12,000 – 7,000 Years Ago – Paleo-Indian Culture (The Americas)
First let me explain the classification of Paleoindians/Paleoamericans, which loosely refers to the first peoples who started to inhabit the Americas. To me is seems Siberian is the general origin of native Americans and by around 11,000 years ago, the land bridge “Beringia” from Asia by way of Siberia in Russia over to Alaska in the Americas, which the Paleoindians had crossover on, finally flooded over by rising sea levels and was submerged. Beringia is a land bridge encompassing the area of what is now the Chukchi Sea, the Bering Sea, the Bering Strait, the Chukchi and Kamchatka Peninsulas in Russia as well as Alaska in the United States. These early Siberian Paleoindians seemingly first settled in Siberia especially in southern areas around 12,000 years ago. However, these early Siberian Paleoindians maybe a part of the first nomadic peoples who entered Siberia about 50,000 years ago. Of note the ability for human and animal population movements in such northern regions was assisted by the fact that neither Wrangel Island which separated from Russian about 12,000 years ago due to sea level rise, nor the East Siberian as well as the Chukchi Seas stopped having extreme glaciation after 64,000 years ago. The Bering Strait area “Beringia” from around 60,000 to 30,000 had an intermittent land bridge and sometime roughly around 30,000 to 11,000 there is a land bridge that could have allowed crossing into the Americas. Some have theorized that roaming nomadic peoples who entered Siberia about 50,000 years ago and there is evidence of humans in the Yana River region in the Arctic far northern Siberian with evidence of habitation possibly as early as 30,000 years ago, though it was about 1,200 miles from the Bering Strait. This northern Siberian culture found at the Yana settlement has be thought to possibly share some stylistic similarities with Clovis culture found earliest in the America. These roaming nomadic peoples who entered Siberia could have started venturing into the Americas as far back as possibly sometime 40,000 to 11,000 years ago coinciding with a claimant as the last glacial period ended about 11,700 years ago with warming in parts of Beringia from 15,000 years ago. Furthermore, the scientific evidence also demonstrates strong links from indigenous peoples of Americans to the peoples of eastern Siberia. However, there is one interesting to note is how it seems the common Clovis stone tools where very different from Siberian ones around the same time. Siberian style generally involved ivory points with a blade whereas Clovis style roughly around 13,500 to 12,800 years ago, generally involved highly refined thin points. While the sites in north America are surprising an amazing set of sites are in South America that are older than one would think, such as Monte Verde in southern Chile, which was about 8,000 miles south of the Bering Strait Land Bridge access. Moreover, this southern Chile set of Paleoamericans which obviously pre-dates the Clovis culture has been dated to as early as 18,500 and possibly as much as 33,000 years old, though the average age is 14,800 years ago. These Chilean Paleoamericans did utilize mastodons though these people were marine resources adapted hunter-gatherer-fishermen, and not really big hunters as much as was common with the Clovis Paleoamericans, whom are generally considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas. To me, this demonstrates the signs of sedatism adaption to one’s local resources availability. Thus, this means heightened changes in food attainment practices, which often alters superstition patterns, do to resources or conditional environment patterns, factors, places or things. Another amazing South America site is the site of Pedra Furada in Brazil with early dates that seem to be at least 29,000 years old. However, Pedra Furada’s rock art dates to around 12,000 years ago which may be a sign of some new wave of peoples and its art depictions seem to demonstrate spearthrowers and traps as the utilized hunting medium, though the stone tools found generally lacked elaborate design such as was common with the Clovis Paleoamericans. Toca da Tira Peia also in Brazil dates to around 22,000 years ago. Although, North America also has a site at Topper in South Carolina dated to around 16,000 to 20,000 years. The Central American land bridge a vital band bridge that connects North and South America and has evidence of domesticated crops sometime between 9000 and 7000 years ago. Therefore, we can easily see these early Paleoindians have a wide spread in the Americas even by 12,000 years ago. Furthermore, these Paleoamericans became the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Native peoples to the Americas hold the genetics of two very distinctive