Ancient Beringians from East Asians (Tamm et al. 2007; Skoglund & Reich 2016; Mulligan & Szathmáry 2017; Moreno-Mayar et al. 2018; Waters 2019). As such, our data and those of Vachula et al. (2019) provide physical evidence supporting the BSH. To conclusively support the BSH, further research is needed to confirm that the humans evident in the Burial Lake sediment record are indeed the ancestors of Native Americans.

    • Our analyses of biomarkers (faecal sterols and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)) preserved in the Burial Lake sediment core corroborate previous analyses of Lake E5 sediments. These analyses support the presence of humans in Beringia during the Last Glacial and suggest that they promoted fire activity. The timing of human presence evident in the Burial Lake and Lake E5 sediment records agrees with the Beringian Standstill Hypothesis. However, further research is required to determine if the human population identified by our analyses was indeed the Standstill population. Our data show that Ice Age megafauna and humans coexisted for millennia, suggesting that humans were not the primary cause of the extinctions that occurred at the end of the Last Glacial. Lastly, we show that the role of fire in the mammoth steppe has been overlooked in the palaeoecological literature, but that it may have been an important agent in the maintenance of this puzzling ecosystem's structure and productivity.

    • In other words, it could just be hunters coming out to a place and it might not have been an ancestral group. Though the timing does coincide with Llamas, Fehren-Schmitz, et al. 2016. So maybe the contributed to the ancestry.
  • Morlan RE (2017) Current perspectives on the Pleistocene archaeology of eastern Beringia. Quarternary Research. 60(1): 123-132.
  • Faught MK (2017) Where was the PaleoAmerind standstill? Quaternary International. 444 B: 10-18.PDF
    • I argue that this standstill did not take place in western or eastern Beringia, submerged or terrestrially, or even in greater Siberia to the west, but rather that it happened in the Americas where multiple environments ideal for population isolation existed at those times.

    • "It's Hrdlicka's Fault":

      Nevertheless, by the mid-nineteenth century, it was accepted that the New World was peopled from Asia via the Bering Strait. This connecting route into the Western Hemisphere gained dominance in the twentieth century with the particular influence of Ales Hrdlicka and his many influential publications, including Shovel-Shaped Teeth (1920), The Origin and Antiquity of American Indians (1925), The Race and Antiquity of the American Indian (1926), Melanesians and Australians and the Peopling of America (1935), and The Problem of Man's Antiquity in America (1942). Alternative migration theories were dismissed because of his authoritative power as Physical Anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution. According to Hrdlicka, native people came late, and they came by way of Beringia.

    • One late Pleistocene archaeological culture that propagates from Northeast Asia into Alaska is Dyuktai, a Siberian chipped-stone technology dominated by Yubetsu microblade production (Slobodin, 2011) and Denali represents the assumed descendant technological tradition in Alaska. The producers of Dyuktai/Denali assemblages have both pre-Clovis and Clovis-contemporary ages (Faught, 2008; Goebel and Buvit, 2011; Graf et al., 2015) and microblade-making archaeological cultures propagated along the northwest coast later in the early Holocene (Chatters, 2010). These later microblade assemblages have been inferred by regional specialists to have been made by the ancestors of Na-Dene ethnic groups: the Tlingit, Haida, and Athabaskans (Carlson, 1996; Fedje et al., 2011; Meltzer, 2009 pp. 193e194).

      However, in western Beringia and greater Siberia, there is a lack of evidence for people adapting to the cold LGM environments between ca. 26,000 cal yr BP and 18,000 cal yr BP, where the preClovis PaleoAmerind standstill archaeological culture is expected (Kuzmin and Keates, 2016). Goebel et al. (2008 pp. 1500, Fig. 3) illustrate this lacuna with a dashed line and query marks beginning with Yana RHS at ca. 32,000 cal yr BP in north central Siberia (Pitulko et al., 2004, 2016) and skipping 18,000 years to Swan Point, Alaska, at 14,000 cal yr BP (Goebel et al., 2008; Holmes, 2011). While the archaeological records at Yana RHS and Nikita Lake, east of Yana RHS, demonstrate the human capacity to adapt to high Arctic latitudes before and after the LGM, they do not show occupation during when the standstill is supposed to be occurring biologically (Kuzmin and Keates, 2016; Pitulko et al., 2016).

    • If there is no PaleoAmerind archaeological culture in Beringia during the LGM, and Asiatic-derived PaleoAmerinds were already in the Americas when late Pleistocene Dyuktai/Denali artifactmaking people propagated into Alaska, then pre-Clovis PaleoAmerinds must have gotten to the Western Hemisphere from somewhere other than Beringia. I have argued previously (Faught, 2008) that this was necessarily by an ocean route(s), and others have listed the same as possibilities (Anderson, 2010; Erlandson and Braje, 2011; Surovell, 2003 pp. 580). But if not Beringia, where was the Asiatic PaleoAmerind homeland and why did they leave it?

    • The assumption that PaleoAmerinds inhabited most of the Americas before Na-Dene and Eskimo/Aleut people entered has underpinned most biological studies. However, the standstill or incubation model that places the ancestral PaleoAmerinds in Beringia for thousands of years before Dyuktai/Denali is not supported by the evidence. There is sparse archaeological evidence in Beringia or greater Siberia during the LGM, the place and time of the putative pre-Clovis PaleoAmerind standstill. Sites in North and South Americas are older than the oldest known sites in Alaska, indicating that people were already living south of the ice sheets when the first Dyuktai artifact-making people arrived. Even though many scientists begin with the a priori conclusion that Beringia is the only viable pathway for migration, it has not been demonstrated archaeologically or biologically.

  • Swisher ME, Jenkins DL, Jackson Jr. LE, Phillips FM (2013) A Reassessment of the Role of the Canadian Ice Free Corridor in Light of New Geological Evidence. Current Archaeological Happenings in Oregon. 38(4): 9-14.
    • [H]uman entry through a pre-coalescence ice-free corridor remains a possibility. (circa 25000 BCE)

    • A human range expansion into the Americas through an ice-free post-coalescence corridor has been hypothesized and tested for more than 75 years. Evidence from Paisley Caves and other archaeology sites support the interpretation that people inhabited the New World during the time of coalescent coast-to-coast ice cover of Canada. As the ages of human occupation sites become increasingly earlier (Holen and Holen, 2013), human entry through a pre-coalescence ice-free corridor remains a possibility.

    • Of course, the sea has always been a viable route.
  • Bonnichsen, R. (1979). Pleistocene bone technology in the Beringian Refugium. University of Ottawa Press.

Footprints! - Lake Otero, White Sands National Park, New Mexico, USA (21050 BCE - 19050 BCE)

  • Bennett, M. R., Bustos, D., Pigati, J. S., Springer, K. B., Urban, T. M., Holliday, V. T., ... & Odess, D. (2021). Evidence of humans in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum. Science, 373(6562), 1528-1531.
    • The late Pleistocene expansion of human populations into the Americas is the latest chapter in the “Out of Africa” migration of modern humans (1). The earliest evidence for dispersal and occupation remains controversial (2). Hypotheses range from those that favor Clovis as the earliest occupation [~13 thousand years ago (ka)] (3) to those that favor older (“pre-Clovis”) sites dating to ~16.5 ka [i.e., post–Last Glacial Maximum (LGM); 26.5 to 19 or 20 ka (4)] or even older (5). Viable migration routes from Asia were dependent on timing and associated environmental conditions and could have occurred via an inland route through the Ice-Free Corridor (6, 7), the Pacific Coastal Route (8, 9), or both; however, these routes would have been closed or at least unlikely during the LGM (10).

    • Most early sites in North America, defined here as early post–LGM or older, are questioned because of either their dating (3) or uncertainty about the association of humans and purported artifacts (11). Fossil human footprints provide an alternative source of evidence for human presence when excavated from an in situ sedimentary sequence with good chronological control [e.g., (12–14)]. Unlike cultural artifacts, modified bones, or other more conventional fossils, footprints have a primary depositional context and are fixed on the imprinted surface.

    • In this context, we report the discovery of a series of human footprints from White Sands National Park (WHSA Locality 2; Fig. 1A) in south-central New Mexico that occur on multiple stratigraphic horizons interbedded with seed layers. Our results indicate that humans were present on the landscape by at least ~23 ka, with evidence of occupation spanning approximately two millennia. These data provide definitive evidence of human occupation of North America south of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the LGM.

    • These look so much like my foot prints!
    • More pictures: Cascone, S. (2021) The Oldest Human Footprints in North America Could Redefine Prehistory as We Know It—and It’s All Thanks to These Tiny Seeds. Artnet. 24 September.

Toca de Tira Peia, Piauí, Brazil (20000 BCE - 2000 BCE)

Paleo Indians (18000 BCE - 8000 BCE)

La Senna and Lovewell, Kansas & Nebraska, USA (19000 BCE - 16000 BCE)

Chiribiquete - Guaviare, Columbia (20000 BP)

"The Maloca [House] of the Jaguar"

Chiribiquete National Park Un viaje literario por Chiribiquete, la maloca del jaguar en la orilla del mundo Serranía de Chiribiquete: Chiribiquete National Park, World Heritage Site (Colombia) Chiribiquete National Park – “The Maloca of the Jaguar”

Toca da Janela da Barra do Antonião-North, Piauí, Brazil (18400 BCE - 17000 BCE)

First known pottery — Xianrendong (Xianren Cave), Jiangxi, China (18048 BCE - 17216 BCE)

Discussion of early sites (pre 18000 BCE)

  • McLaren, D., Fedje, D., Mackie, Q., Davis, L. G., Erlandson, J., Gauvreau, A., & Vogelaar, C. (2020). Late Pleistocene Archaeological Discovery Models on the Pacific Coast of North America. PaleoAmerica, 6(1), 43-63.PDF
    • Contains bits of methodology useful in reconstructing local sea level histories along coasts.
    • Much of Haida Gwaii was ice-free by 18,000 calendar years ago (cal yr BP) (Lacourse et al. 2005; Ramsey et al. 2004; Shaw et al. 2019) and there are indications of a full glacial biotic refugium on the now-drowned Hecate Plain immediately east of the archipelago (Mathewes and Clague 2017). The shoreline history of the archipelago is complex. Earliest post-glacial (ca. 18,000–15,000 cal yr BP) relative sea level histories are poorly constrained. Well-constrained sea level histories extend from ca. 14,500 cal yr BP to the present. Shorelines dating to 14,500 cal yr BP are 150 m below modern level. Subsequently, relative sea level rose rapidly, passing modern level at 10,700 cal yr BP and reaching 15 m above modern level by 10,000 cal yr BP (Fedje 1993; Fedje et al. 2005a). Paleoshorelines dating to the early Holocene (10,000–6000 cal yr BP) stabilized 15 m above modern level, when local tectonic uplift was balanced by eustatic sea level rise. Relative sea level then fell to modern level during the late Holocene due to ongoing tectonic uplift.

    • In recent years, an increasing number of archaeological components that predate 14,000 cal yr BP have been investigated from interior regions in the Americas (Dillehay et al. 2015; Jenkins et al. 2012; Waters et al. 2018; Waters, Forman, et al. 2011; Williams et al. 2018). These sites are older than most of the earliest sites found along the Pacific margin of North America (Table 1) and appear to be variable in their lithic assemblages, projectile point types, and resource use strategies (Williams and Madsen 2019). In North America, as described here, evidence for late Pleistocene Pacific coastal occupation appears by at least ca. 14,000–13,700 cal yr BP, with a possible earlier component at Daisy Cave (18,810–18,530 cal yr BP). However, radiocarbon dated late Pleistocene sites are relatively few and far between until ∼12,500 cal yr BP (Table 1). If Pacific coastal archaeologists working in North America are going to help address questions regarding the earliest human populations in the Americas, we need to start targeting pre-14,000-year-old shorelines wherever they are found, above or below the sea.

    • There is more evidence of early Pacific coast archaeology sites from South America. The clearest indication of a coastal affiliation in the pre-Clovis time period comes from radiocarbon dates on nine species of seaweed found at the Monte Verde wet site, in Chile, with calibrated ages between ∼14,220 and 13,980 cal yr BP (Davis et al. 2019; Dillehay et al. 2008). Huaca Prieta, in Peru, has a long-term sequence of occupation with earliest evidence dating to ∼15,000 cal yr BP (Dillehay 2017). Also, from the Monte Verde sites, ephemeral occupations are reported between 18,500 and 14,500 cal yr BP (Dillehay et al. 2015). In this context, the 18,800–18,500 cal yr BP component from Daisy Cave (Erlandson et al. 1996) may not be out of order. Clearly, however, better quality evidence is needed to make the case for a pre16,000 cal yr BP human presence in the Americas.

    • Guess what? We have direct evidence now, with those footprints in Lake Otero, NM.

Monte Verde, Chile (16500 BCE - 12500 BCE)

Meadowcroft Rock Shelter - Washington County, Pennsylvania, USA (15250 BCE)

Nipéhe (Cooper's Ferry), Idaho, USA (14510 - 13530 BCE)

Cactus Hill, Virginia, USA (14940, 14670, 13070 BCE)

Pre-colombian Dogs Which Migrated to the Americas Become Genetically Distinct from Domesticated Dogs in Europe (14484 BCE - 10965 BCE)

Pilauco Bajo - Southern Chile (14450 BCE/10850 BCE)

Gault site, Texas, USA (14000 BCE)

Wakulla Springs, Florida, USA (14000 BCE - 11000 BCE)

Pressure-flacked blades begin to spread to Beringia/Alaska (14000 BCE)

  • Coutouly, Y. A. G., & Holmes, C. E. (2018). The microblade industry from Swan Point cultural zone 4b: Technological and cultural implications from the earliest human occupation in Alaska. American Antiquity, 83(4), 735-752.
    • Swan Point contains the oldest accepted human occupation in Alaska to date and consists of a microblade and burin industry dating to circa 14,000 cal BP. The site has major implications for the first colonization of Alaska, Beringia, and the New World. Indeed, as discussed elsewhere (Gómez Coutouly 2011a, 2012; Hirasawa and Holmes 2016; Holmes 2001), Swan Point has strong technological ties with the Siberian Upper Paleolithic Diuktai Culture. Available archaeological evidence shows that late Pleistocene populations in Siberia, the Russian Far East, and Beringia, that is, Diuktai, had long-standing terrestrial-oriented economies and technologies; coastal and maritime adaptation in Beringia is documented much later (Potter et al. 2017). Through the systematic use of the Yubetsu method for the production of microblades, Cultural Zone 4b (CZ4b) is technologically more similar to microblade sites in Siberia than to the microblade sites in Alaska that come later. Our goal in analyzing the collection is to better understand how it relates to Siberian Diuktai assemblages and to later Alaskan Denali sites. We seek to recognize the nature of the occupation by understanding whether the assemblage represents a single occupation or a palimpsest and by examining the technological and typological variability within the collection.

