The three-age system is the categorization of history into time periods divisible by three. In history and physical anthropology, the three-age system is a methodological concept adopted during the 19th century by which artifacts and events of late prehistory and early history could be ordered into a recognizable chronology, it was developed by C. J. Thomsen, director of the Royal Museum of Nordic Antiquities, Copenhagen, as a means to classify the museum’s collections according to whether the artifacts were made of stone, bronze, or iron; the system first appealed to British researchers working in the science of ethnology who adopted it to establish race sequences for Britain's past based on cranial types. Although the craniological ethnology that formed its first scholarly context holds no scientific value, the relative chronology of the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age is still in use in a general public context, the three ages remain the underpinning of prehistoric chronology for Europe, the Mediterranean world and the Near East.
The structure reflects the cultural and historical background of Mediterranean Europe and the Middle East and soon underwent further subdivisions, including the 1865 partitioning of the Stone Age into Paleolithic and Neolithic periods by John Lubbock. It is, however, of little or no use for the establishment of chronological frameworks in sub-Saharan Africa, much of Asia, the Americas and some other areas and has little importance in contemporary archaeological or anthropological discussion for these regions; the concept of dividing pre-historical ages into systems based on metals extends far back in European history originated by Lucretius in the first century BC. But the present archaeological system of the three main ages—stone and iron—originates with the Danish archaeologist Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, who placed the system on a more scientific basis by typological and chronological studies, at first, of tools and other artifacts present in the Museum of Northern Antiquities in Copenhagen.
He used artifacts and the excavation reports published or sent to him by Danish archaeologists who were doing controlled excavations. His position as curator of the museum gave him enough visibility to become influential on Danish archaeology. A well-known and well-liked figure, he explained his system in person to visitors at the museum, many of them professional archaeologists. In his poem and Days, the ancient Greek poet Hesiod between 750 and 650 BC, defined five successive Ages of Man: 1. Golden, 2. Silver, 3. Bronze, 4. Heroic and 5. Iron. Only the Bronze Age and the Iron Age are based on the use of metal:... Zeus the father created the third generation of mortals, the age of bronze... They were terrible and strong, the ghastly action of Ares was theirs, violence.... The weapons of these men were bronze, of bronze their houses, they worked as bronzesmiths. There was not yet any black iron. Hesiod knew from the traditional poetry, such as the Iliad, the heirloom bronze artifacts that abounded in Greek society, that before the use of iron to make tools and weapons, bronze had been the preferred material and iron was not smelted at all.
He did not continue the manufacturing metaphor, but mixed his metaphors, switching over to the market value of each metal. Iron was cheaper than bronze, so there must have been a silver age, he portrays a sequence of metallic ages. Each age has less of a moral value than the preceding. Of his own age he says: "And I wish that I were not any part of the fifth generation of men, but had died before it came, or had been born afterward." The moral metaphor of the ages of metals continued. Lucretius, replaced moral degradation with the concept of progress, which he conceived to be like the growth of an individual human being; the concept is evolutionary:. Everything must pass through successive phases. Nothing remains. Everything is on the move. Everything is transformed by nature and forced into new paths... The Earth passes through successive phases, so that it can no longer bear what it could, it can now what it could not before; the Romans believed that the species of animals, including humans, were spontaneously generated from the materials of the Earth, because of which the Latin word mater, "mother", descends to English-speakers as matter and material.
In Lucretius the Earth is Venus, to whom the poem is dedicated in the first few lines. She brought forth humankind by spontaneous generation. Having been given birth as a species, humans must grow to maturity by analogy with the individual; the different phases of their collective life are marked by the accumulation of customs to form material civilization: The earliest weapons were hands and teeth. Next came stones and branches wrenched from trees, fire and flame as soon as these were discovered. Men learnt to use tough iron and copper. With copper they tilled the soil. With copper they whipped up the clashing waves of war... By slow degrees the iron sword came to the fore. Lucretius envisioned a pre-technological human, "far tougher than the men of today... They lived out their lives in the fashion of wild beasts roaming at large." The next stage was the use of huts, clothing and the family. City-states and citadels followed them. Lucretius supposes that the initial
An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental and polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers. Earth is in the Quaternary glaciation, known in popular terminology as the Ice Age. Individual pulses of cold climate are termed "glacial periods", intermittent warm periods are called "interglacials", with both climatic pulses part of the Quaternary or other periods in Earth's history. In the terminology of glaciology, ice age implies the presence of extensive ice sheets in both northern and southern hemispheres. By this definition, we are in an interglacial period—the Holocene; the amount of heat trapping gases emitted into Earth's Oceans and atmosphere will prevent the next ice age, which otherwise would begin in around 50,000 years, more glacial cycles. In 1742, Pierre Martel, an engineer and geographer living in Geneva, visited the valley of Chamonix in the Alps of Savoy. Two years he published an account of his journey.