types. One of these distinctive genetic types expresses connections to the first Asian peoples who started to inhabit the Americas, and the other was relatively connected to distinctive genetic types from when Europeans arrived in the Americas. From Alaska, these Paleoindians spread to North America eventually reaching South America. Possibly, the earliest evidence of these Paleoindians in Alaska is found at the Tanana Valley sites such as, Swan Point which was occupied at least five times and could be as old as 14,000 years ago. At least three distinct stone tool types also have been found in Alaskan starting between 12,060 to 11,660 years ago and may represent separate cultures. Moreover, some of the oldest cultural evidence appear in Alaskan between 11,660 to 10,000 years ago including the use of red ochre, possibly ceremonially. Point in fact, is an 11,500 years old burial of infants, which were found at the Tanana River site containing grave offerings like decorated stone weapons. In all three infants were found, appearing to have died relatively about the same time, one was a partly cremated toddler, as well as a dual burial of a child who may have died soon after birth, and another who was possibly stillborn. The dual burial children were buried alongside stone spearheads with antler handles with geometric designs for decoration possibly involving Totemism; meaning “brother-sister kin” is frequently associated with shamanistic religions and indigenous tribal populations. Totemism loosely involves mystical thinking/relationship with the spirits of animals, plants, or natural spaces/things/forces through the veneration of sacred objects called totems, which may help explain the mythical origin of the concepts of clan to the earth and the living things in it and the reasons there are taboo). This inside of Totemism is important as most of the beliefs seen in the indigenous peoples of Canada and America can be said to involve the religious beliefs of Totemism. And to me there are some similarities between the shamanistic burials at Tanana River site tributary of the Yukon River in Alaska in America with its dual child burial containing spears with geometric designs and red ochre to Sungir western Russia described as “the most spectacular” among European Gravettian culture burials that had elaborate grave goods including ivory-beaded jewelry, Arctic clothing, and spears and red ochre that was a ritual material used in burials at this time. It has also been noticed that the beads on the man pants from Sungir seems to be reflective if pants worn by Native Peoples of some parts of northwest America. The Gravettian people’s origin seems to appear simultaneously all over Europe including Russia. Like their Aurignacian predecessors, they are well-known for their Venus figurines some of which may connect to a fertility rite. And the Gravettian peoples of eastern Europe where quite religiously shamanistic which seems expressive with their Venus figures and unique burials. The Kostenkian, Kostenki-Avdeevo and Kostenki-Streletskaya cultures are the examples of the cultures of the eastern European Gravettian. Not far from Sungir also in Russia, there is another well-known Gravettian site in western Russia at Gagarino seems to further follow this ritualistic/totemism/shamanism of the dual burial’s significance with an interesting dual head to head figurine sculptures found there, which can be interpreted to shows a woman/girl and a man/boy in a way similar to that of Sungir. The bodies are united by the heads, but turned to the opposite directions. The Gravettian of Italy 35,000 – 24,000 years ago is renowned above all for its figurines and burials, one containing an equally ritually connecting two beings though this duel matching involved what seems a possibly pregnant female and a stylized zoomorphic figure that can be interpreted as a shake a possible early representation of the latter goddess and the bull myth thinking. This is not some limited religious behavior as there are various forms of the dual unity of polarity are found in other Gravettian sites of Europe. There is a French Gravettian site Venus figurine with the representation of a woman with a what looks like a bull horn a possible early representation of the latter goddess and the bull myth thinking. Eastern Siberia cultures seemingly has a lot of things in common with the European Gravettian cultures. Mal’ta–Buret’ culture around 24,000 to 15,000 years ago west of Lake Baikal north of the Mongolian border in south Eastern Siberia belonged to a now extinct population closely related to the genetic ancestry of Siberians, Native Americans, Kets, Mansi, Nganasans and Yukaghirs and Yamnaya peoples (Yamna culture) of the European steppe lands north of the Black Sea who have been genetically identified as began a mass