    • The Yubetsu method is the hallmark of the Upper Paleolithic Diuktai Culture in Siberia (Supplemental Figure 11). In Alaska, Swan Point CZ4b is the only occupation with a systematic production of Yubetsu microblade cores. Indeed, other late Pleistocene (and Holocene) microblade sites from Alaska are made of Campus-type microblade cores (Supplemental Figure 12; Gómez Coutouly 2012; Mobley 1991) or conical and tabular cores (Holmes 2008). Some sites in Alaska may have an occasional microblade core similar to the Yubetsu method in their assemblages (such as at the Campus and Dry Creek sites); however, no other site in Alaska, to our knowledge, has provided a systematic production of Yubetsu cores. Moreover, these rare “Yubetsu” cores at other sites do not have refits giving a clear sense of the whole reduction process of the cores in order to clarify whether the variation from the general Campus method was intentional. Although it was widespread in Siberian late Pleistocene sites, in Alaska the Yubetsu method was abandoned entirely and replaced by the Campus method (Gómez Coutouly 2012; Holmes 2001, 2008) and other conical and tabular microcore forms. It is undeniable that the Denali complex has clear ties with the Siberian Upper Paleolithic. Yet, from a technological and typological point of view, Swan Point CZ4b is an even closer candidate for a direct link with the Diuktai Culture. Therefore, the most ancient known human occupation in Alaska, Swan Point CZ4b, is the only occupation in eastern Beringia to comprise a whole microblade tool kit exclusively made by the Yubetsu method, thus indicating possible technological as well as cultural ties with the Diuktai Culture of Siberia. Both Diuktai and Swan Point CZ4b were well adapted to hunting large mammals such as mammoth, bison, horse, and caribou, as well as smaller animals. In other words, Swan Point CZ4b may represent a time when physical/environmental connections across Beringia still existed. The Campus method had not yet been generalized among early microbladebearing populations of Alaska, and thus Swan Point CZ4b represents a late Diuktai facies in Alaska, rather than an early Denali complex site. In previous publications, one of us described the influence of raw materials on microblade technology (Gómez Coutouly 2007, 2012) and proposed that the abandonment of the Yubetsu method in favor of the Campus method in central Alaska might have been related to the locally available raw materials (mainly cobble). In the same way, we can consider whether GGI raw material played a role in the production of these Yubetsu cores. As described previously, this raw material (source unknown) may have been present in the form of large blocks, thus allowing for large flakes compatible with the bifacial shaping of cores. However, the GGI raw material alone cannot explain the use of the Yubetsu method, given that at least one core made on white rhyolite also corresponds to this method of reduction.

    • The evidence is sufficient now to suggest that the entire Cultural Zone 4b occupation at Swan Point represents a single brief occupation created by a few individual knappers focused on renewing their tool kit.

  • Coutouly, Y. A. G. (2016). Migrations and interactions in prehistoric Beringia: the evolution of Yakutian lithic technology. Antiquity, 90(349), 9-31.
    • One of the first migration waves from Siberia to Alaska that is easily recognisable concerns the diffusion of pressure-flaked microblades that spread during the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. The most ancient known human occupation in Alaska so far, Swan Point CZ4 (c. 14000 cal BP), is the only one in this region to have unearthed a whole microblade toolkit made of Yubetsu microcores and therefore has clear technological ties with the Dyuktai complex of Siberia (Holmes 2008, 2011; Gómez Coutouly 2011a). Afterwards, in Alaska, the Yubetsu method was rapidly abandoned and replaced by the Campus method (Holmes 2008; Gómez Coutouly 2011a, 2012) and other conical and tabular microcores. As for the Palaeolithic of Siberia, most pressure-flaked microblades in Alaska were also made using the hand-held or shoulder-crutch technique, although there can be some exceptions (Gómez Coutouly 2011a).

    • The reasons for all of these differences between Siberian Neolithic and Alaskan ASTt assemblages may be multiple and diverse (group mobility, activities, raw material available and so on), and do not necessarily imply the absence of cultural connections. Nonetheless, if the Siberian Neolithic and the early Palaeoeskimo cultures are affiliated, these differences in stone tool assemblage composition will also have to be taken into account and explained.

    • The production of pressure-flaked blades within Siberia and the spread of the technique to other regions of north-east Asia and North America provide a major insight into broad cultural interactions, but also address specific and tangible aspects of these prehistoric populations. Through the analysis of the prehistoric stone tool artefacts from Yakutia and Siberia (their tool types, their evolution and their major technological shifts), we are truly able to glimpse the migration processes that have shaped the history of Beringia and the Arctic from the Late Pleistocene up to the Late Holocene. It is to be expected that the material presented in this article will also be used for comparison by the many specialists from Siberia, Alaska and the Arctic. This should lead to a better comprehension of the cultural and technical processes at stake, thereby enabling new technological (and hence cultural) correlations to be drawn.

  • Inizan, M. L., Lechevallier, M., & Plumet, P. (1992). A technological marker of the penetration into North America: pressure microblade debitage, its origin in the Paleolithic of North Asia and its diffusion. MRS Online Proceedings Library Archive, 267.
    • Recognition of the pressure debitage technique as such in North America is still exceptional (West, 1980). However the many core reduction sequences described and their likeliness to those found in N.E. Asia allow to acknowledge the use of pressure in N.W. America (Chen and Wang, 1989). The use of various methods has been identified in many blade industries which have been very early associated with a Siberian origin, as at the Campus site, near Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1933 (Nelson, 1937). This site has been considered the oldest evidence in North America of an Asiatic influence until the recent study by Mobley (1991) who proved the site as being not older than 3,500 B.P. (3,500 +/- 140 BP and 2,727 +/- 125 BP). The multiplication, in Alaska and Yukon as well as in Siberia, of sites containing cores, microblades and their by-products led to the distinction of many archaeological complexes and traditions that Chen and Wang (1989) group in three traditions.

      The oldest one is the American Paleoartic tradition, parallel to the Siberian Paleoarctic, present between 15,000 and 13,000 BP in the Akmakian level of Onion Portage, Alaska, and at Blue Fish cave, Yukon ; many sites are dated between 11,000 and 10,000 BP : 12,900 BP at Blue Fish Cave (Morlan and Cinq-Mars, 1982 ; Cinq-Mars, 1990), 11,470 BP at Putu (Alexander, 1987), 10,075 BP at Hidden Falls, 10,790 BP at Dry Creek, 10,540 BP at Gallagher (Dixon, 1975). They are found mostly inland as at the Healy and Denali lakes, refuge area not covered over by glaciers at the end of the Wisconsinian.

      The second one, the Arctic Small Tool tradition (Irving, 1964), appeared between 5.000 and 4.000 BP in the whole Arctic, from Alaska with the Denbigh Flint Complex (Giddings, 1964, 1967) or the proto-Denbigh Complex (Anderson, 1988) to Greenland with the Independence culture (Knuth, 1967) and Newfoundland and North shore of the lower Saint-Lawrence River to the South with the Groswater and the Dorset cultures (Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1986 ; Plumet et al., 1992). The Artic Small Tool tradition followed an evolution through the eastern Paleoeskimo until 500 B.P. but disappeared in Alaska as early as 3,000 B.P. (Anderson, 1988; Dumond, 1987). These two traditions in which pressure microblade debitage is well documented are an evidence of the expansion of hunters-gatherers' bands in the wide coastal and inland territories of Beringian and arctic tundra.

      Finally, a microblade component, associated with various typological traditions (tanged or notched points for example), is active until about 500 BP inside Alaska and the N.W. coast, in southern and central British Columbia and even in Alberta. One of the best known is the Plateau Microblade tradition as found in the Nesikep tradition (Sanger, 1968 ;Fladmark, 1988). In some of these traditions, the pressure technique co-exists with percussion, in proportions which are not known.

Rimrock Draw Rockshelter, Oregon, USA (13800 BCE)

Debra L Fiedkin Site, Texas, USA (13500 BCE - 11200 BCE)

El Fin del Mundo, Sonora, Mexico (13390 BCE)

Hematite quarrying, Ricky Mountains, Wyoming, USA (12673 BCE)

Schaefer and Hebior Kill Sites, Illinois, USA (12500 BCE)

Huaca Prieta, La Libertad, Peru (12550 BCE)

Page-Ladsen site, Aucilla River, Florida, USA (12400 BCE)

Swan Point, Alaska, USA (12180 BCE)

Triquet Island, British Columbia, Canada (12000 BCE)

Manis Site, Washington, USA (12000 BCE)

Ice-Free Coridor Begins to open up (~ 12000 BCE)

  • Pedersen, M. W., Ruter, A., Schweger, C., Friebe, H., Staff, R. A., Kjeldsen, K. K., ... & Willerslev, E. (2016). Postglacial viability and colonization in North America’s ice-free corridor. Nature, 537(7618), 45-49.
    • Understanding the postglacial emergence of an unglaciated and biologically viable corridor between the retreating Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets is a key part of the debate on human colonization of the Americas1–3. The opening of the ice-free corridor, long considered the sole entry route for the first Americans, closely precedes the ‘abrupt appearance’ of Clovis, the earliest widespread archaeological complex south of the ice sheets at ~13.4 cal. kyr bp4,5. This view has been challenged by recent archaeological evidence that suggests people were in the Americas by at least 14.7 cal. kyr bp6,7, and possibly several millennia earlier8. Whether this earlier presence relates to Clovis groups remains debated9. Regardless, as it predates all but the oldest estimates for the opening of the ice-free corridor10,11, archaeological attention has shifted to the Pacific coast as an alternative early entry route into the Americas1,11. Yet, the possibility of a later entry in Clovis times through an interior ice-free corridor remains open1,9,12.

  • Heintzman, P. D., Froese, D., Ives, J. W., Soares, A. E., Zazula, G. D., Letts, B., ... & Shapiro, B. (2016). Bison phylogeography constrains dispersal and viability of the Ice Free Corridor in western Canada. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(29), 8057-8063.
    • A central question in New World biogeography and archaeology has been the role of an “Ice Free Corridor” along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in facilitating biotic exchange between Beringia—unglaciated Alaska and Yukon—and southern interior parts of the Americas (1⇓⇓–4). Of central importance is the potential role for the corridor between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets in defining the pattern and timing of the initial entry of humans into the New World (Fig. 1). Early geological models from western Canada suggested that the ice sheets did not coalesce during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) (5) and implied that the corridor was a viable route for dispersal throughout the late Pleistocene (∼125,000–11,500 y ago). This view gained support from numerous, misleadingly “old” radiocarbon ages from bulk deposits in the corridor region (6). The suggestion of an open and viable corridor throughout the LGM gave rise to its prominence as the most likely pathway taken by the first people to colonize the Americas from Beringia (3, 4, 7). Eventually, this notion of a corridor became tightly linked with the “Clovis First” archaeological model, in which widespread fluted projectile point technology, often found in association with remains of Pleistocene megafauna, was believed to reflect initial human dispersal into the Americas (8).

    • As geological and paleoenvironmental evidence mounted that the corridor was not available during the LGM, a hypothesized Pacific coastal route emerged as the more likely route to account for the earliest people in southerly regions of the Americas (4, 12). This hypothesis was coupled with the suggestion that, even if an early deglacial corridor existed, the landscape was probably ecologically unproductive and unable to support large mammal or human populations, perhaps for millennia following the retreat of glaciers (4). The Clovis First model lost favor as sites south of the LGM ice sheets, such as Monte Verde (Chile), the Gault locality (Texas), Manis (Washington), and Paisley (Oregon), provided archaeological evidence that humans were present in the Americas at least a millennium before the appearance of Clovis technology (13). At the same time, genetic analyses suggested that New World founding populations began dispersing from Beringia ∼15,000–20,000 cal y BP (14⇓–16).

    • Advances in paleogenetic approaches and DNA sequencing technologies have enabled the recovery of large datasets of populations sampled over time (18). Although DNA preservation and the chronological range of radiocarbon dating have limited ancient DNA studies largely to the last ∼50,000 y, this temporal interval spans two events that were undeniably important in shaping the present-day distribution of biodiversity: the transition into and back out of the LGM, which reached its peak ∼26,000–19,000 cal y BP (19), and the global expansion of human populations (20). Although some genetic signal of both of these events is retained in living populations, paleogenetic data provide temporal snapshots of phylogeographic structure that may not be otherwise detectable (21). For example, paleogenomic data from ancient Europeans has revealed present-day Sardinians to be more closely related to the ancestral human population in Europe than to any other present day population, which probably reflects a genetic replacement associated with the expansion of agriculture (22, 23). Paleogenetic data have also been used to test hypotheses about the influence of humans on the phylogeography of other species, for example, via domestication (24, 25).

    • Bison (Bison sp.) are an ideal taxon for assessing when the corridor was open and available for biotic dispersals. Although bison taxonomy is complex, with up to several dozen species named based largely on skull and horn morphology (26, 27), the first bison to enter North America from Asia during the Pleistocene are generally referred to as the steppe bison, Bison priscus. Bison are one of the most abundant large mammals recovered from faunas within the western interior of North America, although previous studies have provided only limited radiocarbon and mitochondrial data from the corridor region. Bison are one of the first species for which ancient DNA data were used to reconstruct changing patterns of population structure spanning tens of thousands of years at continental scales (11). In addition, unlike many of their Pleistocene counterparts such as mammoths (Mammuthus), horses (Equus), and lions (Panthera), bison survived the extinction event at the end of the Pleistocene and persist in North America. Bison genomes, however, contain the signature of a genetic bottleneck at the end of the Pleistocene that can be used to test hypotheses about how ice age environmental changes affected their distribution and abundance (11).

    • The expansion of bison into the corridor region provides proxy evidence for when this route was viable for human populations and, in doing so, allows further refinement of New World human settlement scenarios. Human genetic and archaeological evidence indicate that eastern Beringia and parts of the Americas well south of the ice sheets were populated by 14,000 cal y BP, suggesting that migration out of Beringia probably began more than 15,000 cal y BP ago (15, 34⇓–36). Our chronology for the opening of the postglacial corridor indicates that a fully habitable corridor connected Beringia and interior North America by ∼13,000 cal y BP. This timing precludes the postglacial corridor as a southward route for initial human dispersal into the Americas, the corollary being that the first indigenous peoples leaving Beringia probably took a coastal route or potentially moved through western North America before glacial coalescence (37, 38).

    • Our bison data also suggest that biotic conditions favored northward rather than southward movements through the corridor, paralleling archaeological data involving fluted point technology (13). Bison clade 1a, which originates south of the ice sheets during the period of coalescence, predominates in our corridor sample, with one instance occurring as far north as the Liard River by ∼12,200 cal y BP. The oldest recognizable Clovis complex sites in North America are estimated to range from 13,000 to 12,600 cal y BP (8, 36), which slightly postdates our chronology for the opening of the southern end of the corridor. The Anzick child burial in Montana that dates to ∼12,600 cal y BP (43), and slightly earlier evidence for human hunting of western camels and horses at Wally’s Beach, 420 km north of the Anzick site (17, 43), document the presence of people at the southern end of the corridor. Fluted point density maps indicate that this technology diminishes in frequency from the south to the north in the corridor region, consistent with the northward spread of this technology (1, 12, 42). By 12,500 cal y BP, fluted points are present at Charlie Lake Cave in British Columbia (along with clades 1a and 2b bison) and in sites in Alaska (13, 28).

    • Waters MR, Stafford TW Jr., Kooyman B, Hills LV (2015) Late Pleistocene horse and camel hunting at the southern margin of the ice-free corridor: Reassessing the age of Wally’s Beach, Canada. PNAS 112(14): 4263-4267.
      • Although this empirical record is small, some tentative patterns are emerging. First, only solitary animals appear to have been hunted from approximately 15,000–13,300 cal y B.P. Multiple animal kills at a single locality occurred after that time. As shown here, eight animals were killed at Wally’s Beach in a single event or as events that occurred over a short period around 13,300 cal y B.P. Similarly, at many of the later Clovis sites, multiple mammoths were killed during a single event or at the same locality over time. For example, at the Lehner site in the San Pedro Valley, AZ, 13 mammoths associated with Clovis projectile points were dated to 10,950 ± 40 14C y B.P. (12,735–12,825 cal y B.P.) (22). Furthermore, along a 30-km reach of the San Pedro Valley are five more Clovis kill sites with seven mammoth carcasses (22). Dense kill site areas such as these may represent hunters taking advantage of the aggregation of megafauna around waterholes as climate and environments rapidly changed at the very end of the Pleistocene (23). These animals may have been easy to find by following game trails that connected refugia (23).

      • The second pattern concerns the geographic distribution of the known kill sites. The oldest documented kill and butchering sites are concentrated along the edges of the continent, especially along the late Pleistocene ice margin (Fig. 1). This may reflect sample bias or may indicate that initial colonization of the continent first took place along the ice margin, a familiar environment to the first American migrants. In contrast, Clovis period megafauna hunting seems to have been primarily confined to the interior plains and deserts (Fig. 1), perhaps reflecting the last refugia of proboscideans.