He reported that the inhabitants of that valley attributed the dispersal of erratic boulders to the glaciers, saying that they had once extended much farther. Similar explanations were reported from other regions of the Alps. In 1815 the carpenter and chamois hunter Jean-Pierre Perraudin explained erratic boulders in the Val de Bagnes in the Swiss canton of Valais as being due to glaciers extending further. An unknown woodcutter from Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland advocated a similar idea in a discussion with the Swiss-German geologist Jean de Charpentier in 1834. Comparable explanations are known from the Val de Ferret in the Valais and the Seeland in western Switzerland and in Goethe's scientific work; such explanations could be found in other parts of the world. When the Bavarian naturalist Ernst von Bibra visited the Chilean Andes in 1849–1850, the natives attributed fossil moraines to the former action of glaciers. Meanwhile, European scholars had begun to wonder. From the middle of the 18th century, some discussed ice as a means of transport.
The Swedish mining expert Daniel Tilas was, in 1742, the first person to suggest drifting sea ice in order to explain the presence of erratic boulders in the Scandinavian and Baltic regions. In 1795, the Scottish philosopher and gentleman naturalist, James Hutton, explained erratic boulders in the Alps by the action of glaciers. Two decades in 1818, the Swedish botanist Göran Wahlenberg published his theory of a glaciation of the Scandinavian peninsula, he regarded glaciation as a regional phenomenon. Only a few years the Danish-Norwegian geologist Jens Esmark argued a sequence of worldwide ice ages. In a paper published in 1824, Esmark proposed changes in climate as the cause of those glaciations, he attempted to show. During the following years, Esmark's ideas were discussed and taken over in parts by Swedish and German scientists. At the University of Edinburgh Robert Jameson seemed to be open to Esmark's ideas, as reviewed by Norwegian professor of glaciology Bjørn G. Andersen. Jameson's remarks about ancient glaciers in Scotland were most prompted by Esmark.
In Germany, Albrecht Reinhard Bernhardi, a geologist and professor of forestry at an academy in Dreissigacker, since incorporated in the southern Thuringian city of Meiningen, adopted Esmark's theory. In a paper published in 1832, Bernhardi speculated about former polar ice caps reaching as far as the temperate zones of the globe. In 1829, independently of these debates, the Swiss civil engineer Ignaz Venetz explained the dispersal of erratic boulders in the Alps, the nearby Jura Mountains, the North German Plain as being due to huge glaciers; when he read his paper before the Schweizerische Naturforschende Gesellschaft, most scientists remained sceptical. Venetz convinced his friend Jean de Charpentier. De Charpentier transformed Venetz's idea into a theory with a glaciation limited to the Alps, his thoughts resembled Wahlenberg's theory. In fact, both men shared the same volcanistic, or in de Charpentier's case rather plutonistic assumptions, about the Earth's history. In 1834, de Charpentier presented his paper before the Schweizerische Naturforschende Gesellschaft.
In the meantime, the German botanist Karl Friedrich Schimper was studying mosses which were growing on erratic boulders in the alpine upland of Bavaria. He began to wonder. During the summer of 1835 he made some excursions to the Bavarian Alps. Schimper came to the conclusion that ice must have been the means of transport for the boulders in the alpine upland. In the winter of 1835 to 1836 he held. Schimper assumed that there must have been global times of obliteration with a cold climate and frozen water. Schimper spent the summer months of 1836 at Devens, near Bex, in the Swiss Alps with his former university friend Louis Agassiz and Jean de Charpentier. Schimper, de Charpentier and Venetz convinced Agassiz that there had been a time of glaciation. During the winter of 1836/37, Agassiz and Schimper developed the theory of a sequence of glaciations, they drew upon the preceding works of Venetz, de Charpentier and on their own fieldwork. Agassiz appears to have been familiar with Bernhardi's paper at that time.
