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El Centro History Department Presents:

Archaeology and Anthropology Links

To General Anthropology and Archaeology Resources Online
To Paleolithic and Neolithic Times
To Texas Arch-Anth // To Southwestern & Mexican Arch-Anth
Clovis and Folsom Sites
Archaic Sites
To Rock Art Links
rock art
To Class Discussion: The First Peoples of the Southwest
Online Exercises

Texas Archaeology & Anthropology

Southwestern & Mexican Archaeology

Rock Art Links
To Southwestern U.S. Rock Art // To Other Rock Art Sites

Rock Art Sites Worldwide

Rock Art of the Southwest U.S.
To Texas Rock Art

Texas Rock Art

Clovis and Folsom Sites

Archaic Resources

Outline of Class Discussion: The First Peoples of the Southwest
Theories regarding the arrival of the first people to North American range from 15,000-45,000 years ago - The Paleo-Americans or Paleo-Indians (the Paleo-Indian era 9200-6000 BCE)
  1. Arrived during Pleistocene or Ice Ages
  2. Evidence suggests they were hunters living in small bands and were not today's American Indians
  3. Oldest found in Alaska, a scraper, some estimates as old as 27,000 years ago at Old Crow Site
  4. By about 10,000 years ago evidence of people throughout the U.S.
  5. Greatest concentrations of relics, fire sites, and remains have been found in the Southwest, especially limestone plateaus of Texas
  6. Oldest in Texas found in Panhandle - "Midland Minnie" - estimated 8-18,000 years ago
  7. Also man and boy found near Waco
  8. In Mexico, "Tepexpan Man" (actually a woman near Tepexpan, Mexico (near Mexico City) - similar estimates of age, 10-12,000 years ago

While human remains sparse, Paleo-Americans did leave a lot of objects or artifacts

  1. Points - arrowheads, spearheads
  2. Alibates Foint Quaries in Texas Panhandle probably first commerical enterprise in Texas
  3. Seemed particularly fond of High Plains and left tools and bones from Clovis, New Mexico, to Abilene, Texas, to Pedernales River to Balcones Escarpment into Mexico (Tlacopaya & Valsequillo sites estimated 12-23,000 years ago)
  4. Sandia People of New Mexico, 10-12,000 years ago
  5. The Llano Estacado (Staked Plains) particularly popular
  6. These early hunters sought the large, extinct mammals of North America
    American or Columbian elephant, mammoth, mastodon, ancient bison that was 2 to 4 times bigger than modern buffalo, ground sloth; roasted meat in great kitchens or middens in limestone
  7. Most well-known categories of artifacts and Paleolithic cultures:
  8. Clovis Culture and Points - 11,000 years ago and earlier - first found near Clovis, New Mexico (also known as Llano Culture)
    Texas sites include Lubbock Lake Landmark site; Roberts County in Northeast Panhandle (Canadian River area), Gault Site in Central Texas, Denton County, Lewisville, and East Texas

    Clovis Point was fluted, projectile point for light spear

    All radiocarbon dates associated with Clovis points fall in a range from about 9500-9000 BCE. It follows that if early migrants into the Americas came before that, they probably were not "big game hunters" but foraged less dramatically. Probable dates for the first crossing into North America by ancestors of later known populations range from about 45,000 to 13,000 BCE or so.

  9. Folsom Culture and Points - 10-11,000 years ago
    Found near Folsom, New Mexico; also in Texas including Hueco Tanks near El Paso where humans have lived for at least 10,000 years, Colorado, Nebraska, and other plains areas

    Smaller, finer points; skillful stoneworkers; made scrapers, knives, choppers, drills, used pallets of sandstone for paint, stone heads found at Trinity River site; also made flutes and drums

    Also believed that Folsom peoples responsible for oldest "Bison Jump" found at Bonfire Shelter site between Rio Grande and Pecos River at their confluence in extreme South Texas dated to 10,200 years ago

    Also a subculture known as Plano Subculture from Wyoming to Minnesota to Texas - Levi, Texas, site = distinguished by leaf-shaped point

  10. What happened to Paleo-Americans unknown but prior to 6000 BCE another dominant people had arrived
  11. Also hunter-gatherers and brought domesticated dog with them
  12. Long series of invasions that continued thousands of years
  13. Dispersed and diversified - In Edwards Plateau alone - 27 different kinds of points and great assortment of tools
  14. Responsible for dynamic era - Archaic Period - from 6000-200 BCE (Early Archaic=6000-2500 BCE; Middle=2500-1000 BCE; Late=1000-300 BCE)
    A. Development of bow and arrow (in Texas appears to have replaced spear thrower (atlatl) around 700 CE/AD

    B. Development of pottery and grinding implements

    C. Development of agriculture before 2500 BCE - believed to have developed in Mexico and moved northward

    D. 1500 BCE, corn farmers settled near Presidio in area known as La Junta de los Rios where Rio Grande and Rio Conchose join - believed to be the oldest continuously cultivated farmland in Texas

