Coles Creek culture
Coles Creek culture is a Late Woodland archaeological culture in the Lower Mississippi valley in the southern United States. It followed the Troyville culture; the period marks a significant change in the cultural history of the area. Population increased and there is strong evidence of a growing cultural and political complexity by the end of the Coles Creek sequence. Although many of the classic traits of chiefdom societies are not yet manifested, by 1000 CE the formation of simple elite polities had begun. Coles Creek sites are found in Arkansas and Mississippi, it is considered ancestral to the Plaquemine culture. The Coles Creek culture is an indigenous development of the Lower Mississippi Valley that took place between the terminal Woodland period and the Plaquemine culture period; the period is marked by the increased use of flat-topped platform mounds arranged around central plazas, more complex political institutions, a subsistence strategy still grounded in the Eastern Agricultural Complex and hunting rather than on the maize plant as would happen in the succeeding Plaquemine Mississippian period.
The culture was defined by the unique decoration on grog-tempered ceramic ware by James A. Ford after his investigations at the Mazique Archeological Site, he had studied both the Mazique and Coles Creek Sites, went with the Mazique culture, but decided on the less involved sites name. The Coles Creak area is further subdivided into Coles Creek proper in the northern part of its range throughout the interior Mississippi Valley, Coastal Coles Creek, being found along the Gulf coast south of the latitude of modern Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Although earlier cultures built mounds as a part of mortuary customs, by the Coles Creek period these mounds took on a newer shape and function. Instead of being for burial, mounds were constructed to support temples and other civic structures. Pyramidal mounds with flat tops and ramps were constructed over successive years and with many layers. A temple or other structures of wattle and daub construction, would be built on the summit of the mound. A typical Coles Creek site plan consisted of at least two, more three, mounds around a central plaza.
This pattern emerged in 800 CE and continued for several hundred years. By late Coles Creek times, the site plans are enlarged to include up to three more mounds. Sites typical of this period are Mount Nebo, Holly Bluff, Kings Crossing, Lake Agnes. Many Coles Creek mounds were erected over earlier mortuary mounds, leading researchers to speculate that emerging elites were symbolically and physically appropriating dead ancestors to emphasize and project their own authority. Long-distance trade seems to have been negligible at this time, as exotic goods and trade items are rare in Coles Creek sites. There is little evidence of domesticated or cultivated plants until the end of the Coles Creek period. Acorns are a dominant food source, supplemented with persimmons and some starchy seeds such as maygrass. Coles Creek populations may have loosely "managed" certain plant resources in order to promote a better or more consistent food supply. Maize is found in limited quantities, but by 1000-1200 CE had begun to increase, although nowhere near the levels it would reach in Mississippian culture times.
The bow and arrow was introduced in this period. Pottery styles changed during this period, as people began to create more durable wares with more diversified uses. Wet clay was tempered with particles of dry clay to prevent cracking during firing. Most pots were decorated only on the upper half with designs of incised lines or impressed tool marks. Colors ranged from tan, black and gray, although the rare red example is known; the rare effigy pot is found. Plum Bayou culture Culture and chronological table for the Mississippi Valley Hudson, Charles M. Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando De Soto and the South's Ancient Chiefdoms, University of Georgia Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8203-1888-4 R. Barry Lewis and Charles Stout, editors. "Mississippian Towns and Sacred Spaces", University of Alabama Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8173-0947-0 Southeastern Prehistory - Late Woodland Period
The Bering Strait is a strait of the Pacific, which separates Russia and Alaska south of the Arctic Circle at about 65° 40' N latitude. The present Russia-US east-west boundary is at 168° 58' 37" W; the Strait is named after an explorer in the service of the Russian Empire. The Strait has been the subject of the scientific hypothesis that humans migrated from Asia to North America across a land bridge known as Beringia when lower ocean levels – a result of glaciers locking up vast amounts of water – exposed a wide stretch of the sea floor, both at the present strait and in the shallow sea north and south of it; this view of how Paleo-Indians entered America has been the dominant one for several decades and continues to be the most accepted one. Numerous successful crossings without the use of a boat have been recorded since at least the early 20th century. Since 2012, the Russian coast of the Bering Strait has been a closed military zone. Through organized trips and the use of special permits, it is possible for foreigners to visit.