At the beginning of 1837, Schimper coined the term "ice age" for the period of the glaciers. In July 1837 Ag
A basket is a container, traditionally constructed from stiff fibers, can be made from a range of materials, including wood splints and cane. While most baskets are made from plant materials, other materials such as horsehair, baleen, or metal wire can be used. Baskets are woven by hand; some baskets are fitted with a lid. Baskets serve utilitarian as well as aesthetic purposes; some baskets are ceremonial, religious, in nature. While baskets are used for harvesting and transport, specialized baskets are used as sieves for a variety of purposes, including cooking, processing seeds or grains, tossing gambling pieces, fans, fish traps, laundry. Prior to the invention of woven baskets, people used tree bark to make simple containers; these containers could be used to transport gathered food and other items, but crumbled after only a few uses. Weaving strips of bark or other plant material to support the bark containers would be the next step, followed by woven baskets; the last innovation appears to be baskets so woven that they could hold water.
Depending on soil conditions, baskets may not be preserved in the archaeological record. Sites in the Middle East show that weaving techniques were used to make mats and also baskets, circa 8000 BCE. Twined baskets date back to 7000 in Oasisamerica. Baskets made with interwoven techniques were common at 3000 BCE. Baskets were designed as multi-purpose vessels to carry and store materials and to keep stray items about the home; the plant life available in a region affects the choice of material, which in turn influences the weaving technique. Rattan and other members of the Arecaceae or palm tree family, the thin grasses of temperate regions, broad-leaved tropical bromeliads each require a different method of twisting and braiding to be made into a basket; the practice of basket making has evolved into an art. Artistic freedom allows basket makers a wide choice of colors, sizes and details; the carrying of a basket on the head by rural women, has long been practised. Representations of this in Ancient Greek art are called Canephorae.
The phrase "to hell in a handbasket" means to deteriorate. The origin of this use is unclear. "Basket" is sometimes used as an adjective towards a person, born out of wedlock. This occurs more in British English. "Basket" refers to a bulge in a man's crotch. Basket makers use a wide range of materials: Wicker Straw Plastic Metal Bamboo Palm Carbon fiber Zepeda, Ofelia. Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert. ISBN 0-8165-1541-7. "Basket". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3. 1911. Baskets, The Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Aşıklı Höyük is a settlement mound located nearly 1 km south of Kızılkaya village on the bank of the Melendiz brook, 25 kilometers southeast of Aksaray, Turkey. Aşıklı Höyük is located in an area covered by the volcanic tuff of central Cappadocia, in Aksaray Province; the archaeological site of Aşıklı Höyük was first settled in the Aceramic Neolithic period, around 9000 B. C, it is situated 1119.5 metres above sea level, a little higher than the region's average of c. 1000 metres. The site itself is about 4 ha smaller than the situated site of Çatalhöyük; the surrounding landscape is formed by erosion of river valleys into tuff deposits. The Melendiz Valley, where the Aşıklı Höyük is located, constitutes a favourable and diverse habitat; the proximity to an obsidian source did become the base of a trade with the material supplying areas as far away as today's Cyprus and Iraq. Aşıklı Höyük was first investigated by Professor Ian A. Todd when he visited the site in the summer of 1964. Todd emphasised the importance of the obsidian in the area, based on over 6000 obsidian pieces collected from the surface layer alone.
The site was classified as a medium sized mound and destroyed by the river situated next to it. On the basis of the lithics and animal bones located in the surface layers the site became known as a contemporary to the Palestine PPNB, reinforced by 14C dates; the first comprehensive excavations took place late: first when the government launched a plan that would result in the rise of the waters of the Mamasın Lake located close to Aşıklı Höyük, Professor Ufuk Esin started the salvage excavations in 1989. Nine excavations have been undertaken up to 2003, uncovering 4200 m2 on the horizontal plain, making it one of the largest scale excavations in the region; the newest dates for Aşıklı Höyük show that the occupational period was from 8200 to 7400 BC, extracted from 3 layers with a total of 13 phases. It is known as one of the earliest Aceramic Neolithic sites on the Anatolian plateau, the prior mentioned extraction of the obsidian source was to be frequented as far back as the Paleolithic nomadic hunter-gatherers.
Due to its date and structural organization Aşıklı Höyük is known to be "a prime example of a first foray into sedentism". After more than 400 rooms had been excavated, the total number of individual found to have been buried within the settlement did not surpass 70. All these burials were under building floors; the dead were placed in pits cut through the floor during the occupation of the building. The buried are people of all ages. There is a variety of skeletal body postures, from burials in a hocker position to extended skeletons facing upwards. Others are lying on one side with the legs bent at the knees; the orientation of the burials varies within the buildings, as does the number of individuals buried inside them. The male population had individuals up to the age of 55–57 years of age, while the majority of females died between the ages of 20 and 25; the skeletal remains of these women show spinal deformities indicating that they had to carry heavy loads. This does not itself prove; the fact that the men seem to have outlived the women might be interpreted as sign that the women were subject to more strenuous physical labour than their male counterparts.