      • Although climate and habitat change at the end of the Pleistocene likely played the most significant role in the decline of megafauna (24), hunting by humans was also surely a factor in the demise and extinction of some animals (25); hunting of dwindling megafauna populations would have negatively impacted these animals by increasing mortality rates and reducing recruitment rates (26, 27). The impact of hunting on megafaunal populations from approximately 15,000–13,000 cal y B.P. is unclear because the human population in North America was likely small at that time. The only hunting weapon dating to this time period at a butchering site is the tip of an osseous projectile point embedded in the rib of a mastodon at the Manis site in Washington (14). These early people likely also used stone projectile points, but these have not been found yet at an early kill and butchering site. The invention and deployment of the lanceolate, fluted projectile point—the hallmark of Clovis—by at least 13,000 cal y B.P. and its use until approximately 12,700 cal y B.P. along with the continued use of osseous weapons improved hunting success and likely helped drive the remaining megafauna to extinction.

Clovis style points travel north and possibly across the sea to Kamchatka (~12000 BCE)

  • Smith H, Goebel T (2018) Origins and spread of fluted-point technology in the Canadian Ice-Free Corridor and eastern Beringia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 115(16): 4116-4121. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1800312115
    • Results link morphologies and technologies of Clovis, certain western Canadian, and northern fluted points, suggesting that fluting technology arrived in the Arctic from a proximate source in the interior Ice-Free Corridor and ultimately from the earliest populations in temperate North America, complementing new genomic models explaining the peopling of the Americas.

    • Evidence for the dispersal of modern humans throughout the Americas has often been tied, archaeologically, to the emergence and spread of fluted-point technology in the Paleoindian era, as early as 13.4 thousand calendar years ago (ka) (1). Unique to the Americas, a flute removed from the base of a stone projectile point in preparation for attachment to a haft can serve as a proxy for investigating transmission of technology and material culture among the first Americans (2, 3). The earliest well-dated fluted projectile-point form—Clovis—occurs predominantly in the continental United States in contexts dating between 13.4 and 12.9 ka, coeval with rising temperatures of the Allerød interstadial (1, 4). By the onset of the Younger Dryas cooling event (12.85 ka) fluted points had become prevalent throughout the Western Hemisphere, in the process becoming variable in morphology and technology, hypothetically the result of technological adaptation to increasingly variable local ecological conditions, cultural drift, or both (5). Post-Clovis forms include Folsom in the Rocky Mountains and Plains, Barnes in the Great Lakes, Cumberland in the American Southeast, and fluted Fishtail in South America (6⇓–8). From eastern Beringia [i.e., Alaska and northern Yukon (Canada)] we can add northern fluted forms, now independently dated to 12.7–10.7 ka at two archaeological sites in northwest Alaska (9).

    • Until recently a lack of empirical evidence has prevented testing of any of these theories. New research into the environmental viability of the Corridor suggests that a connection between midcontinent fluted-point producers and the Arctic was possible and, thus, a historical relationship between fluted-point technologies in the two regions is plausible (12, 13).

    • In the trees rooted by a Clovis point from the Gault site, Texas (Fig. 4; see also Fig. S3 for positions of individual points), several ingroup taxa consistently appear early, partitioned by nodes A–F, which produced four northern fluted points, two Corridor specimens (from Sibbald Creek), two Clovis points (from Naco and Cactus Hill), and two points from the Great Lakes region (Crowfield). The seventh node (G) connects a polytomy comprising two clades, the first consisting of northern fluted (71%), Clovis (14%), and Folsom (14%) points; and the second, Clovis (34%), northern fluted (29%), Corridor (19%), Great Lakes (12%), Northeast (3%), and Folsom (3%) points; as well as the ancestor of the clades in which the remaining taxa occur. Nodes H–I partition four points from the Corridor, northern fluted, and Great Lakes (Crowfield and Thedford II) groups. Node J resulted in a polytomy where the frequencies of northern fluted (4%) and Clovis (7%) points are greatly diminished, while Northeast (43%) and Great Lakes (25%) points dominate the clades, followed by Corridor (14%) and Folsom (7%) points. The remaining character-state changes further partition taxa into clades characterized by a majority of Folsom points (nodes L and M) or Great Lakes and Northeast points (node S), both of which are joined by points from the Corridor that may represent the presence of these forms at some point in western Canada.

    • Cladistic analysis produced a pattern of character-trait distributions that suggests northern fluted points and specific points from the Ice-Free Corridor share more common ancestral and derived traits with Clovis than either do with points representing the Great Lakes, Northeast, or Folsom groups. Focusing on frequencies of points (taxa) organized into each clade, two additional trends become clear. First, the occurrence of Clovis points in all clades suggests that aspects of fluting technology present in the Clovis range of variation represent ancestral traits present in all variants of fluted points in this dataset (see also ref. 27). Second, resulting cladograms did not perfectly partition points into clades according to previously defined groups or typologies. We interpret this reshuffling to represent noise resulting from manufacturing reversals occurring at the individual level, discrepancies in original typological assignments or, in the case of the Corridor especially, the potential conflation of various fluted-point industries present during the latest Pleistocene and early Holocene. Despite this, the geographic distribution of points in the earliest clades supports the hypothesis that Clovis, early points from the Corridor, and northern fluted points share historical affinity and may represent either Clovis groups moving north through the Ice-Free Corridor to northern Yukon and Alaska, or the interaction of Clovis groups with humans already present in the northwestern Subarctic and Arctic. Both of these processes of fluted-point transmission to the north are supported by latitudinal and chronological trends. While many of the Corridor points are not associated with radiocarbon dates, two sites, Charlie Lake Cave (12.7–11.3 ka) and Lake Minnewanka (13.1–11.3 ka) (12, 29), date to just before or coeval with sites containing northern fluted points (9). The cladograms also suggest that many of the poorly dated Corridor points (30) have derived traits that better reflect different types from various regions than they do a local type or set of types. This suggests that fluted-point users from numerous regions including the Plains, Great Lakes, Northeast, and potentially even the Arctic were present in the Corridor at different points in time.

    • Bison were potentially integral to the adaptation of the northward-dispersing fluted-point makers. During the last glacial maximum (ca. 24 ka), bison clades of Beringia were genetically distinct from those living south of the ice sheets (32); however, by 12.3–12 ka, a southern clade of bison had dispersed northward into the Ice-Free Corridor, reaching the Northwest Territories and becoming sympatric with the northern clade (12). Our results suggest an analogous process of human dispersal or information transmission, with humans from the southern Ice-Free Corridor spreading north to Arctic Alaska. As fluting technology spread northward, bison (Bison sp.) were still common in the Corridor, from Charlie Lake Cave in central British Columbia to Engigstciack in northern Yukon (32, 39). In Arctic Alaska, however, bison became locally extinct by 13.5 ka (12, 40), so that fluted-point–using groups in the Far North had to adjust their predatory focus to caribou (Rangifer tarandus), which were better suited to the region’s tussock-tundra communities (41). Not surprisingly, faunal assemblages from the only buried and dated fluted-point sites in northwestern Alaska contain caribou, not bison (9). This shift toward caribou could have occurred in the Corridor, as fluted-point makers were pulled northward and eastward along the margin of the retreating Laurentide ice, resulting in high frequencies of ancestral traits shared by Clovis, the early Ice-Free Corridor, and Great Lakes point forms.

    • Also see:
  • Potter BA, Baichtal JF, Beaudoin AB, Fehren-Schmitz L, Haynes CV, Holliday VT, Holmes CE, Ives JW, Kelly RL, Llamas B, Malhi RS, Miller DS, Reich D, Reuther JS, Schiffels S, Surovell TA (2018) Current evidence allows multiple models for the peopling of the Americas. Science Advances. 4(8), eaat5473 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat5473
    • Current archeological data fit with terrestrial or coastal migrations (or both) that probably occurred well after the LGM, most probably after 16,000 years ago and before the widespread Paleoindian occupations around 13,500 years ago. This configuration of the empirical evidence explains the absence of consensus among archeologists and other scientists regarding both routes and timing of the peopling of the Americas, and should prompt us to continue systematic, geomorphologically targeted investigations along both pathways.

  • Sicoli MA, Holton G (2014) Linguistic Phylogenies Support Back-Migration from Beringia to Asia. PLoS ONE 9(3): e91722.
    • The result showed that the topology that modeled the out-of-central Asia hypotheses did not explain the data better. In fact the model without this constraint showed an average marginal likelihood over 8.5 log units higher than the model with the constraint, providing strong support for the radiation out-of-Beringia hypothesis. Comparison of the harmonic means between the runs was less conclusive at less than 2 log units but in the same direction. The Bayes factors indicate that a model placing Yeniseian outside a Na-Dene clade fits the data significantly worse than the model without this constraint. The two consensus trees resulting from these models are provided in Fig. 2. In tree (a) Na-Dene is constrained as an ingroup, while tree (b) does not use the constraint. These are majority rules consensus trees that include only clades with support in greater than 50% of the trees. The tree in (b) is much better supported than the tree in (a) and is also in general agreement with the groupings highlighted in Fig. 1. In this tree Yeniseian, Tlingit, Eyak and South PCA are at the same phylogenetic level without being in a hierarchical relationship with each other. The terminal output of these Bayes runs is included in File S3.

    • Should the DY hypothesis hold true, our application of computational phylogenetic methods supports an Out-of-Beringia population dispersal (Fig. 4) rather than the Out-of-Central/Western-Asia dispersal proposed by Ruhlen [5]. Bayesian comparison of models using Bayes factors based on marginal likelihood calculations provides no support for the Out-of-Central/Western-Asia hypotheses modeled by a taxonomic constraint that places Yeniseian as diverging early from a Na-Dene clade. Rather, the phylogeny with the strongest Bayes factor supports an early radiation from the center of the geographical distribution of the language family [37] in Beringia with migrations dispersing populations both along the North American Coast and back into Siberia, and subsequently population chains into the North American interior (Fig. 4). While we propose the first linguistically grounded argument for radiation out of Beringia, Tamm et al. [38] have proposed a strikingly parallel set of claims using mtDNA markers to argue for a “Beringian Standstill” before both a rapid early coastal migration into North America and back-migrations from Beringia into Asia. Here we have from linguistic data independent of archaeology or biology contributed to a theory of population dispersal that, while not contradicting the popular narrative of pedestrian hunters entering the New World through Beringia, complicates it with the insight that this was not a one-way trip.

  • Beck, C., & Jones, G. T. (2010). Clovis and Western Stemmed: Population migration and the meeting of two technologies in the Intermountain West. American Antiquity, 75(1), 81-116.
    • Hypothesizes Clovis points originate out of Texas.
  • Goebel, T., Waters, M. R., & Dikova, M. (2003). The archaeology of Ushki Lake, Kamchatka, and the Pleistocene peopling of the Americas. science, 301(5632), 501-505.
    • The confirmed cultural stratigraphy of the Ushki sites—specifically a “nonmicroblade” industry overlain by a microblade industry— replicates the cultural sequence known for central Alaska (24). In age and technological/typological character, component 7 at Ushki relates to the Nenana complex of central Alaska. Cultural occupations ascribed to the Nenana complex range in age from 14,000 to 12,800 cal years B.P. (22, 24), but cluster between 13,400 and 13,000 cal years B.P. Like component 7, Nenana complex industries contain small bifacial points and knives and unifacial tools made on flakes and blades, but lack microblades and burins. Thus, biface-and-blade industries occurred across Beringia during and just before the time of Clovis in western North America.

      Microblade and burin industries appear synchronously in the archaeological records at Ushki (component 6) and in Alaska (the Denali complex), shortly after 12,500 cal years B.P. (11, 25). Although this sudden and significant reorganization of technology could be the result of early Beringians adapting to colder conditions of the Younger Dryas (21, 26, 27), it more likely represents a second migration of northeast Asians into the region (28, 29), perhaps antecedents of modern Athabaskan (Na-Dene) peoples of northwest North America (30–32).

      The new dates from component 7 at Ushki show that this Siberian bifacial industry cannot by itself be the long-sought Clovis antecedent. Instead component 7 is coeval with the end of Clovis in North America. Thus, we are faced with an apparent dilemma in solving the Clovis-origins question, because there is now no clearly identifiable progenitor in Siberia. Perhaps the biface-and-blade complex of late glacial Beringia (to which we ascribe component 7 of Ushki along with the Nenana complex of central Alaska) did give rise to Clovis (2, 33); however, such a founding migration would have been very rapid, occurring in less than four centuries. Or perhaps Clovis developed in situ within North America and was derived from a much earlier migration from Siberia, a migration that could have occurred before the last glacial maximum (>24,000 cal years B.P.) (33–35). Only additional research in northeast Asia and the Americas will resolve this issue.

Aubrey Site, Texas, USA (11400 BCE)

Haida Gwaii (11450 BCE - 9050)

Western Fluted Point Tradition (11200 BCE - 9000 BCE)

Toca do Boqueirão da Pedra Furada, Piauí, Brazil (11822 BCE - 6150 BCE)

Clovis (11100 BCE)

Agument for late peopling of the Americas (11050 BCE)

  • Surovell, T. A., Allaun, S. A., Crass, B. A., Gingerich, J. A., Graf, K. E., Holmes, C. E., ... & Wygal, B. T. (2022). Late date of human arrival to North America: Continental scale differences in stratigraphic integrity of pre-13,000 BP archaeological sites. PloS one, 17(4), e0264092.
    • The oldest evidence for archaeological sites in the New World with large numbers of artifacts occurring in discrete and minimally disturbed stratigraphic contexts occur in eastern Beringia between 13,000 and 14,200 BP. South of the ice sheets, the oldest such sites occur in association with the Clovis complex. If humans managed to breach the continental ice sheets significantly before 13,000 BP, there should be clear evidence for it in the form of at least some stratigraphically discrete archaeological components with a relatively high artifact count. So far, no such evidence exists. These findings support the hypothesis that the first human arrival to the New World occurred by at least 14,200 BP in Beringia and by approximately 13,000 BP in the temperate latitudes of North America. Strong evidence for human presence before those dates has yet to be identified in the archaeological record.

    • In my scrutiny of this idea, it would stand to reason that every date we have for everything where the glacial melt caused have inundated regions at some point in the past is also wrong and other kinds of correction need to be done. Also, what relationship does this have to other methods of measuring chronology that don't rely as much on stratigraphy?