migration in different directions, including Europe, about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago showing that the spread of farming was not the only large migration into Europe and explains how people from Germany, for example, are showing small percentages of Native American ancestry as they both have common ancestors from central Asia thousands of years ago. The Yamna culture very significant distributor and to some the originator of the Proto-Indo-European-Language, the now defunct mother-tongue of European languages was primarily nomadic found in Russia also known as the Pit Grave Culture or the Ochre Grave Culture because bodies buried were covered in ochre. All this together possablly offers support for some shared religious thinking and behaviors are found between these groups. Getting back to Alaska and the Paleoamericans involves an odd fact about the child around 3-years-old was that the toddler who had been somewhat cremated inside a hearth, which was then filled then abandoned. Similarly, cultic behavior seems evident in the fact that the two infants are not maternally related and probably female were in a pit grave covered in including all artifact surfaces are coated with red ochre and buried with funerary objects that where likely part of a weapon system. An obsidian peace that was part of the infant burial’s grave goods that when studied shows it comes from the Hoodoo Mountain site Yukon, Canada 370 miles away. Broken Mammoth, Alaska with a total of at least three separate occupaton times and also held far off obsidian but this time it came from a Wiki Peak source, and dates to as early as 13,400 years ago. Similar such obsidian was also used at the Walker Road, Alaska site, and Moose Creek, Alaska site in the same area—all dating to before 13,000 years ago. The obsidian that comprised some of the artifacts originated from Batza Tena in northwest Alaska and from the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve area in east Alaska. All this implies posable trade and outside group interaction. Migration may also be a factor as the two infants’ teeth seems quite similar to those of Native Americans and Northeast Asians. Likewise, there were three of the rods that appear to be similar to the rhinoceros’ horn shaft at Yana Site in northern Siberia. Likewise, the genetic lineages of these two infants are only found in the Americas. The layer with the human burials found on the American side of Beringia in Alaska are similar to those found around 12,600-year-old at level 6 of 7 layers of common cultural artifacts found. And, among the Beringian sites from the early Ushki culture at Ushki Lake, Kamchatka on the American side of Beringia is had a human burial pit dating to approximately 13,000-years-old human from layer 7. It is theorized that the Beringian populations were involved in some of early American Paleoindian populations thus adding to the genetics among modern Native Americans. Speaking of genetic there are models predict that Paleoindian populations likely existed in isolation in Beringia several thousand years before their eventual dispersal to the Americas. Moreover, there is genetics that seem to imply a Pacific coastal migration along with ancient DNA studies that show a connection between such populations of the far-west of North America, from Alaska south to Oregon. More evidence is expressed in how stone tool points that are similar to the early Ushki points are on the Channel Islands of California which may date to around 12,000-years-old. While at Buhl, Idaho, tests on human remains associated with a prolonged point dating to around 12,600 years ago indicate a diet largely acquired from marine resources all seeming to express a coastal migration for at least some of the Americas’ founding populations. The Ushki discoveries of human burial pits from cultural layer 6 also held stone beads as well as pendants and red ocher. The Berelekh site at Yakuria, Siberia, is also worth mentioning do to its mammoth bone cemetery atone tools and ivory rod foreshafts in addition to red ocher, which may have been ritualistic in nature. It is called Ushki in Kamchatka and called Dyuktai in Yakutia and should relatively be considered a stone tool tradition containing several related cultures. In Kolyma and Chukotka, there were stone tool styles that probably developed under the influence of both the Ushki Kamchatka and the Dyuktai cultures. These cultures were also impacted by the Russian Far Eastern Ustinovka culture dating to a time similar to the Kamchatka sites and at Amur with the Selemja culture. There are also Dyuktai culture sites found on the Aldan, Olenyok, and Indigirka rivers. There seems to be some support that the Dyuktai culture existed in Siberia from 35,000 to 10,500 years ago and could be a precursor to the Clovis culture. It