From Natufian Abu Hureyra there are similar osteological signs, such as pathologies in metatarsals, phalanges and shoulder joints, being specific to females resulting from habitual kneeling in the use of saddle querns. The Neolithic evidence show indications of increased physical workload in the osteological material on both genders, where the male skeletons show signs of joint disease and trauma arguably caused by cutting timber and tilling. Children represent 37.8% of the deceased, with 43.7% mortality within a year of birth. The skeletal remains are complete and with articulations intact, indicating that the burials have been primary; the graves contain either double burials. On one occasion two graves were found under the floor of room AB, belonging to an adjacent court with a large domed mudbrick oven paved with blocks of basalt. In one of the graves were the skeletons of a young woman and an elderly man; the young woman had undergone trepanation and survived only a few days after the operation.
All skeletons were buried in the hocker position, a fetal-like positioning were the arms are embracing the lower limbs. From a different grave a woman shows signs of being scalped after her death, according to the cut marks on her skull; as many as 55% of the skeletons show signs of being burned. The burial under the floor AB is accommodated by walls with the interior side were painted in a purplish red colour; the oven in HG indicates that this was indeed "special individuals of an elite class", claiming it can be compared to the "Terrazzo" Building at Çayönü and the "Temple" Building at Nevalı Çori and therefore have been a shrine used for religious ceremonies. Many of the burials contain burial goods consisting of necklaces and bracelets made of beads of various sorts.70 burials in over 400 rooms suggest that some form of selection took place of, buried at the site, implementing that AB indeed could be the residence or resting place of people influential in terms of both economy and political power.
Rooms containing hearths are more to contain burials. It has been argued that the number of burials could be an
History of agriculture
The history of agriculture records the domestication of plants and animals and the development and dissemination of techniques for raising them productively. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa. At least eleven separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin. Wild grains were collected and eaten from at least 20,000 BC. From around 9500 BC, the eight Neolithic founder crops – emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, hulled barley, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas, flax – were cultivated in the Levant. Rye may have been cultivated earlier but this remains controversial. Rice was domesticated in China by 6200 BC with earliest known cultivation from 5700 BC, followed by mung and azuki beans. Pigs were domesticated in Mesopotamia around 11,000 BC, followed by sheep between 11,000 BC and 9000 BC. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan around 8500 BC. Sugarcane and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 7000 BC.
Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 5000 BC. In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 8000 BC and 5000 BC, along with beans, llamas and guinea pigs. Bananas were hybridized in the same period in Papua New Guinea. In Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was domesticated to maize by 4000 BC. Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 3600 BC. Camels were domesticated late around 3000 BC; the Bronze Age, from c. 3300 BC, witnessed the intensification of agriculture in civilizations such as Mesopotamian Sumer, ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilisation of South Asia, ancient China, ancient Greece. During the Iron Age and era of classical antiquity, the expansion of ancient Rome, both the Republic and the Empire, throughout the ancient Mediterranean and Western Europe built upon existing systems of agriculture while establishing the manorial system that became a bedrock of medieval agriculture. In the Middle Ages, both in the Islamic world and in Europe, agriculture was transformed with improved techniques and the diffusion of crop plants, including the introduction of sugar, rice and fruit trees such as the orange to Europe by way of Al-Andalus.
After the voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Columbian exchange brought New World crops such as maize, sweet potatoes, manioc to Europe, Old World crops such as wheat, barley and turnips, livestock including horses, cattle and goats to the Americas. Irrigation, crop rotation, fertilizers were introduced soon after the Neolithic Revolution and developed much further in the past 200 years, starting with the British Agricultural Revolution. Since 1900, agriculture in the developed nations, to a lesser extent in the developing world, has seen large rises in productivity as human labour has been replaced by mechanization, assisted by synthetic fertilizers and selective breeding; the Haber-Bosch process allowed the synthesis of ammonium nitrate fertilizer on an industrial scale increasing crop yields. Modern agriculture has raised social and environmental issues including water pollution, genetically modified organisms and farm subsidies. In response, organic farming developed in the twentieth century as an alternative to the use of synthetic pesticides.
