Paleo-Indians - The first Native Americans
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Paleo-Indian Period

Archaeologists call the time just after people first came to North America the Paleo-Indian period. During the Paleo-Indian period, all the people in North America were nomads and got their food by hunting and gathering. Some of these people stayed in Alaska.

Other people gradually went south and east, looking for warmer weather, little by little. They hunted the mammoth as they went, so many that they killed all of them, and most of the other big mammals. As the mammoth became extinct, the Paleo-Indians began to hunt buffalo instead. They used spears and atlatls to hunt. After a while (nobody is sure how long), some people reached Central America and then South America, while other people reached the east coast of North America.

By that time, maybe about 8,000 BC, people in North America had developed different languages, and couldn't understand each other talking anymore.

Learn by doing: make and use an atlatl
Go on to the Archaic period

Bibliography and further reading about the Paleo-Indian period:

The Archaic period
More about Native Americans
South America and Central America
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Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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