Belson Site, Outwash Plains of Central Great Lakes, USA (~11050 BCE)

Ållerød–Younger Dryas boundary (11000 BCE - 10900 BCE)

See Earth Science, Megafuana, Horses, Population Growth, & Economics

Northern Channel Islands, California, USA (11000 BCE)

Topper-Allendale, South Carolina, USA (11000 BCE)

Quebrada Los Burros, Peru (11000 BCE - 9000 BCE)

Post Pattern (11000 BCE - 7000 BCE)

Hoyo Negro, Quintana Roo, Mexico (10910 - 9750 BCE)

Human skeleton found:

Carnivores from South America found:

Rummells-Maske, Iowa, USA (10850 - 10590 BCE)

Anzick burial (10700 BCE)

Shell Fishhooks - Isla Cedros, Baja California, MX (10450 BCE)

Paisley 5 Mile Point Caves, Oregon, USA (10400 BCE, previously 12300 BCE)

El Abra, Columbia (10400 BCE)

12,300-Year-Old Hearth Unearthed in Utah (10350 BCE)

Earliest known usage of tobacco (10350 BCE)

  • Duke, D., Wohlgemuth, E., Adams, K. R., Armstrong-Ingram, A., Rice, S. K., & Young, D. C. (2021). Earliest evidence for human use of tobacco in the Pleistocene Americas. Nature Human Behaviour, 1-10.
    • Nicotiana seeds are readily identifiable at the genus level, but species identification is challenging given overlapping morphological attributes29,52–55. Because tobacco seeds ripen inside stiff-walled capsules, individual seed shape is affected to some extent by being packed up against other seeds during development, contributing to minor variability. The seeds from the Wishbone site hearth closely resemble N. attenuata Torr. Ex S. Wats., which is common in the Great Basin29,56, and its use by indigenous peoples has been well documented in this region5,8,57–60. N. attenuata seeds average 0.7–1.0 mm long by 0.5–0.8 mm wide and have a reniform to angular-reniform shape, dark grey-brown colour, prominent hilum and reticulate to fluted-reticulate surface ornamentation with wavy walls11,52,61. The Wishbone site seeds (Fig. 1) are charred and discoloured, but they are otherwise consistent on each attribute with N. attenuata and compare favourably with published microphotos29,52. The other relevant western species are N. quadrivalvis Pursh and N. obtusifolia M. Martens & Galeotti (formerly N. trigonophylla). (There are several varieties of N. quadrivalvis, a few of which are indehiscent, suggesting domestication29,62–64.) Charred seeds from either of these may be confused with N. attenuata if found in shared geography, but the Wishbone site is located in the eastern Great Basin, away from their common ranges11,29,56. N. attenuata is a cold-adapted, drought-tolerant species well suited to the higher-latitude Great Basin56. N. quadrivalvis is intolerant to frost, high temperatures and dry conditions and is most abundant in California, west of the Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin Desert62,63,65. N. obtusifolia is likewise frost-intolerant but favours high temperatures and dry conditions; it is most abundant in the southern deserts of the United States and Mexico56,63. Colder terminal Pleistocene conditions—on the order of 6–7 °C in the eastern Great Basin66—would have exaggerated these distinctions, favouring N. attenuata habitat range at the expense of the other two species. The geographic probability combined with the observable seed characteristics supports a classification of the Wishbone site seeds as N. attenuata.

    • On the basis of these lines of evidence, the introduction of Nicotiana by cultural agents is the most parsimonious explanation for its presence at the Wishbone site. This interpretation is strengthened by the general lack within the control samples of the other plant species found in the hearth (Chenopodium berlandieri, Calandrinia spp. and Deschampsia spp.), although some Chenopodium spp. seeds were identified (Table 2). Taken together, the evidence represents a common archaeological profile for human-introduced small seed components in the intact hearths of the Great Basin and California dating throughout the Holocene71–76.

    • The find recalibrates research on tobacco as a domesticate, putting some 8,000 to 10,000 years of human use before the great efflorescence of agriculture in North America and the domestication of N. tabacum and N. rustica at some point alongside a host of food crops. This has implications for examining how long-term cultural relationships with plants shape and respond to further developments. Tobacco’s early use lends to the interpretation that there is nothing inevitable about domestication. Rather, it is one result of a feedback process between humans and plants that is best understood as mutually beneficial at any given time, then moves forwards according to local refinements from a base of traditional ecological knowledge17,18,28. The place of tobacco among other disturbance-pioneering weedy species (a few found in the Wishbone site hearth and in other North American sites from its time83–85) suggests that it was part of a complex of early successional small seed plants known to people in the terminal Pleistocene. These could have helped underwrite hunter–gatherer diet and nutrition86–88 alongside the high-calorie food packages, usually hunted, that drove broader land use priorities. Although not a food plant, tobacco’s long heritage with humans, entailing both use and abuse, represents one view from the sociocultural side of a broader plant intensification process that manifested itself differently according to local socioeconomic incentives and pressures. With its rich history in Western commerce, influence and cross-cultural impact, tobacco is uniquely suited to examining this process through a connection to many societal facies since the Pleistocene.

Mesoamerican Paleo Indian (10000 BCE - 3500 BCE)

Paleoindian ochre mines in the submerged caves of the Yucatán Peninsula (10080 BCE - 7970 BCE)

Stone tool tradition in Belieze (10050 BCE – 5350 BCE)

  • Prufer KM, Alsgaard AV, Robinson M, Meredith CR, Culleton BJ, Dennehy T, et al. (2019) Linking late Paleoindian stone tool technologies and populations in North, Central and South America. PLoS ONE 14(7): e0219812.
    • We document a late Pleistocene/early Holocene stone tool tradition from Belize, located in southern Mesoamerica. This represents the first endogenous Paleoindian stone tool technocomplex recovered from well dated stratigraphic contexts for Mesoamerica. Previously designated Lowe, these artifacts share multiple features with contemporary North and South American Paleoindian tool types. Once hafted, these bifaces appear to have served multiple functions for cutting, hooking, thrusting, or throwing. The tools were developed at a time of technological regionalization reflecting the diverse demands of a period of pronounced environmental change and population movement. Combined stratigraphic, technological, and population paleogenetic data suggests that there were strong ties between lowland neotropic regions at the onset of the Holocene.

    • Lack of knowledge of the Paleoindian period in southern Mesoamerica, a critical early migration bottleneck, has impeded our understanding of the peopling of the Americas and how early New World migrants adapted to emergent tropical environments. Here we present new archaeological and chronological data from stratigraphic excavations in unusually well preserved rockshelter contexts in southern Belize. We securely reassign the chronology of a stone tool technocomplex to 12,000–9,300 years ago linking it to changes in stone tool technology in North America and tropical Central and South America. This is the first securely dated Paleoindian tool technocomplex for southern Mesoamerica.

    • To test the integrity of our chronology we developed depositional models for both units at TY (Fig 5a and 5b). These consistently show poor model agreement and high 1σ and 2σ model errors post-8,500 calBP with age reversals in the disturbed jute midden, but excellent agreement and low 1σ and 2σ model errors in the consolidated lower levels of the jute midden and red and yellow clay layers. The basal age of Unit 7 is very early, calBP 16,939–16,474, 2σ (model combined 2 dates 13,660+/-70, PSUAMS 2666 and 13,845+/-35 UCIAMS 174067). A third concordant date on a carbonized seed from 10cm above (13,850+/-730, UCIAMS-170149) was not modeled because of its larger error due to small sample size but is included in Table 1. The context where the seeds and charcoal were recovered also included small amounts of flaked chert debitage and fragments of faunal bone of small unidentifiable mammals. While these dates are consistent with some very early pre-Clovis contexts [55,56] we consider any association of this date and human activity to be provisional and pending additional excavation and documentation.

      • Ooh! People lived here and deposited stuff in the middens since between 16939 and 16474 years ago.
    • At the end of the Pleistocene, bifacial stone tool technologies were widespread across the New World [28,62]. By 12,700 BP Clovis was no longer manufactured [31] and Lowe complex bifaces likely appear towards the end of the FPP traditions and the NA Folsom tradition. Both early technocomplexes are spread over large subcontinental areas [35,63,64], but Folsom is restricted to the Great Plains and western NA and has not been reported for the neotropics. FPP have primarily been recovered from SA, from the Southern Cone to the Amazon, but are also found as far north as southern Mexico [65,66]. Subsequent late Paleoindian traditions have greater diversity in biface types reflecting increasing regionalization in NA [67] and SA [38–40,68]. We suggest that Lowe complex points (Lowe, Sawmill, Allspice, and Ya’axche’) represent such a regional lithic tradition with distinctive features that are shared with some technological complexes in NA and others in SA, but with a primary focus on tropical regions of lower CA and northern SA.

    • The Lowe tradition is a technological lithic complex unique to southern Mesoamerica. It shares features with contemporaneous stemmed point types found primarily in tropical areas of SA and lower CA, but is also related to ancestral Paleoindian complexes in NA. Its development corresponds with a pattern of regionalization and diversification reflected in similar age tools found throughout the Americas [98] at a time of changing Holocene environments. Links to NA are complicated by a dearth of supporting data on early technocomplexes from the large geographic space encompassed by most of central and southern Mexico, making it hard to find evidence for lateral cultural transmission of technological knowledge from NA to southern Mesoamerica.

(meanwhile, across the pond) Göbekli Tepe, Anatolia (9990 ± 30 BC)

This is the first known example of lithic architecture built on a raised platform. Because of how this was found around some of the earliest known agriculture, it sets a little bit of the pattern for what happens as people develop agriculture and temple like structures. As it happens there's a lot of psuedoarcheological claims around this, but the evidence points to it being a community center with many more temporary habitations around it:

Articles against the fringe (which all have citations):

Scholarly Research:

(meanwhile, across the pond) Ural Mountains: Shigit peat bog (9000-8000 BCE)

This is the oldest known anthropomorhic wooden sculpture.

Upper Sun River Burial (9600 BCE - 9270 BCE)

Evidenace for Salmon use (Upward Sun River Site) (~9500 BCE)

Evidence for human clam relationships in the NW (~9500 BCE)

Caverna da Pedra Pintada, Pará, Brazil (9200 BCE)

Clovis Points in Zacatecas, MX (9050 BCE)

Cueva Fell, Patagonia, Chile (9000 BCE)

Folsom Tradition (9000 BCE - 8000 BCE)

Llanos de Moxos, SW Amazonia, Bolivia (8650 BCE - 2050 BCE)

Asana - Asana River, Andes, Peru (8550 BCE - 1550 BCE)

Structures are dated from 3550 BCE to 1650 BCE. The earliest ceremonial structure is from 2850 BCE. It is a "Dance Ground" from the Kotosh Culture.

Dalton Tradition (8500 BCE - 7900 BCE)

Manioc (cassava, yuca) domesticated in Llanos de las Moxos (8400 BCE)

On Your Knees Cave, Tongass National Forest, Alaska, USA (8300 BCE)

Early Archaic (8000 BCE - 6000 BCE)

Arabian fluted points arise independently of "New World" fluted points (6086 BCE – 5716 BCE)

Ajuereado Phase, Tehuacán Valley, MX (9000 BCE - 7000 BCE)

Plano Cultures - Canada, USA, MX (9000 BCE - 6000 BCE)

  • Plano Culture
  • Plano Culture. A History of the Native People of Canada. Vol 1.
    • The name 'Plano' derives from the fact that the culture was first recognized on the Plains. In part, the name is a misnomer as Plano culture extends from the Southern Plateau of British Columbia to the Atlantic coast and from Keewatin District in the Northwest Territories to the Gulf of Mexico. More so than the Early Archaic complexes of the east, Plano culture's occupation of a number of markedly different environments mimics that of its Palaeo-Indian ancestors. The core area of the culture, however, was the Plains and whether Plano culture is found on the Gaspé coast of Québec or the Barrengrounds of the Northwest Territories, its origin was originally the Plains.

    • Basically, they went through the whole region where the bison roamed.
  • The Early Plano culture was primarily based in the Plains of Canada, with offshoots as far east as the Gaspe Peninnsula and as far northwest as the Peace River Valley of Alberta and British Columbia. Plano was also widespread in the United States, extending south to the Gulf of Mexico. Some tools found in the Canadian Plains were made from stone sources in the US. Source

  • Agate Basin Site, WY, USA
  • Cody Complex near Cody, WY, USA (encompases the following three regions)
  • Lamb Spring in Douglas County, CO, USA
  • Olsen-Chubbuck Bison Kill Site near Kit Carson, CO, USA
  • Jurgens Site near Greeley, CO, USA
  • Hell Gap Complex, WY, USA
  • Jones-Miller Bison Kill Site in Yuma County, CO, USA
  • Foothills / Mountain Complex, CO, USA

Guilá Naquitz Cave, Oaxaca, Mexico (8800 BCE - 6950 BCE)

This is this site of the first domestication of Squash. This indicates that domestication of some plants started around the same time as it did in China and the Near East.

El Riego Phase - Tehuacán Valley, MX (8650 BCE - 5700 BCE)

Balsas River Valley - MX (7200 BCE - ?)

Shawnee Minnisink, Pennsylvania, USA (8600 BCE)

South Carolina Piedmont, South Carolina, USA (8000 BCE)

An 8000-year record of vegetation, climate, and human disturbance from the Sierra de Apaneca, El Salvador (8000 BCE)

Las Vegas culture - Santa Elena, Ecuador (8000 BCE - 4600)

This area was followed by the Valdivia culture in 3500 BCE.

Paleo-Arctic Tradition (8000 BCE - 5000 BCE)

Monte Castelo, Rondonia, Brazil (7545 BCE - ~1250 CE)

University House Burials, La Jolla, California, USA (7500 BCE)

Trail Creek Caves, Seward Peninsula, Alaska, USA (7000 BCE)

Chinchorro Culture - N Chile, S Peru (7000 BCE - 1500 CE)

Eventually came under the Tiwanaku Empire. Possibly extends back to Monte Verde, Quebrada Jaguay, and Quebrada Tacahuay.

Tlingit Petroglyphs

Speaking of Rock Art

Anangula Site - Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA (6400 BC)

Maritime Archaic - Canada: Labrador, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia; USA: Maine, Vermount, Newhampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Islnd, Connecticut (7000 BCE - 1800 BEC)

Soro Mik'aya Patjxa - West of Lake Titicaca, Ilave River Basin, SE of Puno, Peru (6050 BCE - 4750 BCE)

The name is probably Aymara.

Checua - Nemocón, Cundinamarca, Colombia (6550 BCE - 1050 BCE)

Pre-muisca, overlaps with Herrera.

Middle Archaic (6000 BCE - 3000 BCE)

Old Copper Complex - USA, Canada (6550 BCE - 1630 BCE)

  • Malakoff, D. (2021). Great Lakes people among first coppersmiths. Science. March 19.
    • The analyses showed copper mining began about 9500 years ago in some areas—some 3500 years earlier than once thought. It also ended earlier, about 5400 years ago, Pompeani reported in The Holocene in 2015.

  • Pompeani, D., Steinman, B., Abbott, M., Pompeani, K., Reardon, W., DePasqual, S., & Mueller, R. (2021). ON THE TIMING OF THE OLD COPPER COMPLEX IN NORTH AMERICA: A COMPARISON OF RADIOCARBON DATES FROM DIFFERENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONTEXTS. Radiocarbon, 63(2), 513-531. doi:10.1017/RDC.2021.7
    • Excluding three anomalously young samples, the ages of embedded organic material associated with 15 OCC copper artifacts range from 8500 to 3580 cal BP, confirming that the OCC is among the oldest known metalworking societies in the world.

    • 14C dates obtained from embedded organic material and cremated remains are contemporaneous with increases in Pb concentrations from ca. 9500 to 5000 cal BP in sediments from six lakes (Figure 1) on the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale (Pompeani 2015; Pompeani et al. 2015; Pompeani et al. 2013) (Figure 8).

    • We propose that this marks the timing of the peak in the ancient copper industry, an assertion supported by previous research demonstrating that the earliest reliable material associated with an OCC artifact dates to 5940 ± 90 BP (Beukens et al. 1992). The 14C ages presented herein and by Reardon (2014) push back the oldest known copper artifact age to at least 7690 ± 40 BP (ca. 8500 cal BP), thus demonstrating that the OCC is among the oldest reliably dated metalworking industries in the world.

    • 6550 BCE - 1630 BCE
  • Bebber, M. (2019). The Role of Tool Function in the Decline of North America's Old Copper Culture (6000-3000 BP): An evolutionary and experimental approach. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from
    • Likewise, it has been assumed that copper tools such as those made in the North American Archaic (10,000 BP – 3000 BP) would have been superior to their stone counterparts due to their implicit durability and related performance benefits (Binford 1962). This sounds plausible, however, the performance of native copper implements has never been tested experimentally. This dissertation presents the results of three experiments that use artifact replication and modern testing procedures to assess the comparative performance of tools made from native copper, stone, and bone.

    • Copper in its pure form is a relatively soft metal that is highly conductive. It has a cubic crystal structure (face centered cubic), which gives it a high level of ductility and makes it easy to work via hot or cold hammering (Capudean 2003; Davis 2001; Notis 2014). Extensive cold working will make the copper difficult to shape, ultimately causing the metal to become overly brittle (LaRonge 2001; Vernon 1990). However, copper can be annealed at low temperatures (400° C) to eliminate brittleness. Research shows that members of the Old Copper Culture used combined production methods of hot hammering, cold hammering, and annealing to manufacture their copper implements (LaRonge 2001; Leader 1988; Vernon 1990). Due to the purity of the native copper deposits, the metal could be used in its raw form with no need of smelting or casting (Martin 1999). As such, forging was the primary smithing technique used by native North American metallurgists (LaRonge 2001), and would have been the earliest technique used in other areas of the world.