    E. Cochise people of southern New Mexico - also early farmers of southwest

    F. Also artistic development - Rock Art - sites represent before and after archaic developments; located throughout Southwest - include PICTOGRAPHS and PETROGLYPHS - show extended period of time, refining of style (Pecos River style about 2000-1000 BCE)

    Several distinctive styles in Texas:
    Archaic age - several colors, stylized figures and humans
    Red Linear of Late Archaic - small dark red, humans as stick figures
    Red monochrome of Late Prehistoric - solid human and animal figures
    Historic - show European influence
    Hueco Tanks near El Paso - completely different culture - Puebloan influences

    250 known Rock Art sites in Texas alone, usually on rock walls

    range in size form one to 18 feet in height

    Some in places that could not be reached without scaffoling of some sort

    Black and red most common colors but also white, yellow, orange, brown

    Subjects: people, animals, weather, trees, weapons, geometric shapes, historic era Europeans

    Purpose unknown although some appear to have religious significance

    Include maps, dancing, stories, humorous scenes

Links for Class Discussion:

Timeline of the Southwest

12,000-10,000 BCE - Sandia people leave earliest evidence of human existence in New Mexico; "Tepexpan Man" in Mexico and "Midland Minnie" in Texas

Before 11,000-8000 BCE - First immigrants arrive in Texas

11,000-7,000 BCE (estimates vary) - Early hunters period; nomadic foragers, fishing, some seed collection

11,000-10,000 BCE - Diablo Phase, unspecialized foraging tools, Northern Mexico (Tamaulipas)

10,000-9,000 BCE - Clovis hunters roam area in search of mammoth, bison and other game

10,000-500 BCE - Cochise people cultivate corn, squash, beans; earliest evidence of agriculture north of Mexico in Southwest

9,000-8,000 BCE - Folsom people flouish throughout Southwest at end of last Ice Age

8000-7000 BCE - Burials in Texas; "Midland Minnie" in Williamson County

7400-6700 BCE - Oaxaca Valley of Mexico - bottle gourds, pumpkin

7000 BCE - Tehuacan Ajuereado Phase of Central Highlands of Mexico; bands of 12-15 people; some big-game hunting

6500-2000 BCE - Archaic (Incipient Farming) Period; gradual development of horticultural skills, some signs of fixed settlement, possibly some shamanism; extinction of many animals; Desert Cultures develop in U.S. West and northern Mexico

4000 BCE - People in lower-Pecos River area leave distinctive Rock Art

1500 BCE - Corn farmers settle near Presidio (La Junta de los Rios - "meeting of the rivers" - where Mexico's Rio Conchos and Rio Grande join

1500-900 BCE - Early Formative (Pre-Classic) Period; "Neolithic" farming villages; pottery, looms, ground stone figurines, rule by groups of elders, shamans, chiefs; rain & fertility cults; regional differentiation

1350-1100 BCE - El Arbolillo, Tlatilco, and Zacatenco figurine cults of the Central Highlands

Tlatilco - large, rich village; storage pits, animal and human sculpture; 340+ burials

900-300 BCE - Middle Formative (Pre-Classic) Period - Olmec civilization; widespread trade; diffusion of Olmec traits; class divisions

La Venta (Tabasco) - greatest Olmec site, Tres Zapotes (Veracruz) contemporaneous with La Venta

300-1 BCE - Teotihuacan Phase I; Central Highlands

300 BCE - 250 CE - Late Formative (Pre-Classic) Period; "urban revolution" - building of great urban centers in Mesoamerica

1-300 CE - Teotihuacan Phase II - Pyramid of the Sun constructed

1-700 CE - Anasazi Basketmakers elevate weaving to a high art, creating baskets, clothing, sandals, and utensils

150 CE - Volcano destroys Cuicuilco, leaving Teotihuacan unrivaled in the Central Highlands

150-650 CE - Early Classic Period; Teotihuacan Phase III with much influence elsewhere

500-900 CE - Classic period for Monte Alban with major temples built, population estimated at 24,000, 170 underground tombs with frescoes

250-600 CE - Dawn of classic Maya culture

300-1400 CE - Mogollon culture introduces highly artistic pottery and early architecturee in the form of pit houses

1200-1500s CE - Pueblo Indians establish villages along the Rio Grande and its tributaries

800-1500 CE - Farmers/hunters build and occupy the "Buried City" southeast of Perryton in Ochitree County on the northern edge of the Panhandle as well as other sites along Canadian River

1400 CE - The Caddo Confederacy establishes a civilization in East Texas based on agriculture

Online Resources:

Exercises Online
Decoding the Past: The World or Archaeologists (Lesson Plans - Smithsonian)
Creation Myth Exercise

To Next Class Discussion: The Caddo Confederacy of East Texas

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