One of the first people to inhabit the Americas were the Paleoindians. They migrated from Asia following big game to the Americas via the Bering Strait during the the Late Pleistocene Period. The Pleistocene Epoch lasted from 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago. It was during this time that the earth's climate drastically changed. Most of the world was transformed through repeated glaciations. Ohio had been carved out of three such glacial periods during this time. We know this period more commonly as the Ice Age. Animals such as mammoths, mastodons, giant sloths, longhorned bison, saber-toothed cats, and other large mammals scattered the terrain of North America, Asia and Europe.
The Paleoindian Period lasted from 13,000 -7,000 B.C, which was towards the end of the Late Pleistocene Period. Paleoindian life revolved around the hunting of the great animals listed above and was greatly affected by the Ice Age. The glaciers killed the plant life which meant the herbivores had to migrate elsewhere. Thus humans and the carnivores had to move with the herds into previously unknown territories. Paleoindian groups were highly mobile. Any given band could consist of anywhere between 20-60 members, all of whom were extended family. Hunting and gathering were done during the spring and summer months when smaller hunting parties left the group. These hunting parties would return during the fall and stay throughout the winter. Their diets varied depending on how successful the hunt was. Their clothes and the covers for their shelters were made of animal skins.
|Glaciers during the Pleistocene Period|
US Public Domain
(Notice Ohio is completely covered)
The earliest Native American group to inhabit the northern state was the Clovis Culture. The Clovis Culture appeared around 11,500 B.C. but didn't inhabit Ohio until between 9500 - 8000 B.C. The northern glaciers retracted, exposing new land for exploration and settlement between 17,500 to 14,500 years ago. The animals and Clovis culture took advantage of the new Ohio lands. During the late 20th century, the predominant theory of human colonization of the Americas had been Clovis First, meaning the Clovis Culture were the first group to inhabit the Americas. In 2011, archaeologists at the Buttermilk Creek Complex close to Salado, Texas unearthed an occupation that was proven to be older than Clovis. The Buttermilk Creek Complex isn't the only archaeological site that predates the Clovis Culture. The following are a list of sites that predate the Clovis Culture.
Pedra Furada, Piauí, Brazil (55,000 yr BP ABOX)
Topper, (at least 22,900 yr BP; possibly 50,000 yr BP but this is disputed) South Carolina, US
Meadowcroft, Pennsylvania, US (16,000 yr BP)
Cactus Hill, Virginia, US (15,070 14C yr BP)
Monte Verde, Chile (14,800 14C yr BP)
Saltville, Virginia, US (14,510 14C yr BP)
Taima-Taima, Venezuela (14,000 yr BP)
Connley Caves, Oregon, US (13,000 yr BP)
Page-Ladson prehistory site, Florida, US (12,425 ± 32 14C yr BP [15,405–14,146 cal yr BP])
Lapa do Boquete, Brazil (12,070 ±170 14C yr BP)
Paisley Caves, Oregon, US (14,300 cal yr BP)
Tanana Valley, Alaska, US (13,000–14,000 cal yr BP)
Nenana valley, Alaska, US (12,000 yr BP)
Tibitó, Colombia (11,740 ±110 14C yr BP)
Tagua-Tagua, Chile (11,380 ±380 14C yr BP)
It seems the culture that predates the Clovis Culture is not genetically Native American but Caucasian. You can learn more by watching this video:
The earliest archaeological evidence of human habituation in Ohio may lead back to the Clovis culture because Ohio did not exist until the glaciers retreated but that doesn't mean the Clovis Culture were the first inhabitants of the Americas. I ,for one, will be keeping my out on what other discoveries scientist make about the colonization of the Americas. It would very interesting to see how the new information changes the way we teach our future generations about the first human occupation of the Americas.