apereas that Modern Humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans all lived in Southern Siberia at the same time around 40,000 years ago. Neanderthal genetics found in both Asia and indigenous America appear to contain more regions of Neanderthal than populations in Europe. Denisovan genetics found in both Asia and indigenous America appear to contain about 25 times less Denisovan contributions then Papua New Guinea and Australia populations. Klyuchevskaya Sopka 60 miles from the Bering Sea is the highest point in Siberia at 15,580 ft and is also Europe’s highest active volcano which is on the Kamchatka Peninsula and vocations have always seemed to inspire myths or superstitions/supernaturalism beliefs. Point in fact, some indigenous peoples consider Klyuchevskaya Sopka sacred viewed as where the world was created. Klyuchevskaya Sopka is the most sacred even over other volcanoes in the region, which also hold similar spiritual significance, but Klyuchevskaya Sopka is the most sacred of these. It is said that when the god Volkov created the world, this was the point at which he held it, and so it remains unfinished, unsealed, thus the volcanic activity. Furthermore, there are some traditions that seem to regard Siberia as the possible archetypal home of shamanism, involving sacred practices considered by the tribes to be very ancient. The technological know of the Dyuktai culture is seemingly evident in how it is possible that the Paleoindians inhabitants of the Aldan had knowledge of the bow in the final stage of the Dyuktai culture. The cultural remains from Layers 5 and 6 of the Ushki site seems to connect to about the time of the final stage of the Dyuktai culture. There seems to be some evidence that roaming nomadic peoples episodically appeared in Dyuktai Cave region located in the Aldan River valley of northeast Siberia at least by 16,000 to 19,000 years ago and some estimates extend it to 35,000 years. The Dyuktai Cave is among the earliest of the Diuktai culture sites with occupations lasting until possibly 12,000 years ago. The human activity in Dyuktai Cave seems to be associated with mammoth hunting with stone spear points similar in some ways to Clovis points. Also in central Alaska, there was similar abrupt change in stone tool technology with one style overlying another. Moreover, layer 7 may also possibly connect to the Nenana culture due to similar typology and chronology. Nenana Valley site in was first occupied around 11,000 years ago containing points that could suggest the Nenana culture has an ancestral connection to Clovis points found across the United States. There is also thinking that that layer 6 may correlate with part of the Dyuktai culture and could even possibly connect to the Denali culture in Alaska. Moreover, there seems that both Siberia and Alaska experienced an abrupt change from stone tool cultures and could express a second wave of migration rather than adaptation of technology to new climatic conditions. The collection of artifacts from Taria Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula held potential religious significance, such as obsidian human-like/anthropomorphic figures from a pit house that appear to be similar to artifacts from around 9,000 to 7,000 years ago in the USA, England, Switzerland, and France, as well as the Volosovskaia site near Murom in western Russia. The Taria Bay finds are some of the earliest Kamchatka culture who seem to share a genetic relationship of the Eskimo, Chukchi, Koryak, and Itel’men groups as well as other peoples of Asia and America. At the lower layers of the first Ushki site (1) held a burial pit with funeral remains in the form of a multitude of stone pendants, beads and ornaments in two of the earliest Paleolithic settlements in the Northeast Paleoindian at level 7 and Protoeskimo-Aleut in levels 6 and 5. One of the level 6 houses held the burials of a person and a dog along with lots of different stone artifacts Kamchatka animals utilized in that region and time. Kamchatka and it’s the peoples are important in understanding their historical role in the settlement of the Americas, which is why the customs of Kamchatka’s native peoples and tribal structure seen in the Itel’men, the Koryak, and the Ainuthe, all of which were the primary inhabitants of Kamchatka at that time. If one does not know anything about those tribes, they may see little difference between them and they do look a lot like each other, similar cultures, languages and religious beliefs. Paleoindians eventually settled in various environments, including coastal regions, forests, mountains, and swamps adapting lifestyles to surroundings. Occupation of the higher elevations of western North America is around 9,700 to 7,500 years ago living in the mountains year-round. Paleoindians also begin to exploit