Reenvisioning Eastern Woodlands Archaic Origins

Dale L. McElrath and Thomas E. Emerson

in The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Reenvisioning Eastern Woodlands Archaic Origins

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For more than 50 years, North American archaeologists have largely accepted a simple evolutionary relationship between late Pleistocene Paleoindian societies and early Holocene Archaic societies. The conventional scenario saw small bands of big-game hunters entering the New World and passing through an ice-free corridor to spread throughout interior North America and eventually reach the tip of South America, in just a few hundred years. These were presumed to be the ancestral population for all subsequent Holocene Archaic societies. With increasing acceptance of the radiocarbon dates at Monte Verde and Meadowcroft Rockshelter, along with additional recent evidence (e.g., Paisley Cave, Topper, and Gault), this paradigm is no longer viable. Instead, many scholars accept New World colonization by potentially much earlier coastal populations relying on maritime resources.

Keywords: Eastern Woodlands; evolutionary relationship; late Pleistocene; Paleoindian societies; big-game hunters; Holocene Archaic societies

Article.  4987 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology of North America

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