Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ohio's Archaic Heritage: Archaic Settlements #NativeAmerica #Ohio

An Archaic Village

Ohio's Archaic Heritage 

Archaic Settlements

Native Americans first dwelt in Southern Ohio because they could not go further north. Most of Ohio had been covered in glaciers. Once the glaciers retreated back into Canada, the prehistoric Native Americans began to explore the newly transformed Ohio. Mankind had to adapt when the mammoths and other large mammals went extinct. They developed new hunting techniques and weapons that granted them more freedom. These changes began at the start of the Archaic Period. Eventually the Paleoindians disappeared and the Archaic Culture thrived. The lifestyle changes did not happen overnight but had taken several decades for the new to replace the old.

Archaic Ohio
Although the Archaic Native Americans were highly mobile they did establish settlements. Each of the settlements are completely diverse based on the local resources. Ohio, during the Archaic Period, had four different geographic areas that each presented the prehistoric man with a wide range of diverse resources. These areas are seen in this graphic.

With the transition from mobile to a more sedentary lifestyle, Archaic Native Americans developed their own unique cultures based on the area in which they had settled. Eventually, distinctive regional differences emerged. You can learn more about Archaic Geography of Ohio and Archaic Man at this link

Villages and Camps

The Archaic people had two different types of camps that they used, larger villages and smaller hunting camps. Villages were established where there was a large food source. Depending on the region where these camps were established, the food source could be fish or nuts. According to archaeologists, Ohio was home to at least ten different distinct cultures through the Archaic Period. These cultures are identified in the graph below taken from The Ohio Archaic: A Review. The time period of their occupation is given on the left side of the graph while they are arranged underneath the region of Ohio in which they were located.

Villages generally contained around 150 - 100 people at any given time. It was here that the Archaic people stayed the longest. Life was still nomadic in that family units moved with the seasons. During the winter, families would leave the village in smaller groups to dwell in rock shelters. These rock shelters were used year after year. The best rock shelters were those that were dry and faced the east. Early and Late smaller camps and rock shelters have been found throughout the state. Not everyone left the village during the winter. The elderly and others who could not travel during the winter often stayed behind in the village and ate from the preserved stock of food that had been gathered for them.

During the Spring, the family units would gather once again in the village. It was here they would supplement their diets with fish, berries, plants and nuts. Fishing required a team effort as the Archaic people used nets, spears, hooks on a line, and perhaps even poison to catch a large number of fish. Spring was the perfect season for the Archaic people to fish in because many types of fish swam up river in order to spawn.

Annual Spring gatherings were a joyous time in the village. Many social and ceremonial gatherings took place in the village.

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