    • To address the question of why we see a shift from a functional copper toolkit to an almost purely ceremonial use of copper, a series of experimental studies was initiated which used artifact replication and principles of material science to compare copper, stone, and bone implements in terms of their relative functional efficiency.

    • Therefore, given that there is no functional advantage from copper, and that copper mining and production was likely much more labor intensive than that of stone sourcing and tool production, it follows that in the long run, stone is the better raw material, at least for projectile points, when assessed from an overall efficiency standpoint.

    • Once again, when we consider the front loaded effort required to produce copper tools, the net energy expenditure would likely have been much higher for copper than stone -- and thus, even though these results suggest that there is no overall functional difference between copper and stone knives – it can be concluded that, due to stone’s initial sharpness advantage, and the ease of sourcing and manufacturing, stone would have ultimately offered a selective advantage.

    • In contrast to first two experiments, the results show that, in this instance, copper tools offer a clear functional advantage over those made of bone. For each iteration, the copper awls used significantly less force to puncture the substrate. These results suggest that copper awls may have outlasted other copper tool types due to superior performance. The results of the punching test show that, in contrast to the first two tests comparing copper knives and spear points—here it appears that copper tools offer a clear functional advantage via reduced energy requirements for completing the same task. In every individual test run, the copper awls performed significantly better than their bone counterparts in terms of leather punching efficiency.

  • Old Copper Complex
  • Jopling, Carol F. “The Coppers of the Northwest Coast Indians: Their Origin, Development, and Possible Antecedents.” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 79, no. 1, 1989, pp. i-164. JSTOR.
  • Eyman F (1969) Metallurgy of the Tlingit, Dene, and Eskimo. Expedition Magazine. 11(3).

Trade between here and the south east:

Carribean (5840 BCE - 5720 BCE)

Coxcatlan Phase - Tehuacán Valley, MX (5700 BCE - 3825 BCE)

El Tajin - Papantla, Veracruz, MX - Totonac (5600 BCE - 1230 BCE)

  • El Tajin

    The Huastec may have been here first. The rise of the civilization seemed to mirror that of the Olmecs.

Chantuto - Soconusco, Chiapas, MX - Earliest Mokaya? (5500 BCE - 1500 BCE)

Mayo-Chinchipe Culture (5500 BCE - 1700 BCE)

Overlap with the Potential Origin of Cacao

  • Zarrillo, S., Gaikwad, N., Lanaud, C., Powis, T., Viot, C., Lesur, I., ... & Valdez, F. (2018). The use and domestication of Theobroma cacao during the mid-Holocene in the upper Amazon. Nature ecology & evolution, 2(12), 1879-1888. — Lays out an interesting connection between the cacao cultivated by the "Olmec" and the cacao of this region.
    • This long-held idea that T. cacao was first domesticated in Mesoamerica, where it was isolated from its wild relatives, has been buoyed by archaeological, ethnohistoric and iconographic evidence10,13. However, recent genomic research on T. cacao shows that its greatest genetic diversity occurs in the humid forests of the upper Amazon tributaries region, suggesting that its earliest use and initial domestication originated there (Fig.1)14–17. Here we report that T. cacao was used in Ecuador by 5,450–5,300 cal. yr BP, predating its earliest known use in Central America and Mexico by approximately 1.5 millennia.
    • Theobroma cacao diversity has recently been classified into ten genetic groups, with three main ‘old domesticated’ varieties. The geographic locale and the approximate dates of their originare: the Criollo variety, cultivated in Mexico for approximately 3,900 years2,14; the Nacional variety, cultivated in Ecuador for at least 500 years16 and the Amelonado variety, originating from Brazil and cultivated for nearly 300 years37. The Zamora-Chinchipe province has already been shown as the centre of domestication of the fine flavour cacao Nacional variety of Ecuador16. However, the origin of the aDNA from ceramic residues seems closer to the Purus and Curaray groups than to the Nacional variety, suggesting that the Nacional variety was domesticated more recently than the Theobroma trees used between approximately 5,300 and 3,700 cal. yr BP in the SALF region.
    • Representatives of the ancestral Criollo variety introduced in Central America, and cultivated by Olmec and Maya people, can be identified in the current cacao population cultivated in Central America14. These trees, highly homozygous, constitute one of the ancestors of the present hybrid Criollo population (named Trinitario) and are also closer to the Purus or Curaray genetic groups16, as is the aDNA from SALF. Modern T. cacao trees belonging to both genetic groups are presently found in the Zamora-Chinchipe region where SALF is located, and these trees extend north to the Colombian Amazon region. These findings highlight the important role the Curaray/Purus cacao groups in the upper Amazon may have played in cacao domestication events occurring at different times, but also raise questions regarding their dispersal from Amazonia to both the Pacific coast of Ecuador and to Central America.
    • In this regard, artefacts from SALF also reveal linkages to the Pacific coast. Funeral offerings from Tomb 2 included a stirrup-spout bottle (Fig.2, Supplementary Note 1, Supplementary Fig. 1 and Supplementary Table 2), from which interior residue sample PLD-001 was obtained. Strikingly, the human effigy stirrup-spout bottle (Fig.2) shows a human face emerging from a Spondylus bivalve (Spondylus crassisquama Lamark, 1819, formerly known as S. princeps Broderip, 1833), found only along the far northwest coast of Peru to Baja California38. Moreover, other artefacts found in tombs at SALF included shell fragments and beads made of Strombus spp. shell, which also originates along the Pacific coast18 (Supplementary Note 1). It is evident then that the people of the Mayo-Chinchipe culture were in contact with groups on the Pacific coast, either through direct or indirect trade of goods18,22. These exchanges undoubtedly also involved culturally important plants22,39.
    • Hmmm, that does correspond with several trade routes of a few cultures, including the Olmec/Mokaya.

San Andrés, Tabasco, MX - Olmec (5300 BCE - 350 BCE)

Mount Taylor period - Northeastern Florida, USA (5000 BCE - 2000 BCE)

Maize in Llanos de las Moxos (4900 BCE)

See (Lombardo, Iriarte, Hilbert, et al. 2020).

Maize in Huaca Prieta (4825 BCE)

See (Dillehay TD et al. 2017)

Horr's Island archaeological site - Island off Southern Florida, USA (4730 - 2030 BCE)

Zaña Valley, Peru (4700 BCE or 2500 BCE)

This could be the first use of irrigation canals in the "Americas".

Valdivia Culture - Santa Elena, Ecuador (4400 BCE - 1450 BCE)

Area later ocupied by Manteño civilization in 850 CE.

(meanwhile, across the pond) Tepe Hissar, Iran (4300 BCE)

Indigo in Huaca Prieta (4250 BCE)

(meanwhile, across the pond) Tripolye, Modern Eastern Romania + Molova + South Eastern Ukraine (4100–3600 BCE)

Bandurria - Huacho, Huaura, Lima, Perú (4100 BCE - 2000 BCE) - Norte Chico/Caral Culture

This complex contains what would be the first stepped pyramid in the Americas, and possibly the world.

Contains a circular plaza area.

Vichama, Huaura, Peru (4100 BCE - 2000 BCE) - Norte Chico/Caral Culture

Copena Culture - Muscle Shoals, Colbert County, Alabama, USA (4000 BCE - 500 CE)

Called copena because of their use of copper and galena. Became part of the Hopewell Tradition.

Abejas Phase - Tehuacán Valley, MX (3825 BCE - 2600 BCE)

cultura sechín

Early corn (Chapolote) in Fremont Culture - Bat Cave, New Mexico, USA (3600 BCE - 2300 BCE)

Genetic admixture between Maya and common ancestor to present-day Chibchan speakers (3650 BCE - 1750 BCE)

This precedes the adoption of larger scale corn agriculture in the Maya region.

Huaricanga, Peru - Norte Chico/Cala Culture (3570 BCE - 1800 BCE)

Mesoamerican Paleo Indian Period Ends (3500 BCE)

Santa Ana (La Florida) - Palanda Canton, Zamora-Chinchipe Province, Ecuador (3500 BCE) - Mayo-Chinchipe Culture

Contains lots of stone circles.

Sechín Bajo - Supe Valley, Barranca Province, Peru (3500 BCE) - cultura sechín

Has circular components.

El Paraíso - San Martin de Porres, Chillon River Valley, Peru (3500 BCE - 1800 BCE)

Watson Brake - Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, USA (3500 BCE - 2800 BCE)

Jisk'a Iru Muqu - SE of Puno, Peru, West of Lake Titicaca (3400 BCE - 1600 BCE)

The name means something like "small grass knot" in Aymara. Gold beads found are dated to 2155 BCE - 1936 BCE. Red Ochre was used starting around 3200 BCE.

Earliest Adobe at Los Morteros - lower Chao Valley, Peru (3150 BCE)

Late Archaic (3000 BCE - 1000 BCE)

Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung (Genwaajiwanaang, Manitou Mounds) - Rainy River District, Northwestern Ontario, Canada - Ojibway (3000 BCE - 1630 CE)

Red Paint People - Same range as the Maritime Archaic, USA & Canada (3000 BCE - 1000 CE)

Superseded by the Susquehannock, though it seems no one is actually sure?

Waukegan, Michigan, USA (3000 BCE)

Fishing Intensification in Babitonga Bay - Babitonga Bay, Santa Catarina, Brazil

La Galgada/San Pedro - Tauca District, Pallasca Province, Peru (3000 - ?)

Occupation was carbon dated to at least 3000 BCE.

Piruro - Huánuco Region, Huamalíes Province, Tantamayo District (3000 BCE - ?)

The stone structures were built between 2100 BCE and 1930 BCE.

There are similar sites:

Huaricoto - Áncash department, Peru (2796 BCE - 200 BCE)

In the Mito/Kotosh style.

(meanwhile, across the pond) Monte d'Accoddi, Sassari, Sardegna, Italia (~2700 BCE)

This rework of a previous mastaba-like structure to add another few levels.

(meanwhile, across the pond) Djoser Pyramid, Saqqara, Egypt (~2680 BCE)

This kicks off the tradition of building pyramids. The Great Pyramid of Giza would be built 100 years later.

Stallings Island, Georgia, USA (2600 BCE - 1400 BCE)

This island in the Savannah River was occupied over two time periods: 2600 BCE - 2000 BCE and 1800 BCE - 1400 BCE.

Caral/Áspero, Supe Valley, Barranca Province, Peru (2600 BCE)

This is one of the first modern cities in the Americas including irrigation agriculture. It is contemporaneous with cities across the pond. Recently, it has been discovered that Bandurria, Peru is older.

Contains a circular arena.

  • Áspero (Caral)
  • Belsie L (2002) Civilization lost? The Christian Science Monitor. January 3.
    • A civilization arises because it controls something important. Mesopotamia prospered once it irrigated the desert and produced an abundance of food. Caral diverted water from the Supe River to irrigate fields, growing staples such as squash and beans. But its secret weapon may have been cotton. By growing cotton, used to make fishing nets, the people of Caral could trade for fish with the communities on the Pacific coast 12 miles away. Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of fish bones.

    • "There's a problem of self-identification in the country," Shady answers when locals ask her why Peru is so backward today. When Caral flourished, "the society was organized with a population that worked to do things collectively for the collective good. But with the rupture from the arrival of the Spaniards [3,500 years later], there was no more interest in the country except as a source of minerals to be exported to Spain."

    • Even after the colonizers were thrown out, she says, "our leaders, generally because of problems of identity and self-esteem, believed that everything from abroad was good. Never again did they try to understand the country from its geography, from its history, from its social problems."

  • Soli RS, Haas J, Creamer W (2001) Dating Caral, a Preceramic Site in the Supe Valley on the Central Coast of Peru. Science. 292(5517): 723-726.
  • Smithsonian Staff (2002) First City in the New World? Smithsonian Magazine. August 2002.
    • It was evidence of another crop in the excavations that gave Shady the best clue to the mystery of Caral’s success. In nearly every excavated building, her team discovered great quantities of cotton seeds, fibers and textiles. Her theory fell into place when a large fishing net, unearthed at an unrelated dig on Peru’s coast, turned out to be as old as Caral. “The farmers of Caral grew the cotton that the fishermen needed to make the nets,” Shady speculates. “And the fishermen gave them shellfish and dried fish in exchange for these nets.” In essence, the people of Caral enabled fishermen to work with larger and more effective nets, which made the resources of the sea more readily available. The Caral people probably used dried squash as flotation devices for nets and also as containers, thus obviating any need for ceramics.

    • Eventually Caral would spawn 17 other pyramid complexes scattered across the 35-square-mile area of the Supe Valley. Then, around 1600 B.C., for reasons that may never be answered, the Caral civilization toppled, though it didn’t disappear overnight. “They had time to protect some of their architectural structures, burying them discreetly,” says Shady. Other nearby areas, such as Chupacigarro, Lurihuasi and Miraya, became centers of power. But based on Caral’s size and scope, Shady believes that it is indeed the mother city of the Incan civilization.

  • Chu A (2008) Bandurria: Arena, mar y humedal en el surgimiento de la Civilización Andina. Hualmay, Huaura, Perú. Servicios Gráficos Jackeline.
  • Gallery: Sacred City of Caral-Supe

Oldest Domesticated Crescentia cujete

  • Moreira, P. A., Aguirre-Dugua, X., Mariac, C., Zekraoui, L., & Vigouroux, Y. (2017). Diversity of treegourd (Crescentia cujete) suggests introduction and prehistoric dispersal routes into Amazonia. Front Ecol Evol 5: 1–13.
    • While the great phenotypic variability of cultivated treegourd is a distinctive feature among Crescentia species (Gentry, 1980), its wild populations from Mexican savannahs in the Yucatan Peninsula have smaller, elongated fruits with thinner exocarps (Aguirre-Dugua et al., 2012). The indehiscent and thicker exocarp of cultivated treegourd fruits makes the spontaneous dispersal of seeds impossible (Aguirre-Dugua et al., 2012). Its oldest remains found to date come from a Peruvian archaeological site dating to 5,000–3,800 years BP (Solis, 2006). This pattern contrasts to the bottle gourd, collected from a vine (Lagenaria siceraria), one of the ancient crops similarly used for technological purposes in the Americas (Heiser, 1993). Bottle gourd has been managed at least since the Late Pleistocene (Kistler et al., 2014) and was found in Colombian Amazon by 8,000 BP (Piperno, 2011). The wild progenitor of the cultivated Crescentia cujete remains elusive (Gentry, 1980; Arango-Ulloa et al., 2009; Aguirre-Dugua et al., 2012; Moreira et al., 2017). Gentry (1980) pointed out that C. cujete was certainly native to Mesoamerica, where putative wild populations are found in savannahs and semi-evergreen forests of southern Mexico and northern Central America (Figure 1). However, northern South America cannot be ruled out as part of the original distribution area of wild C. cujete, given the occurrence of apparently spontaneous C. cujete in grazed savannahs of Andean and Caribbean regions of Colombia (Arango-Ulloa et al., 2009).

    • Cultivated C. cujete are quite similar from Mexico to Brazil, suggesting a common genetic origin. But these cultivated types are strongly differentiated from wild types, both from Mexico and Amazonia, suggesting these wild populations are not the direct ancestors of cultivated C. cujete. The geographical origin of the domestication of this species is still uncertain. However, the high diversity of cultivated C. cujete from Mexico, compared to Amazonia, suggests that its origin may be in Central America. Diversity analyses allowed discussion of the different routes of introduction into Amazonia and subsequent dispersal. More than one route may have been used: a northwestern introduction into the Negro and Solimões Rivers; and an eastern introduction fromthe coastal Guianas into the Amazonas River. Finally, fruit shape diversity suggests distinct selection pressures across the crop’s distribution.