All arrivals must be through an airport or a cruise port, near the Bering Strait only at Anadyr or Provideniya. Unauthorized travelers who arrive on shore after crossing the strait those with visas, may be arrested, imprisoned fined and banned from future visas; the Bering Strait is about 82 kilometres wide at its narrowest point, between Cape Dezhnev, Chungu Peninsula, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, United States, the westernmost point of the North American continent. Its depth varies between 50 metres, it borders with the Chukchi Sea with the Bering Sea to south. The International Date Line runs equidistant between the Strait's Diomede Islands at a distance of 1.5 km, leaving the Russian and American sides on different calendar days, with Cape Dezhnev 21 hours ahead of the American side. The area is sparsely populated; the eastern coast belongs to the U. S. state of Alaska. Notable towns on the American coast of the Strait include the small settlement of Teller.
The western coast belongs to a federal subject of Russia. Major towns that lie along the Strait include Lavrentiya; the Diomede Islands lie midway in the Strait. The village in Little Diomede has a school; the earliest reference of the strait were from maps from the Polo family, based on the adventures of Marco Polo. From at least 1562, European geographers thought that there was a Strait of Anián between Asia and North America. In 1648, Semyon Dezhnyov passed through the strait, but his report did not reach Europe. Danish-born Russian navigator Vitus Bering entered it in 1728. In 1732, Mikhail Gvozdev crossed it from Asia to America. Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld in 1878–79 sailed along the northern coast of Siberia, thereby proving that there was no northern land bridge from Asia to North America. In March 1913, Captain Max Gottschalk crossed from the east cape of Siberia to Shishmaref, Alaska, on dogsled via Little and Big Diomede islands, he was the first documented modern voyager to cross from Russia to North America without the use of a boat.
In 1987, swimmer Lynne Cox swam a 4.3-kilometre course between the Diomede Islands from Alaska to the Soviet Union in 3.3 °C water during the last years of the Cold War. In June and July 1989, three teams of sea kayakers combined to attempt the first modern sea kayak crossing of the Bering Strait; the groups were seven Alaskans referring to their effort as'Paddling Into Tomorrow', a four-man British expedition, Kayaks Across the Bering Strait and an unnamed group of three Californians. In 1998, Russian adventurer Dmitry Shparo and his son Matvey crossed the frozen Bering Strait on skis. In March 2006, Briton Karl Bushby and French-American adventurer Dimitri Kieffer crossed the strait on foot, walking across a frozen 90-kilometre section in 15 days, they were soon arrested for not entering Russia through a border control. August 2008 marked the first crossing of the Bering Strait using an amphibious road-going vehicle; the specially modified Land Rover Defender 110 was driven by Steve Burgess and Dan Evans across the straits on its second attempt following the interruption of the first by bad weather.
In February 2012, a Korean team led by Hong Sung-Taek crossed the straits on foot in six days. They started from Chukotka Peninsula, the east coast of Russia on February 23 and arrived in Wales, the western coastal town in Alaska on February 29. In July 2012, six adventurers associated with "Dangerous Waters", a reality adventure show under production, made the crossing on Sea-Doos but were arrested and permitted to return to Alaska on their Sea-Doos after being detained in Lavrentiya, administrative center of the Chukotsky District, they were treated well and given a tour of the village's museum, but not permitted to continue south along the Pacific coast. The men had visas but the western coast of the Bering Strait is a closed military zone. Between August 4 and 10, 2013, a team of 65 swimmers from 17 countries performed a relay swim across the Bering Strait, the first such swim in history, they swam from Russia, to Cape Prince of Wales, United States. They had direct support from the Russian Navy, using one of its ships, assistance with permission.
A physical link between Asia and North America via the Bering Strait nearly became a reality in 186
Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines. Archaeologists study human prehistory and history, from the development of the first stone tools at Lomekwi in East Africa 3.3 million years ago up until recent decades. Archaeology is distinct from palaeontology, the study of fossil remains, it is important for learning about prehistoric societies, for whom there may be no written records to study. Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from the Paleolithic until the advent of literacy in societies across the world. Archaeology has various goals, which range from understanding culture history to reconstructing past lifeways to documenting and explaining changes in human societies through time.
The discipline involves surveying and analysis of data collected to learn more about the past. In broad scope, archaeology relies on cross-disciplinary research, it draws upon anthropology, art history, ethnology, geology, literary history, semiology, textual criticism, information sciences, statistics, paleography, paleontology and paleobotany. Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, has since become a discipline practiced across the world. Archaeology has been used by nation-states to create particular visions of the past. Since its early development, various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed, including maritime archaeology, feminist archaeology and archaeoastronomy, numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation. Nonetheless, archaeologists face many problems, such as dealing with pseudoarchaeology, the looting of artifacts, a lack of public interest, opposition to the excavation of human remains.
