Principal cultural phases in the Americas

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

The following charts show the approximate duration of the main stages, traditions, and cultures recognized in the archaeology of the Americas from about 10000 bc down to the present day. It should be noted that the earliest stages and cultures represented extend back well beyond 10000 bc, although the full antiquity of human occupation in the Americas is not yet established.

For the purposes of presentation, the area is divided into two blocks, North America and Mesoamerica, and South America.North America and Mesoamerica is subdivided into six regions, as shown on the above map:

1. Arctic areas (including Alaska, Canada, and the islands off the north coast of Canada)

2. The Great Plains of central and western parts of the USA

3. The Eastern Woodland region of the USA east of the Mississippi

4. The west coast of the USA and western Canada

5. The southwest of the USA and northern Mexico

6. Mesoamerica: including southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and part of Nicaragua

South America is subdivided into five regions, as shown on the above map:

1. Central America, including Costa Rica and Panama

2. The Caribbean

3. The Andes and the west coast, including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia

4. Amazonia and the east coast, including Venezuela and Brazil

5. The far south, including Chile and Argentina

From The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Archaeology.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.