    • Nevertheless, our results provide evidence that introduction of domesticated C. cujete in Mexico and Amazonia originated from the same source, given the Mexican relationship with Amazonian samples (Figure 3A, yellow and green clusters) and occurrence of wild Mesoamerican alleles in cultivated Amazonian C. cujete samples.

    • The patterns of treegourd genetic diversity across the Amazon Basin allow two, not mutually exclusive, hypotheses of introduction: a Northwestern route and an Eastern route. A Northwestern route into the upper Negro River is supported by the relatively high levels of heterozygosity and fruit shape diversity (Table 2), higher proportions of Mexican ancestry (Figure 3A, green cluster) and higher frequency of the most common haplotype in Mexico (Figure 4B, haplotype H2). This route into Negro River is possible from the Orinoco River, given the fluvial connections via de Cassiquiare canal. This route was part of an extensive social trading network (Hornborg, 2005), based at least in part on the Arawak network (Eriksen and Danielsen, 2014). This route has also been suggested for various crop dispersals (Schultes, 1984), such as cocona (Solanum sessiliflorum), whose populations were domesticated in the upper Orinoco River (Volpato et al., 2004) and which was widely cultivated in Northwestern Amazonia (Schultes, 1957). Similarly, people from the upper Negro River reported intentional collection of treegourd propagules from the Cassiquiare, where treegourd is considered a spontaneous tree in the floodplains, while along the Negro River cultivation demands more effort (P.A.M., personal observation).

    • A possible Western route into the upper Solimões River is partially supported by heterozygosity and fruit diversity (Table 2); the presence of all fruit shapes described enhances the possibility (Figure 5B). Moderately high nucleotide diversity with the highest number of haplotypes are the strongest evidence (Table 2), especially because hybridization with wild populations was not reported (Moreira et al., 2017), suggesting that this is C. cujete diversity. This route might reflect introduction from the Pacific coast and crossing of the Andes mountains via the Napo and Putumayo rivers (Schultes, 1984), as might be the case of cacao (Theobroma cacao) (Thomas et al., 2012) and peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) (Rodrigues et al., 2005) demonstrated by molecular evidence. However, it is also possible that this is a continuation of the Negro River route across interfluvial areas, as suggested by the distribution of abundant haplotype H2 and the rare haplotype H13 (Figure 4B).

    • The Eastern route into the Amazonas River is supported by high heterozygosity and fruit diversity (Table 2), with high Mexican ancestry not found in Western Amazonia (Figure 3A, yellow cluster). The highest levels of nucleotide diversity (Table 2) and the particular distribution of haplotypes not found in Western Amazonia (Figure 4B, haplotype H5), which include one of the Mexican haplotypes (Figure 4B, H3), agree with the nuclear pattern. This route is linked to the coastal Guianas, an ancient area of exchange of Amazonian crops with Mesoamerica (Schultes, 1984). Molecular data of early maize (Zea mays) introduction into South America support dispersal from Mesoamerica through the Caribbean, spreading along the lowlands of the northeastern coast of South America to finally reach Amazon Basin through river systems (Freitas et al., 2003; Bedoya et al., 2017), although the oldest archaeological remains of maize are western (Bush et al., 2016). This route also agrees with pineapple dispersal from the Guianas, where it was domesticated and introduced into Mexico (Coppens D’Eeckenbrugge and Duval, 2009).

    • Domesticated varieties often present greater fruit shape diversity than their wild relatives, as observed in bottle gourd (L. siceraria), whose fruits have similar technological uses (Heiser, 1993; Morimoto et al., 2005). Across its distribution, the pattern of treegourd fruit shape diversity (Figure 5) suggests different cultural preferences affecting diversification. The highest shape diversity was found along the Negro and Solimões rivers (Figure 5B, Table 2). Similar high diversity was also observed in the Orinoco and Caribbean regions of Colombia (ArangoUlloa et al., 2009), suggesting northwestern South America is an area of treegourd diversification. This pattern of diversity agrees with Amazonian ethnographies that underscore the cultural value of morphotype diversity cultivated for its own sake, such as in manioc (Rival and McKey, 2008) and pequi (Caryocar brasiliense) (Smith and Fausto, 2016). Nevertheless, the greater local frequency of the spherical type in Mexico and rounded-drop shape along the Negro River (Figure 5) suggests distinct selection pressures, as also described for popcorn in Peru (Grobman et al., 2012) and the differential selection of bitter and sweet manioc between Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest in Brazil (Emperaire and Peroni, 2007). Modern Maya people in Mexico and Guatemala have a long history of strong selection of spherical fruits of C. cujete for bowls (jícaras) to use with traditional beverages in rituals and also daily life situations (Ventura, 1996; Aguirre-Dugua et al., 2012, 2013). In Amazonia, the spherical and drop-shaped fruits of C. cujete have different symbolic importance and are recognized with distinct names by Tukano Oriental speakers (Pieter van der Veld, pers. communication), a linguistic family found in Northwestern Amazonia. The spherical fruit is called wahatowê, and is used as bowls to prepare ipadu powder (Erythroxylum coca var. ipadu) in rituals. In contrast, the rounded-drop, called ñahsãwaha, is common in daily life as a spoon and cup for collective food consumption (xibé, a meal of water and manioc flour, and açaí, the juice from Euterpe precatoria). Local people along the upper Negro River reported that the spherical type was also used as an ashtray by healers (pajé) in blessing rituals with tobacco smoke. Ethnographies also reported different treegourd fruits for each type of use, such as cuia-de-tapioca and cuia-de-ipadu (Ribeiro, 1995), although shape differences were not mentioned. In Northwestern South America, these bowls are cultural markers for the traditional use of coca introduced from the Andean foothills (Plowman, 1984). Interestingly, the spherical fruit shape selected in Mexico was the same as the one used in special rituals in Negro River Basin. This suggests that the wide dispersal of plants between South America and Mesoamerica in pre-Columbian times was motivated not essentially by food consumption, as would be expected for agrarian societies, but mainly for recreative and religious purposes (Neves, 2016). Indeed, archaeological remains of C. cujete in Central America and the Antilles were found in ritualistic contexts, such as offerings in funerary rituals (Beaubien, 1993; Conrad et al., 2001). This hypothesis of recreative and religious exchanges is also supported by the ancient dispersal of maize (Zea spp.) for beer preparation and tobacco (Nicotiana spp.) for magic and therapeutic uses, both widely exchanged between these continents (Heiser, 1965; Smalley and Blake, 2003), possibly as sacred gifts (Norton, 2008).

  • Solis, R. S. (2006). America’s first city? The case of Late Archaic Caral. In Andean archaeology III (pp. 28-66). Springer, Boston, MA. &mdash PDF
    • Consistent with this, the abundant presence of cotton seeds (Gossypium barbadense) at Caral may be due to a special emphasis that the inhabitants of the valley placed on this cultigen, whose fibers would have been required by the coastal settlers for the manufacture of fishing nets and clothing. In the valley gourds (Lagenaria siceraria) were also cultivated, with which floats for fishing nets, bowls and cups were manufactured and, fundamentally, plants destined for food, such as squashes (Cucurbita sp.), beans {Phaseolus vulgaris), achira (Canna edulis), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), avocado (Persea americana), guava (Psidium guajava), pacay (Ingafeuillei), liicuma (Pouteria lucuma) and chili peppers (Capsicum frutescens). Likewise, in Caral plants were recovered that probably came from other zones, such as palillo (Campomanesia lineatifolia), achiote (Bixa orellana), huairuro (Ormosia sp.) (a type of red bean used as an ornament), tutumo (Crescentia cujete) and lloque (Kageneckia lanceolata). Bulrushes (Schoenoplectus sp.) and other species were gathered from marshy zones within the valley (Shady 1999b: 2-A; 2000b: 49-66). Maize (Zea maiz) appears only at the end of the occupation, and in small quantities (see Tables 2.4, 2.5, 2.6; Figure 2.7).

    • Internal exchange was supplemented by an external exchange, which extended to other coastal areas as well as highlands and tropical forests of the north-central region, from which the inhabitants of Caral acquired goods such as Spondylus, wood, snails, medicinal plants, semiprecious stones, pigments, etc. The connections extended to groups in distant locations, such as the extreme north coast of Peru, and even Ecuador, for the acquisition of highly valued Spondylus, from which objects of symbolic value were manufactured.

    • All these activities favored the accumulation of wealth, promoting differences in prestige and the formation of social classes. They allowed Caral-Supe society to channel the benefits of surpluses production throughout the area into strengthening the power of local authorities who had initiated a process of political integration under a centralized government.

    • The residents of Caral worked beads of bone, wood, shell, quartz and semiprecious stones as indicators of status for the living and the dead. A workshop with objects, debitage and tools has been excavated. Raw material such as Spondylus was imported from tropical Ecuadorian waters; other materials came from the adjacent coast, highlands and the Andean forests. Objects which indicated differences in access to manufactured goods were found in burials, many of which were items obtained by means of trade (Figure 2.8e-h).

    • Cotton was important.
    • Numerous architectural features found among the settlements of Supe, including subterranean circular courts, stepped pyramids and sequential platforms, as well as material remains and their cultural implications, excavated at Aspero and the valley sites we are digging (Caral, Chupacigarro, Lurihuasi, Miraya), are shared with other settlements of the area that participated in what is known as the Kotosh Religious Tradition (Burger and Salazar-Burger 1980, 1985). Most specific among these features are rooms with benches and hearths with subterranean ventilation ducts, wall niches, biconvex beads, musical flutes, etc.

    • The 18 settlements or urban centers identified in the Supe Valley contain public buildings of various types next to groups of domestic units and, as occurs in Caral, associated with contexts containing evidence of diverse functions and activities. If we contrast the information on settlement pattern from colonial documents about the area with the archaeological data (Shady 2000a), it may be proposed that the people of Supe were organized into urban centers or pachacas of diverse size and complexity, maintained by a self-sufficient economy, run by their own authorities, each with its chief and its gods and religious practices through which they sustained their identity.

    • Circular courts with public functions were constructed in nearly all urban centers, and a huge amount of labor was invested in monumental construction.

    • Other human burials, particularly of children, were found underneath walls or the floor of a dwelling, related to the belief that this class of offering would contribute to the long life of the building. This custom is still rooted in the cultural tradition of Andean communities, although human beings have been replaced by animals or special objects.

      • This kind of practice was still potentially in effect through to the construction of Teotihuacan. It morphed a little bit.
    • A group of 32 flutes was recovered from a corner of the Temple of the Amphitheater (see above). The flutes are decorated with incised designs and painted with figures of monkeys, serpents, condors, eagles and human images (Shady 1999b, d). Another group of 38 instruments, probable bugles (see above), was recently recovered from another sector of the Temple of the Amphitheater. These instruments provide evidence for elaborate musical performance and the role of this musical expression in the public aspects of Caral-Supe society. The instruments help confirm the emphasis on collective musical performance in Caral-Supe society, and the early role of participatory artistic performance in Andean cultural heritage (Figure 2.9, lower half).

      • This is echoed in the name of an Olmec place with circular construction in Mesoamerica built before Teotihuacan: Cuicuilco, "Place of songs."
      • These same styles of circular areas became more common as people dispersed from Teotihuacan.

Aleutian Tradtion, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA (2500 BCE - 1800 BCE)

Arctic Small Tool Tradition - Alaska, USA; Canada, Greenland (2500 BCE - 800 BCE)

Canton Corralito - Mazatán, Chiapas, MX - Mokaya, Olmec (2500 BCE - 1000 BCE)

Occupied by Mokaya culture until around 1250 BCE when everything shifts to Olmec.

Huaca El Paraíso/Chuquitanta - Chillón River Valley, Peru (2300 BCE - 1400 BCE)

  • Huaca El Paraíso — this looks really interesting.
    • Se ha dado a conocer 16 muestras procesadas por datación por radiocarbono, que ubican al sitio en una antigüedad entre el 2.300 a.C. y el 1.400 a.C. es decir, en el final del período Arcaico Tardío.[6]​ Es contemporáneo con el célebre Templo de las Manos Cruzadas de Kotosh, en Huánuco, y con la fase final de Caral.

Purron Phase - Tehuacán Valley, MX (2300 BCE - 1500 BCE)

Poverty Point - Mississippi Valley and surrounding Gulf coast, USA (2200 BCE - 700 BCE)

  • Poverty Point culture
    • Many of the raw materials used, such as slate, copper, galena, jasper, quartz, and soapstone, were from as far as 620 miles (1,000 km) away, attesting to the distant reach of the trading culture.

  • Poverty Point: The First Complex Delta Culture
    • Poverty Point was the ultimate destination for incoming goods. Poverty Point stone dealers tapped into a wide range of resources from the North American midcontinent: copper from the Great Lakes, galena—a native lead ore—from the Upper Mississippi River in Iowa, soapstone from the Appalachian piedmont, and tons of flint and other materials from the Ouachita Mountains, Missouri's tablerock, southern Illinois's Shawnee Hills, Kentucky's Knobs, Tennessee's Appalachian foothills, and places in-between. There is even a piece of obsidian from Wyoming's Rockies. Practically all stone supply areas could have been reached by express dugout using the Mississippi's net of rivers and creeks.

    • Ingrained in native mythology across the Eastern United States—the land of mound builders—was the time-honored belief that geometric arrangements, circles, arcs, triangles, squares, and other layouts, kept evil spirits at bay and dispelled disharmony built up within. Mesoamerican archaeologist John Clark has found that sacred counts were built into Poverty Point's layout, dimensions, and spacing. Those same numbers, 13, 20, 52, 260, and 365, show up in contemporary monuments in Mexico and Peru and are the basis of the native New World calendar. As cosmic symbols, mounds and embankments provided magical safety and good medicine. So, while good for the whole community, they were just as good for each and every individual—personal desires and public responsibilities indivisible. This is not to say that Poverty Point could have been built without strong leaders, but public construction projects which "kill two birds with one stone" were more likely to win endorsement and gain widespread labor support, freely given. It took smart, strong leaders to recognize the meld and to resist the temptation to assert the power of leadership.

Buena Vista, Peru (2200 BCE - 1500 BCE) - first xicalcoliuhqui (twisted gourd)?

There is a possible xicalcoliuhqui made by a solar calendar in a room. The design is unified once every year by the tinkuy ("the effects caused as a result of meeting up") of light streaming in through disparate openings in the walls. It is one of the earliest instances of a xicalcoliuhqui ("twisted gourd") motif. These motifs have been found from Southern Bolivia, all the way through to Utah and Colorado.

The round face is interesting, especially since it seems quite similar to the round jaguar faces found in the Lenca dynasty of El Salvador and in the "Olmec" Loma Zapote site in El Azuzul, San Lorenzo, Veracruz.

Cueva del Chileno - Near Alota Canton, Sora River valley, Lípez highlands, Bolivia (2136 BCE – 1778 BCE, 905 CE – 1170 CE)

There was a bundle from 905 CE – 1170 CE found in this cave. It contined a bag made of three fox snouts (Lycalopex culpaeus) which had residue of many psychoactive substances. Of note is the colorful woven headband of green, red, and yellow with the very obvious xicalcoliuhqui designs. These colors are important for at least the Lenca, Olmec (Mixe and Zoque) and Tutunaku Tachiwiin, and likely many others in the trading region between them.

The fox pouch is interesting, but it could just be a coincidence that the place where the first xicalcoliuhqui has two foxes on other side of a round face.

Speaking of Psychoachtive Substances

Speaking of expansion

Caballo Muerto, Peru - Moche Valley - Cupisnique culture (2100 BCE - 200 BCE)

It is believed that the site was occupied from 1500 to 400 BC and belongs to the Middle Formative period. Among the contemporary sites in the other valleys of the northern coast of Peru are Limoncarro in Jequetepeque, Cerro Blanco in Nepeña District of Ancash Region, Pallka in Casma Valley, Santa Lucia in Lambayeque Region, and Ñañañique in Piura Region. In the northern highlands, the related sites are Huacaloma, Kuntur Wasi (both near Cajamarca), and Pacopampa.

