Prehistoric Native Americans

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Evolution, you may only think of it as apes into humans, but it’s actually much more. It’s when organisms have grown and developed from earlier beings. Humans have evolved from the Native Americans we read about in text books, to the society we are today. There are many different forms and stages of evolution, but let’s just focus on the prehistoric Native Americans in the state of Georgia. The first kind, more than 10,000 years ago, is the Paleo culture with its fast pace lifestyle and dull weapons. Around 8000 B.C., the archaic culture took their place with more advanced tools. 1000 B.C. is when the Woodland culture took over and invented a much more efficient way of hunting and started to plant crops to eat. The last culture before the European settlers came is the Mississippians, who started around 700 A.D., and they created ceremonies and large villages.


To start with the beginning, we have the Paleo culture. They hunted large animals like mammoths with dull spears. Their homes were wherever the herds of game were, and they moved around often without a fixed shelter. These Native Americans were active until around 8000 B.C., when the Archaic Indians came about. The food sources changed drastically over this time, instead of large animals, they hunted smaller things such as fish, rabbits, bears, reptiles, and much more. They learned that berries, nuts, and fruits could also be used as food, and ate those as well. During this transition, the ways of these people changed from one dull spear to chipping tools, bonefish hooks, grooved axes, and drills. They also began to use clay bowls and other utensils. Since their ancestors, they discovered they should move with the seasons of migration, so they had a crude shelter to keep them safe. This group prospered until 1000 B.C., when the Woodlands took their place.

The Woodland culture had two very important epiphanies: agriculture and the bow and arrow. To make catching the small game easier, they created the bow and arrow. This device would shot the animal from afar, so they wouldn’t have to get so close to it and scare it away. They didn’t only eat meet, though. They also began to plant crops such as maize, berries, pumpkins, and squash; this is called agriculture or farming. In order to watch these newly growing plants, they had to stay in one place for a longer period of time. The people of the woodland culture banded together and created small domed shaped huts with grass roofs to live in. This culture survived for an extremely long time, but all things have to end, which means the Mississippian culture was formed.

This culture began around 700 A.D., and ended in 1600 A.D. They had basically the same way of life as the Woodlands, but it was more advanced. The used the bow and arrow to hunt the same types of meat, and used the same techniques to plant crops. They added an important utensil to help tend to these plants, a stone hoe. This helped them tremendously. The bigger changes were the larger villages and rituals. The Mississippian culture had better shelters and the rituals were held in new ceremonial buildings. These people strived until the first European explorers came.

From the first Paleo people, who moved from place to place with dull spears hunting large animals, to the Archaic culture that hunted smaller game and stayed in one place for much longer. Then, the woodland culture came and created agriculture and bow and arrows, all while staying in small villages to watch their new crops. They formed into the Mississippians, who called larger groups home and added tools to help their crops succeed. As you see, people have evolved from each stage of prehistoric Native Americans, to early settlers, and finally to the people we are today. Evolution isn’t just monkeys to humans, or dinosaurs to birds, but it is the way humans respond and adapt the new environments around them. People have evolved so much from these early stages, and more evolution will come.





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