Frank Schambach and Leslie Newell's
Crossroads of the Past: 12,000 Years of Indian History
in Arkansas (1990)
THE PALEO INDIAN ERA
(9500 B.C. to 8000 B.C.)
The first people to reach North and South America
are called the Paleo Indians. They came from northeast Asia at the end of
the Ice Age (the Pleistocene Epoch) no later than 12,000 years ago, and
perhaps thousands of years earlier. They were expert hunters who pursued
the big game animals of the Ice Age, most of them now extinct, such as the
huge elephant-like American mastodon.
(The American Mastodon, the
largest Ice Age animal of the Eastern Woodlands of North America.)
The Paleo Indians possessed a very sophisticated culture consisting of
tools, knowledge, and equipment that their ancestors, the Upper Paleolithic
or "Late Stone Age" hunters of Europe and Northern Asia, had been
developing for more than 30,000 years. Therefore they had fire, of course,
and they must have been well dressed in windproof and watertight tailored
skin clothing, including hooded parkas, trousers, mittens, and boots like
those of the Eskimo. They must have known how to make skin tents and other
kinds of shelters of wood and bone, and perhaps snow and ice.
(This mastodon skull,with its curving, razor sharp,
7 1/2 foot tusks was discovered in the Red River Valley in southwest Arkansas
in 1986. Herschel Kitchens, far right, of Lewisville made the discovery.
David Jeane, left, of Springhill, Louisiana, assisted with the excavation.
There were no indications that Paleo Indians killed this animal, but there
is evidence from other sites that mastodons were one of the animals they