Scholars have developed a number of hypotheses to explain the historical origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies indicate an antecedent period of intensification and increasing sedentism. Current models indicate that wild stands, harvested started to be planted, but were not domesticated. Localised climate change is the favoured explanation for the origins of agriculture in the Levant; when major climate change took place after the last ice age, much of the earth became subject to long dry seasons. These conditions favoured annual plants which die off in the long dry season, leaving a dormant seed or tuber. An abundance of storable wild grains and pulses enabled hunter-gatherers in some areas to form the first settled villages at this time. Early people began altering communities of flora and fauna for their own benefit through means such as fire-stick farming and forest gardening early. Exact dates are hard to determine, as people collected and ate seeds before domesticating them, plant characteristics may have changed during this period without human selection.
An example is the semi-tough rachis and larger seeds of cereals from just after the Younger Dryas in the early Holocene in the Levant region of the Fertile Crescent. Monophyletic characteristics were attained without any human intervention, implying that apparent domestication of the cereal rachis could have occurred quite naturally. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa. At least 11 separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin; some of the earliest known domestications were of animals. Domestic pigs had multiple centres of origin in Eurasia, including Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia, where wild boar were first domesticated about 10,500 years ago. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 11,000 BC and 9000 BC. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan around 8500 BC. Camels were domesticated late around 3000 BC, it was not until after 9500 BC that the eight so-called founder crops of agriculture appear: first emmer and einkorn wheat hulled barley, lenti
An earth oven, ground oven or cooking pit is one of the most simple and ancient cooking structures. At its most basic, an earth oven is a pit in the ground used to trap heat and bake, smoke, or steam food. Earth ovens have been used in many places and cultures in the past, the presence of such cooking pits is a key sign of human settlement sought by archaeologists. Earth ovens remain a common tool for cooking large quantities of food where no equipment is available, they have been used in various civilizations around the world and are still found in the Pacific region to date. To bake food, the fire is built allowed to burn down to a smoulder; the food is placed in the oven and covered. This covered area can be used to bake other various items. Steaming food in an earth oven covers a similar process. Fire-heated rocks are put into a pit and are covered with green vegetation to add moisture and large quantities of food. More green vegetation and sometimes water are added, if more moisture is needed.
A covering of earth is added over everything. The food in the pit can take up to several hours to a full day to cook, regardless of the dry or wet method used. Today, many communities still use cooking pits for ceremonial or celebratory occasions, including the indigenous Fijian lovo, the Hawaiian imu, the Māori hāngi, the Mexican barbacoa, the New England clam bake; the central Asian tandoor use the method for uncovered, live-fire baking, a transitional design between the earth oven and the horizontal-plan masonry oven. This method is a permanent earth oven made out of clay or firebrick with a burning hot fire in the bottom. In many areas, archaeologists recognize "pit-hearths" as being used in the past. In Central Texas, there are large "burned-rock middens" speculated to be used for large-scale cooking of plants of various sorts the bulbs of sotol; the Mayan pib and Andean watia are other examples. In Mesoamerica and the Caribbean nations, barbacoa is a common practice. Barbacoa a Taino word referring to the pit itself, consists of slow-roasted meat in a maguey-lined pit, popular in Mexico alongside birria and salsa.
The clam bake, invented by Native Americans on the Atlantic seaboard and considered a traditional element of New England cuisine, traditionally uses a type of ad hoc earth oven. A large enough hole is dug into the sand and heated rocks are added to the bottom of the hole. A layer of seaweed is laid on top to create moisture and steam, followed by the food. Lastly, another layer of seaweed is added to trap in the steam and cook the food, which consists of shellfish and vegetables; the Curanto of the Chiloé Archipelago consists of shellfish, potatoes, milcao chapaleles, vegetables traditionally prepared in an earth oven. It has spread to the southern areas of Chile. Earth oven cooking is sometimes used for celebratory cooking in North Africa Morocco: a whole lamb is cooked in an earth oven in a manner similar to the Hawaiian kalua. Among Bedouin and Tuareg nomads, a simple earth oven is used – when men travel without family or kitchen equipment in the desert; the oven is used to bake bread but is used to cook venison and waran.
