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2.2 Archaic Indians

The Archaic stage or “Meso-Indian period” is the second period of human occupation in the Americas, from around 8000 B.C. to 2000 B.C. As its ending is defined by the adoption of sedentary farming, this date can vary “significantly across the Americas”.

The Archaic stage is characterized by subsistence economies supported through the exploitation of nuts, seeds and shellfish. The period has been subdivided by region and then time. For-instance, the Archaic Southwest tradition is subdivided into the Dieguito-Pinto, Oshara, Cochise and Chihuahua cultures.

Archaic Indians improved fishing techniques in Boston, Massachusetts, around 2,500 BC as shown by basketry weird found at the mouth of the Charles River. In California, Archaic Indians lived in permanent villages, buried their dead in mounds, and made shell ornaments and beads used in trade. They also made bowls, pipes and baskets. In Florida and Georgia plant fibbers were used to reinforce early pottery used for the preparation, cooking and storage of food. The ability to store food meant that people could grow surplus crops for wintertime and establish permanent settlements.