Native Gold in Lake Titicaca Basin, Southern Peru (2155 BCE - 1936 BCE)

Orange Culture - Eastern Florida Peninsula, USA (2000 BCE - 2500 BCE)

  • Orange period

    The Orange period or culture is defined by the presence of Orange-series ceramics.

Ventarron, Peru (2000 BCE)

Mesoamerican Formative (Preclassic) (2000 BCE - 250 CE)

Mesoamerican Early Formative (2000 BCE - 1000 BCE)

Matanchén - San Blas, Nayarit, MX (2100 BCE - 2000 BCE)

Capacha - Colima, MX (2000 BCE - 1000 BCE)

Altica - Basin of Mexico, Mexico, MX (?)

Chocolate Domesticated by Mokaya Culture (1900 BCE)

  • Powis TG et al. (2007) Oldest chocolate in the New World. Antiquity. 314(81).
    • Our analysis shows that chocolate (Theobroma cacao) was consumed by the Mokaya as early as 1900 BC and by pre-Olmec peoples as early as 1750 BC, pushing back the chemical evidence of cacao use by some 700 years.

    • In the Gulf Coast area, pre-Olmec people were consuming liquid chocolate by 1750 BC, suggesting that the later Olmec civilisation centered at the nearby site of San Lorenzo (1200-900 BC) did the same.

Mokaya - Soconusco, Chiapas, MX (1850 BCE - 650 BCE)

Actually dates back to Canton Corralito (2500 BCE)

Tenancingo - Tenancingo, Mexico, MX (1800 BCE - ?)

Shows early Olmec influence. Also, Purépecha and Matlatzinca influence.

Paso de la Amada - Soconusco, Chiapas, MX - Mokaya Culture, Olmec (1800 BCE - ?)

Monte Alto Culture - Guatemala (1800 BCE - 200 CE)

They also had large stone heads along with the Olmec. Became a cultural center from 400 BCE - 200 CE.

  • Monte Alto Culture
    • Many of the Monte Alto sculptures are magnetic as well. Since there are distinctive patterns of magnetism, it would appear that the sculptures were executed by artisans who were aware of these properties. If this is true, the Monte Alto sculptures no doubt deserve recognition as the oldest known magnetic artifacts in the world.

Pampa de las Llamas-Moxeke - Casma, Ancash, Peru (1800 BCE - 900 BCE)

Pukara Culture - Puno Region, Lampa Province, Pucará District, Peru (1800 CE)

Absorbed parts of the Chiripa culture in 200 BCE.

Chillón & Casma Valley Effigy Mounds - Peru (1750 BCE - 2200 BCE)

San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán - San Lorenzo, Veracruz, MX - Olmec (1700 BCE - 900 BCE)

El Manatí - Hidalgotitlán, Veracruz, MX - Olmec (1600 BCE - 1200 BCE)

Lamanai - Orange Walk District, Belieze - Lowland Maya (1600 BCE - 1700 CE)

  • Lamanai

    Copper metalurgy began around 950 CE.

El Carmen - Ahuachapan, El Salvador (1590+/-150 BCE)

Ajalpan Phase - Tehuacán Valley, MX (1500 BCE - 830 BCE)

Height of the Olmec (1500 BCE - 400 BCE)

  • Olmecs - I've noticed similarities between this culture and Adena, Hopewell, and Missippian cultures in the style of their jewelry. Were there trade routes to the "Midwest"? Turns out, there was. They likely sailed across the gulf to the Mississippi. Several linguistic connections have been demonstrated like Chiki being in both Tutunaku and Hichiti.

Chalcatzingo - Valley of Morelos, MX - Olmec and many others (1500 BCE - 500 BCE)

San José Mogote - Valley of Oaxaca, MX - Zapotec (1500 BCE - 500 BCE)

Tlapacoya (archeological site) - Tlapacoya volcano, Mexico, MX - Tlatilco (1500 BCE - 300 BCE)

Kaminaljuyu - Valley of Guatemala - Southern Maya Area (1500 BCE - 1200 CE)

Evidence of connection with Teotihuacan.

Calixtlahuaca - Toluca Valley, MX - Otomi, Teotihuacan, Toltec, Matlazinca, Mexica (1500 BCE - 1510 CE)

La Hausteca - MX: Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí, and Querétaro (1500 BCE - 1533 CE)

  • La Hausteca

    Split from the Maya. Very few ethnic Huastecs, most are in North Veracruz and San Luis Potosi.

Ten Thousand Islands - Everglades, Florida, USA (1500 BCE)

Calixhuaca - Toluca, Mexico, MX (1500 BCE - 200 BCE)

Terraces with mud walls. See later development in 300 BCE.

Tacuscalco - Nahulingo, Sonosate, El Savador (1500 BCE - 1524 CE)

Cultural Contact Between Ecuador and West Mexico (1500 BCE - 400 BCE)

  • Anawalt, Patricia Rieff. “Ancient Cultural Contacts between Ecuador, West Mexico, and the American Southwest: Clothing Similarities.” Latin American Antiquity, vol. 3, no. 2, 1992, pp. 114–129. JSTOR.
    • There are two isolated birds that are related to each other, Cyanocorax dickeyi (introduced into west Mexico) and Cyanocorax mystacalis (coastal regions of Ecuador and N. Peru)
    • Similarities exits between the Manabi province of Ecuador and Rio de Ixtlan. These styles appear again 1000 years later with the Purapecha.
    • Purapecha clothing is most similar to that of Hauri shirts 500 CE.
    • The same styles of patterns are present in clothing found in the Purapecha region and some tunics found in Tonto National Monument. The technique of weaving these peices is called "sprang". It's a non-loom method involving manipulating a set of parallel yarns. In it's earliest stage, it was found in Peru dating back to 1100 BCE. Today, the sprang technique can be found in Venezuela, Guiana, Colombia, Guatemala, today Mexico.
    • "The archeological presence of this non-mesoamerican apparel (Kent 1983:221-233) suggests that the backstrap loom arrived in the American Southwest by way of West Mexico."
    • The mutual reinforcement of dress modes and weaving technology suggests the possibility of a pathway of cultural exchange between South America and the American Southwest with Mexico the interlinking channel. Riley (1987:86-87) described evidence for Prehispanic trade routes to the north from coastal West Mexico. He based his argument on evidence of Indian Traders from Culiacan being found in the Yaqui area as well as the archeological discovery of southwestern goods in Jalisco and Sinaloa. A memory of this trade — in operation when the Spanish arrived — was still extant in the 1880s when Lumholtz traveled through the Michoacan highlands. He reported that in "former times" [Purapecha] merchants journeyed as far north as the state of New Mexico (Lumholtz 1973:II:368).

  • Bellamy, K. R. (2018). On the external relations of Purepecha: an investigation into classification, contact and patterns of word formation. Leiden University.
    • Long-distance interaction within Mesoamerica and further afield can also be traced back to the earliest period (Weigand, 2001). Exchange is documented with the Hohokam culture of the southwest USA in the form of similarities in iconography, ceramic designs and architectural features (e.g. Carot & Hers, 2008; Braniff, 1995; see also Chapter 2 for an overview of possible linguistic relations in the southwest USA).

    • The SantiagoLerma river in the north and the Balsas-Tepelcatepec in the south acted as important routes of exchange, leading some scholars to also postulate long-distance maritime contact with South America from around 650 CE onwards (e.g. Hosler, 1994; Anawalt, 1992; see also Chapter 3).

    • A complex tribute system, including forced labour, military assistance and payment of goods, functioned within the Tarascan State. Sumptuary goods were acquired through long-distance trade with North America, South America (see Chapter 3) and other parts of Mesoamerica, as well as through local acquisition. The Tarascans were also great artisans, known throughout Mesoamerica for their intricate sculpture, ceramics, feather work and metallurgy (see, e.g., Arriaga, 1938: 10-11). Indeed some of the earliest extractive metalworking in Mesoamerica took place in the Tarascan region. Copper was particularly important for the Tarascans in the early part of their rule, having been used for both tools and ornamental pieces. Later techniques utilised alloying processes, although during both metalworking periods emphasis was placed on the visual (i.e. colour) and sonic properties of the metal (Chapter 3; see Hosler, 1994).

    • In Chapter 2 I used basic vocabulary as a means of testing relatedness proposals to show Purepecha is unique, isolated. However, no language exists in a vacuum; its speakers interact with groups speaking other languages through, inter alia, trade, warfare and marriage. In Chapter 3, then, I focus on the supposed transfer of a technology – metallurgy – that has been claimed to connect the Purepecha prehistorically to other metalworking cultures in South America. The motivation for this study lies predominantly in archaeology (Hosler, 1994; Anawalt, 1992) which suggests long-distance contact occurred between the Andean region of South America and West Mexico from 1500 BCE onwards. Moreover, in genetics, Brucato et al. (2015) identify the presence of a small but significant Andean component in certain Mesoamerican populations, whose correlation with proximity to an archaeological site with evidence of metalworking is highly suggestive of contact mediated by metalworking.

Machalilla culture - southern Manabí & Santa Elena Peninsula, Ecuador (1500 BCE - 1100 BCE)

Eventually blended into the Chorrera culture (1300 BCE and 300 BCE).

Herrera Period - Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Colombia (1500 BCE - 1000 CE)

Cupisnique - Peru (1500 BCE - 500 BCE)

Considered a possible predescessor of the Moche culture. There is shared inconography with the Chavin. However, it also appears the Chavin came later to the area.

Mirrors (900 BCE - 200 BCE)

Connections to other cultures

Arte de las arañas (spiders)

The carbon dating from where the plate was found indicates it was likely from anywhere between 1100 BCE - 800 BCE.

Honestly looks a lot like the spider shell gorgets in Mississipian Culture, but it is quite stylistically different. On the other hand, the Moche Spiders are closer:


See above under Ventarron, Peru


See above under Ventarron, Peru


See above under Ventarron, Peru

Chavín de Huántar - Ancash Region, Peru (1500 BCE - 300 BCE)

Main Chavín culture articfacts are dated to about 1200 BCE. Social upheaval around 500 BCE - 300 BCE.

Circular arena.

Wankarani - Near Lake Poopo, Oruro Department, Peru (1500 BCE - 400 CE)

Incorporated into the Tiwanaku empire.

Qaluyu culture - North Titicaca Basin, Peru (1400 BCE - 500 BCE)

Chiripa - Southern Shore, Lake Titicaca, Peru (1400 BCE - 100 CE)

Proceeded Jisk'a Iru Muqu. Preceeded Tiwanaku.

Las Haldas - Casma, Ancash, Perú (1947+/- 168 BCE - 1412+/-102 BCE)

Has a circular arena.

El Mesón - Papaloapn Basin, Veracruz, MX - Olmec, Epi-Olmec, Classic Veracruz (1450 BCE - 1520 CE)

Technically, this still lives on as the town of Ángel R. Cabada. It reached it's height as a cultural center around 400 BCE - 100 CE at which point the cultural center started shifting to La Venta. This is actually the region where my ancestors come from and around where my mom was born.

Nakbe - Mirador Basin, Petén, Guatamala - Maya (1400 BCE - 100 BCE)

Mesoamerican Ballcourt in Etlatongo, Oaxaca - Mixtec (1374 BCE)

  • Blomster, J. P., & Chávez, V. E. S. (2020). Origins of the Mesoamerican ballgame: Earliest ballcourt from the highlands found at Etlatongo, Oaxaca, Mexico. Science advances, 6(11), eaay6964.
    • The ballgame represents one of the most enduring and iconic features of ancient Mesoamerican civilization, yet its origins and evolution remain poorly understood, primarily associated with the Gulf Coast and southern Pacific coastal lowlands. While one early ballcourt dates to 1650 BCE from the Chiapas lowlands, ballcourts have remained undocumented in the Mesoamerican highlands until a millennium later, suggesting less involvement by highland civilizations in the ballgame’s evolution. We provide new data from the southern highlands of Mexico, from the Early Formative period (1500–1000 BCE), that necessitate revising previous paradigms. Along with ballplayer imagery, we recently excavated the earliest highland Mesoamerican ballcourt, dating to 1374 BCE, at the site of Etlatongo, in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca. We conclude that Early Formative highland villagers played an important role in the origins of the formal Mesoamerican ballgame, which later evolved into a crucial component of subsequent states.

    • Early Formative ballgame imagery primarily occurs as small, solid ceramic ballplayer figurines, which, during the Early Horizon, exhibit regional differences, albeit not mutually exclusive, in costume, gear, and paraphernalia (16). More frequent at San Lorenzo than neighboring sites, “Olmec-style” ballplayer figurines are generally tripod because of a support in back that enables them to stand; similar figurines also appear at distant sites such as Canton Corralito in coastal Chiapas, where substantial interaction with San Lorenzo has been documented (17). Olmec-style ballplayer figurines from these sites share similar costumes: wide, thick padded belts or yokes, loincloths, and usually round pendants or pectorals. These costume elements depicted on Early Horizon figurines become central accoutrements to successive depictions of Mesoamerican ballplayers. In contrast, many contemporaneous highland ballplayer figurines wear divergent costume elements that appear to resonate less in later visual depictions of ballplayers; these costumes and gear may represent sports that differ from our focus, the Mesoamerican hipball game. Figurines from Central Mexican sites such as Tlatilco often wear suspender-like vertical or crossed bands that support either thin belts or distinct, elaborate yokes (16); unfortunately, most of these figurines come from undocumented and/or illicit excavations, limiting their interpretive potential and raising basic issues of authenticity. In contrast, the minimally clothed West Mexican figurines that formed a scene from a shaft tomb excavated at El Opeño, Michoacán lack belts or yokes, but some wear padding on one leg and hold staffs or bats, possibly to play a stickball game (18–20). Until recently, Oaxaca has contributed limited Early Horizon ballgame imagery: One ballplayer figurine torso from a previous project at Etlatongo and one tripod figurine from San José Mogote, in the Valley of Oaxaca, exhibit Olmec-style costumes, while one San José Mogote figurine wears a costume more similar to those from Central Mexico (16).

    • Discovered in the coastal lowlands of southern Chiapas, the earliest formal ballcourt was built around 1650 BCE at Paso de la Amada, a regional ceremonial center with a core of public space largely abandoned before the Early Horizon (6, 10, 28). Located at a right angle to one of several mounds interpreted as platforms for the residences of lineage leaders, the ballcourt appears to be the center’s only nonresidential structure; its long axis is 39° east of true north (10). Excavations exposed nearly 10% of the ballcourt, composed of two narrow, parallel lateral mounds, averaging 75.9 m in length, defining a 6.8-m-wide alley or playing field with low benches extending from the lateral mounds to the alley (Fig. 2). The ballcourt was open at both ends and made of compacted earth, not stone, and estimated to have been about 3 m high with a total width of 21.5 m (10, 28). Later, ballcourt renovations expanded it to over twice its original volume. No ballplayer figurines or other ballgame-related imagery or paraphernalia came from Paso de la Amada (10).