The science of archaeology grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied history with particular attention to ancient artifacts and manuscripts, as well as historical sites. Antiquarianism focused on the empirical evidence that existed for the understanding of the past, encapsulated in the motto of the 18th-century antiquary, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts not theory". Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a science took place during the Enlightenment era in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In Europe, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-Roman civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late Middle Age. Flavio Biondo, an Italian Renaissance humanist historian, created a systematic guide to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome in the early 15th century, for which he has been called an early founder of archaeology. Antiquarians of the 16th century, including John Leland and William Camden, conducted surveys of the English countryside, drawing and interpreting the monuments that they encountered.
One of the first sites to undergo archaeological excavation was Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments in England. John Aubrey was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England, he was ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. He attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture and shield-shapes. Excavations were carried out by the Spanish military engineer Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre in the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both of, covered by ash during the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79; these excavations began in 1748 in Pompeii, while in Herculaneum they began in 1738. The discovery of entire towns, complete with utensils and human shapes, as well the unearthing of frescos, had a big impact throughout Europe. However, prior to the development of modern techniques, excavations tended to be haphazard; the father of archaeological excavation was William Cunnington. He undertook excavations in Wiltshire from around 1798.
Cunnington made meticulous recordings of Neolithic and Bronze Age barrows, the terms he used to categorize and describe them are still used by archaeologists today. One of the major achievements of 19th-century archaeology was the development of stratigraphy; the idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods was borrowed from the new geological and paleontological work of scholars like William Smith, James Hutton and Charles Lyell. The application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and Bronze Age sites. In the third and fourth decades of the 19th-century, archaeologists like Jacques Boucher de Perthes and Christian Jürgensen Thomsen began to put the artifacts they had found in chronological order. A major figure in the development of archaeology into a rigorous science was the army officer and ethnologist, Augustus Pitt Rivers, who began excavations on his land in England in the 1880s, his approach was methodical by the standards of the time, he is regarded as the first scientific archaeologist.
He arranged his artifacts by type or "typologically, within types by date or "chronologically"
The Ancestral Puebloans were an ancient Native American culture that spanned the present-day Four Corners region of the United States, comprising southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southwestern Colorado. The Ancestral Puebloans are believed to have developed, at least in part, from the Oshara Tradition, who developed from the Picosa culture, they lived in a range of structures that included small family pit houses, larger structures to house clans, grand pueblos, cliff-sited dwellings for defense. The Ancestral Puebloans possessed a complex network that stretched across the Colorado Plateau linking hundreds of communities and population centers, they held a distinct knowledge of celestial sciences. The kiva, a congregational space, used chiefly for ceremonial purposes, was an integral part of this ancient people's community structure. In contemporary times, the people and their archaeological culture were referred to as Anasazi for historical purposes; the Navajo, who were not their descendants, called them by this term.
Reflecting historic traditions, the term was used to mean "ancient enemies". Contemporary Puebloans do not want this term to be used. Archaeologists continue to debate; the current agreement, based on terminology defined by the Pecos Classification, suggests their emergence around the 12th century BC, during the archaeologically designated Early Basketmaker II Era. Beginning with the earliest explorations and excavations, researchers identified Ancestral Puebloans as the forerunners of contemporary Pueblo peoples. Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in the United States are credited to the Pueblos: Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Taos Pueblo. Pueblo, which means "village" in Spanish, was a term originating with the Spanish explorers who used it to refer to the people's particular style of dwelling; the Navajo people, who now reside in parts of former Pueblo territory, referred to the ancient people as Anaasází, an exonym meaning "ancestors of our enemies", referring to their competition with the Pueblo peoples.
The Navajo now use the term in the sense of referring to "ancient people" or "ancient ones". Hopi people used the term Hisatsinom, to describe the Ancestral Puebloans; the Ancestral Puebloans were one of four major prehistoric archaeological traditions recognized in the American Southwest. This area is sometimes referred to as Oasisamerica in the region defining pre-Columbian southwestern North America; the others are the Mogollon and Patayan. In relation to neighboring cultures, the Ancestral Puebloans occupied the northeast quadrant of the area; the Ancestral Puebloan homeland centers on the Colorado Plateau, but extends from central New Mexico on the east to southern Nevada on the west. Areas of southern Nevada and Colorado form a loose northern boundary, while the southern edge is defined by the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers in Arizona and the Rio Puerco and Rio Grande in New Mexico. Structures and other evidence of Ancestral Puebloan culture has been found extending east onto the American Great Plains, in areas near the Cimarron and Pecos Rivers and in the Galisteo Basin.