a higher diversity of resources as their knowledge of the local landscape increases. Possibly the oldest Clovis site in North America is El Fin del Mundo site around 13,390 years ago in northwestern Sonora, Mexico and the Clovis culture decline genetic data shows that the Clovis people are the direct ancestors of roughly 80% of all living Native American populations in North and South America. At the Pedra Furada site in Brazil around 12,000 to10,500 years ago actually involves over 800 sites including hundreds of rock paintings dating to around 11,000 years ago. Around 11,500 years ago Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets retreat enough to allow a corridor through Canada along the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains. Around 11,000 years ago cultural materials can be found on the Channel Islands of California around 40 miles from Santa Barbara and in coastal Peru. Also, around 10,900 to 12,100 years ago found a number of unusual crescent-shaped tools made of chipped stone, artifacts similar to those found throughout the Great Basin. At least nine of the sites have evidence of Paleoindian occupation around 12,000 to 11,000 years ago some of the earliest on North America’s West Coast. Wizards Beach Man & Spirit Cave mummy from Nevada in America are quite interesting. The Spirit Cave remains involved two people wrapped in tules (3 to 10 ft. giant marsh plants) used as matting. One set of remains, buried deeper than the other, had been partially become mummified. Native American groups possessed tules in many ways, waving them to make baskets, bowls, mats, hats, clothing, duck decoys, canoes and even canoes. Moreover, about 100 miles northeast from Spirit Cave on Pyramid Lake was found Wizards Beach Man. And, around 7,000 up to 12,000 years ago in southern Nevada have found nearly 20 sites used by ancient hunter-gatherers as much as 12,000 years ago. From around 12,000 to 7,000 years ago in southern Nevada there was nearly 20 sites used by ancient hunter-gatherers the Great Basin most often found around certain kinds of land formations near water, lakes, and marshlands. Around 11,500 to 9,800 years ago in southern California 8,830 artifacts are discovered in several layers of human occupation but most of the artifacts date to around 7,000 to 9,000 years ago. Around 11,800 at Kelly Forks, Idaho with some of the earliest evidence yet of salmon cooking as well as 11,000-year-old points seem to imply freshwater resources were more important for Paleoindian hunter-gatherers than previously though. Around 12,000 years ago evidence of occupation and bison butchering evidence dates to around 11,500-Year-Old is found at Beaver River complex with prehistoric hunting sites in a floodplain in northwestern Oklahoma along with stone tools and a small, sharp flake or Texas chert. Around 10,500 years ago in the borderlands of northern Mexico is a camp used by Paleoindian hunters revealing insights into some of the earliest human history in the Greater Southwest. A10,000 years old Paleoindian site near the Santa Maria River in northern Chihuahua, involves the grave of a 12 to 15-years-old Paleoindian girl covered by rocks around 3,200 years ago buried in a flexed position, with no grave goods or other offerings. A 10,000-year-old Paleoindian stone tool site was found at Seattle in America. Another Paleoindian site round 10,000 to 8,500 year ago provides evidence for bison hunting seeming to utilize of a game drive system to kill them, which may have been a new needed adaption. This may have been especially so following the extinction of mammoth, thus Bison would have then become one of the most important game for food, bones and hides for clothing and shelter. These Paleoindian utilizing a game drive system (sometimes utilizing low rock walls ranging in shape from a U, V and parallel shapes to direct animals) that may have needed up to 25 individuals (a good portion of a clan, thus a rather communal behavior likely adding to group cohesion as well as a likely increase possibility of somewhat equal food sharing and it is not a stretch to thing a ceremonial sacred clan bonding feast would soon follow at some point. Agriculture in the Americas seems to generally involve squash, as early as around 10,000 years ago, corn as early as around 9,500 years ago, and beans by no later than around 6,000 years ago. A clear Paleoindian culture in the Americas Plains existed 9,000 to 7,000 years ago. Some theorize that the rock art in Hata may be as much as up to 7,000 years old involving a giant display of large ochre-colored figures are painted on a remote wall in Utah a dynamic shamanistic seeming rock art technique connected to the Barrier Canyon Style recognized by common limbless anthropomorphic figures found throughout the Colorado Plateau.
by Damien Marie AtHope