    • The Etlatongo ballcourts are the earliest known from highland Mesoamerica; the first court, constructed between 1443 and 1305 BCE (with 1374 BCE as the midpoint), is 800 years older than are those from the central Mexican highlands and over 1000 years earlier than any other ballcourt in Oaxaca (33, 34). Rather than early ballgame evidence being primarily associated with the lowlands, our results show that highland villagers participated in ballgames marked by formal ballcourts during the Early Formative and were important players in its origins and evolution, with architectural modifications from the earliest to later of the two Etlatongo ballcourts perhaps associated with changes in the game. The construction of an architectural ballcourt represents both more formalized rules for the game and more complex social and regional interactions (10). The first highland ballcourt emerged during the Early Horizon, a time of increasing sociopolitical complexity and interregional interaction. We argue that ballcourts provided an important venue that promoted increasing differentiation of leaders and promoted interaction between polities of different regions. Other highland villages may have been familiar with the ballgame but lacked a formal ballcourt, perhaps confined at this time to regional centers such as Etlatongo. Ballgame imagery materialized the increasing interaction among nascent leaders, some of whom at Etlatongo were depicted as Olmec-style ballplayers; the association between elites and ballplayer imagery and regalia is well documented in later Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Maya (2). The origin of at least some ballplayer imagery at Etlatongo may have had a Gulf Olmec inspiration; the lack of a ballcourt at San Lorenzo earlier or contemporaneous to those at Etlatongo suggests, however, that the Olmec did not have a primary role in the plan of the actual ballcourt. The ballcourt plan first materialized at Paso de la Amada, while the architecture of the two Early Horizon ballcourts at Etlatongo display substantial change and local innovation, suggesting both highland and lowland roles in the evolution of the pan-Mesoamerican ballgame.
    • What's funny is that they challenge the position that the game emrged in the lowland, but they seem oblivious of the cultural context of the game emerging amongst the Olmec who were comprised of the Mixe-Zoque and, later, Tutunaku speaking peoples and possibly had an early interaction with the Mixtec. I don't know if we know the ancient boundaries between the Mixe vs Oto-Manguean language speakers. Obviously, more history needs to emerge to draw a correct conclusion.

Itzán, La Libertad, Petén, Guatemala (1350 BCE - 1715 CE)

Chorrera culture - Ecuador (1300 BCE - 300 BCE)

  • Chorrera culture
    • The first metal work in Ecuador is attributed to the Chorrera craftsmen. Numerous metal objects and fragments were excavated at the coastal site of Salango. Objects from copper, silver and gold were made, mostly elite goods like jewelry.[5]

    • This culture continued the brisk trade network established by Valdivia and Machalilla cultures. Chorrera fisherman traded spiny oyster shells (Spondylus) and other marine shells with people from the Quito basin for obsidian.[6] Gold is traded in the latter centuries BCE.[1]

Angamuco, Pátzcuaro Basin, Michoacán, Mexico (1325 ± 375 BCE - 1650 CE) - Purepecha

Beginning of War in the Americas? (1310 BCE - 1210 BCE)

Cacao in Puerto Escondido, Honduras (1300 BCE - 900 BCE)

Cultura chorrera - Ecuador (1300 BCE - 300 BCE)

Tlatilco - Valley of Mexico, MX - Tlaticans, Olmecs? (1200 BCE - ?)

La Venta - Tabasco, MX - Olmec (1200 BCE - 400 CE)

Chiapa de Corzo/Napiniacá/Soctón Nandalumí - Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas, MX (1200 BCE - present)

  • Zona arqueológica de Chiapa de Corzo
    • Posteriormente aproximadamente hacia el año 1350,5​ llegarían, los chiapanecas, quienes se establecieron en el lugar que hoy ocupa el centro arqueológico de Chiapa de Corzo. De este pueblo, poco se sabe de su historia prehispánica, pero se especula que bien pudieron haber migrado del oriente de Costa Rica, hacia el norte; esto por su relación con los mangues.6​

    • Una hipótesis local dice que la tribu guerrera de los chiapanecas (soctones), guiados por el viejo cacique Nandalumí, procedentes de Nicoya, Nicaragua. Fundaron el pueblo de Nandiumé. Desde ahí comenzaron a someter a los pueblos zoques, tzotziles, tzeltales y mames, para convertirlos en tributarios. Posteriormente en 1486 comienzan los intentos sin éxito de los aztecas por someter a los chiapas y los aztecas nombran Teochiapan al pueblo de Nandiumé y chiapas a la etnia soctona.7​ Bernal Díaz del Castillo asegura que al no poder vencer los chiapas a su enemigo invasor, los españoles y los indios que los apoyaron, prefirieron morir arrojándose del peñón de Tepetchia en lo alto del Cañón del Sumidero.8​

  • Chiapa de Corzo (Mesoamerican site)
    • It rose to prominence around 700-500 BC, during the Middle Formative period, becoming a regional center. By then, its public precinct had reached 18-20 ha in size, with total settlement approaching 70 ha. Because of its position near Grijalva River in the Central Depression of Chiapas, it controlled the local trade routes.[1]

    • The site shows evidence of continual occupation since the Early Formative period (ca. 1200 BCE).

    • In 2008, archaeologists discovered a massive Middle Formative Olmec axe deposit at the base of Chiapa de Corzo's Mound 11 pyramid. This deposit dates to around 700 BCE and is the second one of its kind found in Chiapas after nearby San Isidro.[citation needed] It is associated with one of the earliest E-Group astronomical complexes in Mesoamerica.

    • In April 2010, archaeologists discovered the 2,700-year-old tomb of a dignitary within Mound 11 that is the oldest pyramidal tomb yet discovered in Mesoamerica.[4][5][6][7] According to archaeologist Bruce Bachand, the tomb exhibits Olmec rather than Maya affinities. This tomb predates by 600 years any other such tomb found in Mesoamerica, such as those at Tikal, and at Kaminaljuyu.[8]

    • The site is believed to have been settled by Mixe–Zoquean speakers, bearers of the Olmec culture that populated the Gulf and Pacific Coasts of southern Mexico.

    • Chiapa de Corzo and a half dozen other western Depression centers appear to have coalesced into a distinct Zoque civilization by 700 BCE, an archaeological culture that became the conduit between late Gulf Olmec society and the early Maya.[9][10][11] Certain Mesoamerican traits such as planned cities, earthen pyramids, E-Group commemorative complexes, cloudy-resist waxy pottery, incensarios, and early logographic writing may have originated in the Zoque region.

  • Pueblo chiapaneca
  • File:Socton Nandalumi. - panoramio.jpg
  • Wilford, John Noble. (2010) In an Ancient Mexican Tomb, High Society. New York Times. 17 May.
  • BBC. (2010) Hallan "tumba de élite" en México. BBC News Mundo. 18 Mayo.
  • Rodriguez, Ana Monica. (2011) Hallan "la tumba más antigua de Mesoamérica dentro de una pirámide". La Jornada. 13 Abril.
  • BYU Chiapa de Corzo Site Archive
  • Zona Arqueológica Chiapa de Corzo
    • Se desconoce el nombre antiguo que debió tener este importante asentamiento prehispánico zoque. El nombre actual se debe a su cercanía a la actual ciudad de Chiapa de Corzo, cabecera del municipio del mismo nombre. Chiapa o Chiapan, es una palabra náhuatl que significa “lugar donde crece la chía” o “río de la chía”, nombre impuesto por los aztecas durante el siglo XV. La segunda parte del nombre es un homenaje al político y militar juarista Ángel Albino Corzo.

    • Chiapa de Corzo comenzó como una aldea campesina alrededor del año 1,250 a.C. hasta crecer y convertirse, junto con San Isidro en el área de Malpaso e Iglesia Vieja en Tonalá, en uno de los sitios más grandes de la región zoque.

Conduit of many cultures.

Ojo de Agua - Mazatán, Chiapas - Mokaya, Olmec (1200 BCE - 1526)

Cahal Pech - San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize (1200 BCE - 900 CE)

Made up name meaning "Place of the Ticks" in Yucatec Maya.

Xunantunich - Cayo District, Belize (1200 BCE - 750 CE, 890 CE - ?)

Other related sites

Caracol - Cayo District, Belize (1200 BCE - 900 CE)

Just south of Xunantunich.

Cuello - Orange Walk District, Belieze - Lowland Maya (1200 BCE - ?)

Ujuxte - Guatamala - Preclassic Maya (1200 BCE - 200 CE)

El Trapiche - Chalchuapa, El Salvador (1200 BCE - 250 CE) - Olmec, Maya

This was a Mayan site which started declining in 200 BCE and was aboandoned when Ilopango errupted. There are sign of Olmec Influence and trade with both Olmeca and Kaminaljuyú.

Las Victorias - Chalchuapa, El Salvador. Similar to Tazumal.


Pacopampa - Querocoto, Chota, Cajamarca, Peru (1200 BCE - 500 BCE) - Cuspinique, Chavín

Has cinnabar. Also the friso de Pacopampa has motifs on it which look almost "Olmecoid".

Kuntur Wasi - Cajamarca Region, Peru (1200 BCE - 50 BCE) - Cuspinique, Chavín

I'm just gonna put this out there, but some of the stylistic elements look downright "Olmecoid":

Additionally, this crown really harkens back to the serpent friezes in Ventarrón.

Chavín de Huantar - Chavín de Huantar, Peru (1200 BCE - 500 CE) - Cuspinique, Chavín

Izapa - Chiapas, MX - Olmec, Maya (1100 BCE - 1200 CE)

-1100 is a guess, it's heyday was between -850 and -100.

Olmec and Maya Ceremonial Complexes (~1100 BCE - 400 BCE)

Montegrande, Jaen, Cajamarca, Peru (~1000 BCE) - Mayo Chinchipe Culture

Post-archaic (1000 BCE - Present)

Formative (1000 BCE - 500 BCE)

Tres Zapotes - Papaloapan River Basin, Veracruz, MX - Olmec, Epi-Olmec, Classic Veracruz (1000 BCE - 900 CE)

Tikal - Flores, Petén Department, Guatemala (1000 BCE - 950 CE)

  • Tikal

  • 400 BCE - monumental architecture

  • 200 CE - Teotihuacan embassies in Tikal

  • Proyecto Arqueológico del Sur de Tikal. (2021) Conferencia de prensa sobre hallazgos en Tikal. — Audio starts around 4 minutes.

  • Houston, S., Ramírez, E. R., Garrison, T. G., Stuart, D., Ayala, H. E., & Rosales, P. (2021). A Teotihuacan complex at the Classic Maya city of Tikal, Guatemala. Antiquity, 1-9.

    • Prompted by these lidar data, excavations began in 2019 (Román Ramírez & Méndez Lee Reference Román Ramírez and Méndez Lee2020). In the pyramid of the Ciudadela—a structure approximately 12m high (possibly the third tallest at Tikal during this period)—excavators documented the highly unusual use of clays and adobes as building materials, with six construction phases, most dating to the Early Classic period (c. AD 300–550). The main structure (6D-105) yielded a deposit of Teotihuacan-style incense burners, in an evident parallel to the ‘Adosada’ platform that covered the western façade of the Temple of the Feathered Serpent at Teotihuacan (Figure 5). The back of this building was aligned to the north and associated with an intensely burned deposit of two human sacrifices and green obsidian points resembling lithics at Teotihuacan (Chinchilla et al. Reference Chinchilla, Tiesler, Gómez and Price2015). A further burial with green obsidian points was located in the southern structure of the Ciudadela (6D-106). Pending further study, and excavations in 2021, this deposit may correspond to the warrior burials found under the Temple of the Feathered Serpent at Teotihuacan (Sugiyama Reference Sugiyama and Robb2017b).

    • Pappas S. (2021) Copy of famous Teotihuacan structure discovered in Maya city. LiveScience. April 29.
      • A pyramid and courtyard unearthed in the Maya city of Tikal may have once been an embassy of sorts for visitors or ambassadors from the megapolis of Teotihuacan, more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) away.

        The apparently peaceful outpost may have represented a period of cooperation between Tikal, in what is today Guatemala, and Teotihucan, which is near modern-day Mexico City. A century or so after the structure was built, invaders — quite possibly from Teotihuacan — would take over Tikal.

        The enclosed courtyard and stair-step pyramid look like a miniature version of a structure called La Ciudadela, or The Citadel, in Teotihuacan. That citadel contained a temple known as the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent and a 38-acre (15.2 hectare) courtyard large enough to accommodate 100,000 people. The smaller version in the Maya city of Tikal not only has the same layout, but it also has the same orientation and is full of artifacts with links to Teotihuacan, including a Teotihuacan-style grave.

        "That means there is a really long occupation of people associated with Teotihuacan" in Tikal, said excavation leader Edwin Román Ramírez, an archaeologist at the Foundation for Maya Cultural and Natural Heritage (PACUNAM) who announced the finding in a press conference April 8.

        Tikal was a Maya city that may have been home to tens of thousands of people during its peak during the Maya Classic Period between about A.D. 250 to A.D. 900. After a series of homegrown rulers, the city was conquered in A.D. 378 by a general named Siyah K'ak. In stone carvings, the general is depicted as serving a leader represented by a spear-thrower and an owl, a carving also found in Teotihuacan. The connection had led many archaeologists to believe that the foreign conquerors came from Teotihuacan.

        But the two cities' relationship probably didn't start there. More than 100,000 people may have lived at Teotihuacan during its peak in the first half of the first century A.D., and its cultural influence seems to have had far reach. Teotihuacan-style art and artifacts have long been found in excavations in Guatemala, Román Ramírez told Live Science.

Related sites

Copper In South America [1000 BCE]

Aguada Fénix (Tabasco, Mexico) [1000 BCE - 800 BCE]

Ceiba, Guatemala - Maya (1000 BCE - 950 CE)

E-Group Astronomical Observation? (~1000 BCE - 600 CE)

  • Šprajc, I. (2021). Astronomical aspects of Group E-type complexes and implications for understanding ancient Maya architecture and urban planning. Plos one, 16(4), e0250785.
    • The same agricultural and ritual concerns are reflected in E Groups. The orientations of the earliest E Groups were consistently replicated in later cases, clearly demonstrating their astronomical basis. Considering the use of orientations for scheduling of agricultural and related ceremonial activities, it is significant that the earliest E Groups appeared precisely at a time when farming was becoming a predominant subsistence strategy in the Maya Lowlands. With the increasing architectural diversity in the following centuries, the orientations originally embedded in E Groups, as well as their observational and ritual functions, were transferred to buildings and complexes of other types, thus substantially affecting the appearance of urban layouts. At several sites we can observe that the view to the horizon from an E Group was, at some point, blocked by higher constructions erected along its central axis and adopting the same orientation. This fact, as well as the longevity of central axes archaeologically demonstrated in several E Groups, clearly attests to the long-lasting significance of the initially intended astronomical referents. The overall cultural development, including relative autonomy of political entities and the continuously changing political geography, resulted in some regional and time-dependent differences in orientation practices, but the persistence of the most widespread alignment groups up to the Spanish Conquest mirrors their practical and symbolic importance.

      None of the currently known astronomically oriented structures can be interpreted as an observational device in the modern scientific sense. Since their primary functions were religious, residential, or administrative, the term “observatory” applied to either E Groups or buildings of other types is clearly inappropriate. The principles underlying Maya architecture and urban layouts cannot be comprehensively understood without considering the interdependence of “practical”, subsistence-related issues, religious norms, and ritual observances, but the role of astronomically-derived concepts in this complex set of rules has been largely underappreciated. The orientations of both E Groups and other monumental constructions in civic and ceremonial cores of ancient settlements reflect the importance of these concepts in political ideology. An appropriate timing of agricultural tasks and ritual performances contributed to the legitimation of power of the ruling class and thus reinforced social cohesion necessary for preserving the existing political order. In the light of these arguments, it is precisely the importance of the astronomically and cosmologically significant directions that allows us to understand some prominent aspects of ancient Maya architecture and urbanism.

Olmec Style Cave paintings assumed to be from 900 BCE

Early Woodland (1000 BCE - 200 CE)

Tchula (800 BCE - 200 CE)

Tchefuncte Culture (600 BCE - 200 CE)

Adena (1000 BCE - 100 BCE)

Atlantic Deptford (800 BCE - 700 CE)

Gulf Deptford (500 BCE - 200 CE)

Chavín culture (900 BCE - 200 BCE)

This seems to be an outgrowth of the Cuspineque culture. This crown has a design of the hexagonal snakes that can be seen as far back as the Labayeque Ventarrón site.

Also had mirrors.

There are stylistic similarities between it and the Olmec cultures and even some art features found as far away as the Adena, Hopewell, and Missippian cultures. Granted, some of this just comes from the environment and what's found in it, but if trade networks played a role, we should let them have that role instead fo writing them out completely. Compare:

  • Shells: