Pleistocene Settlement in the East

David G. Anderson

in The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195380118
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Pleistocene Settlement in the East

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  • Archaeology of North America



Exactly when people first entered eastern North America is currently unknown, but settlement is assumed to have occurred during the Late Pleistocene, around or more likely after the Last Glacial Maximum, which dates from ca. 18,000 to 21,000 cal BP. Widespread human presence is evident by ca. 13,000 to 12,000 cal BP and is documented by the occurrence of Clovis and a number of successor fluted projectile point types in all parts of Eastern North America, away from areas covered by ice sheets or periglacial lakes or seas. Fluting, the removal of large channels or thinning flakes from the base of these points, is a uniquely Paleoindian phenomenon, never duplicated again in prehistory in the Americas, or indeed anywhere else in the world before or since. North American archaeologists are fortunate in this regard because the occurrence of fluting technology, which occurred for a period of no more than about 1,500 years, provides an unambiguous marker of these early occupations.

Keywords: Late Pleistocene; human presence; Eastern North America; North American archaeologists; fluting technology; thinning flakes

Article.  4690 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology of North America

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