When baking bread, the wheat or barley flour is mixed with water and some salt and placed directly into the hot sands beneath the camp fire. It is covered again by hot coal and left to bake; this kind of bread is eaten with black tea. The sand has to be knocked off before consuming the bread. Sometimes this type of bread is made when the family is together, because people like the taste of it; the bread is mixed with molten fat and labneh and formed into a dough before eating. This bread may be known under other local names. Earth oven cooking was common in the past and continues into the present – for special occasions, since the earth oven process is labor-intensive. In some part-Melanesian and other related languages, the general term is "umu," from the Proto-Oceanic root *qumun. In some non-Polynesian, part-Polynesian, Micronesian parts of the Pacific, which some islands use the similar word umu, but not all Micronesian islands having many different languages use that base word umu, other words are used instead of umu - in Fiji it is a lovo and in Rotuman it is a koua.
In Papua New Guinea, "mumu" is used by Tok Pisin and English speakers, but each of the other hundreds of local languages has its own word. In the Solomon Islands the word in Pidgin is Toku. Despite the similarities, there are many differences in the details of preparation, their cultural significance, current usage. Earth ovens are said to have originated in Papua New Guinea and have been adopted by the arriving Polynesians; the Samoan umu uses the same method of cooking as many other earth ovens and is related to the Hawaiian earth oven, the imu, made underground by digging a pit. It is a common day-to-day method of preparing roasted foods, with modern ovens being restricted to western-style houses. In the traditional village house, gas burners will be used inside the house to cook some food in pots; the umu is sheltered by a roof in case of rain, it is separate from the house. There are no walls; the Samoan u
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants. Although some indigenous peoples of the Americas were traditionally hunter-gatherers—and many in the Amazon basin, still are—many groups practiced aquaculture and agriculture; the impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas. Although some societies depended on agriculture, others practiced a mix of farming and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, city-states, states and empires. Among these are the Aztec and Maya states that until the 16th century were among the most politically and advanced nations in the world, they had a vast knowledge of engineering, mathematics, writing, medicine and irrigation, mining and goldsmithing. Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous peoples.
At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as the Quechuan languages, Guaraní, Mayan languages and Nahuatl, count their speakers in millions. Many maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, over time, cultures specific to many indigenous peoples have evolved to incorporate traditional aspects but cater to modern needs; some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western culture and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples. Indigenous peoples of the United States are known as Native Americans or American Indians and Alaska Natives. Application of the term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus, who, in his search for India, thought that he had arrived in the East Indies; those islands came to be known as the "West Indies", a name still used. This led to the blanket term "Indies" and "Indians" for the indigenous inhabitants, which implied some kind of racial or cultural unity among the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
This unifying concept, codified in law and politics, was not accepted by the myriad groups of indigenous peoples themselves, but has since been embraced or tolerated, by many over the last two centuries. Though the term "Indian" does not include the culturally and linguistically distinct indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions of the Americas—such as the Aleuts, Inuit or Yupik peoples, who entered the continent as a second more recent wave of migration several thousand years before and have much more recent genetic and cultural commonalities with the aboriginal peoples of the Asiatic Arctic Russian Far East—these groups are nonetheless considered "indigenous peoples of the Americas". Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, which includes not only First Nations and Arctic Inuit, but the minority population of First Nations-European mixed race Métis people who identify culturally and ethnically with indigenous peoplehood; this is contrasted, for instance, to the American Indian-European mixed race mestizos of Hispanic America who, with their larger population, identify as a new ethnic group distinct from both Europeans and Indigenous Americans, but still considering themselves a subset of the European-derived Hispanic or Brazilian peoplehood in culture and ethnicity.
The term Amerindian and its cognates find preferred use in scientific contexts and in Quebec, the Guianas and the English-speaking Caribbean. Indígenas or pueblos indígenas is a common term in Spanish-speaking countries and pueblos nativos or nativos may be heard, while aborigen is used in Argentina and pueblos originarios is common in Chile. In Brazil, indígenas or povos indígenas are common if formal-sounding designations, while índio is still the more often-heard term and aborígene and nativo being used in Amerindian-specific contexts; the Spanish and Portuguese equivalents to Indian could be used to mean any hunter-gatherer or full-blooded Indigenous person to continents other than Europe or Africa—for example, indios filipinos. The specifics of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the exact dates and routes traveled, are the subject of ongoing research and discussion. According to archaeological and genetic evidence and South America were the last continents in the world to gain human habitation.
During the Wisconsin glaciation, 50–17,000 years ago, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the land bridge of Beringia that joined Siberia to northwest North America. Alaska was a glacial refugium; the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered most of North America, blocking nomadic inhabitants and confining them to Alaska for thousands of years. Indigenous genetic studies suggest that the first inhabitants of the Americas share a single ancestral population, one that developed in isolation, conjectured to be Beringia; the isolat