Terrain and resources within this large region vary greatly. The plateau regions have high elevations ranging from 4,500 to 8,500 feet. Extensive horizontal mesas are capped by sedimentary formations and support woodlands of junipers and ponderosa pines, each favoring different elevations. Wind and water erosion have created steep-walled canyons, sculpted windows and bridges out of the sandstone landscape. In areas where resistant strata, such as sandstone or limestone, overlie more eroded strata such as shale, rock overhangs formed; the Ancestral Puebloans favored building under such overhangs for shelters and defensive building sites. All areas of the Ancestral Puebloan homeland suffered from periods of drought, wind and water erosion. Summer rains could be unreliable and arrived as destructive thunderstorms. While the amount of winter snowfall varied the Ancestral Puebloans depended on the snow for most of their water. Snow melt allowed the germination of seeds, both cultivated, in the spring.
Where sandstone layers overlay shale, snow melt could accumulate and create seeps and springs, which the Ancestral Puebloans used as water sources. Snow fed the smaller, more predictable tributaries, such as the Chinle, Animas and Taos Rivers; the larger rivers were less directly important to the ancient culture, as smaller streams were more diverted or controlled for irrigation. The Ancestral Puebloan culture is best known for the stone and earth dwellings its people built along cliff walls during the Pueblo II and Pueblo III eras, from about 900 to 1350 AD in total; the best-preserved examples of the stone dwellings are now protected within United States' national parks, such as Navajo National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Bandelier National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Canyon de Chelly National Monument. These villages, called pueblos by Spanish colonists, were accessible only by rope or through rock climbing.
These astonishing building achievements had modest beginnings. The first Ancestral Puebloan homes and villages were based on the pit-house, a common feature in the Basketmaker periods. Ancestral Puebloans are known for their pottery. In general, pottery used for cooking or storage in the region was unpainted gray, either smooth or textured. Pottery used for more formal purposes was more richly adorned. In the n
The Clovis culture is a prehistoric Paleo-Indian culture, named for distinct stone tools found in close association with Pleistocene fauna at Blackwater Locality No. 1 near Clovis, New Mexico, in the 1920s and 1930s. It appears around 11,500–11,000 uncalibrated radiocarbon years before present at the end of the last glacial period, is characterized by the manufacture of "Clovis points" and distinctive bone and ivory tools. Archaeologists' most precise determinations at present suggest this radiocarbon age is equal to 13,200 to 12,900 calendar years ago. Clovis people are considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas; the only human burial, directly associated with tools from the Clovis culture included the remains of an infant boy researchers named Anzick-1. Paleogenetic analyses of Anzick-1's ancient nuclear, Y-chromosome DNA reveal that Anzick-1 is related to modern Native American populations, which lends support to the Beringia hypothesis for the settlement of the Americas.
The Clovis culture was replaced by several more localized regional societies from the Younger Dryas cold-climate period onward. Post-Clovis cultures include the Folsom tradition, Suwannee-Simpson, Plainview-Goshen and Redstone; each of these is thought to derive directly from Clovis, in some cases differing only in the length of the fluting on their projectile points. Although this is held to be the result of normal cultural change through time, numerous other reasons have been suggested as driving forces to explain changes in the archaeological record, such as the Younger Dryas postglacial climate change which exhibited numerous faunal extinctions. After the discovery of several Clovis sites in eastern North America in the 1930s, the Clovis people came to be regarded as the first human inhabitants who created a widespread culture in the New World. However, this theory has been challenged, in the opinion of many archaeologists, by several archaeological discoveries, including sites such as Cactus Hill in Virginia, Paisley Caves in the Summer Lake Basin of Oregon, the Topper site in Allendale County, South Carolina, Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, the Friedkin site in Texas, Cueva Fell in Chile, Monte Verde in Chile.
The oldest claimed human archaeological site in the Americas is the Pedra Furada hearths, a site in Brazil that precedes the Clovis culture and the other sites mentioned by 19,000 to 30,000 years. This claim has become an issue of contention between North American archaeologists and their South American and European counterparts, who disagree on whether it is conclusively proven to be an older human site. A hallmark of the toolkit associated with the Clovis culture is the distinctively shaped, fluted-stone spear point, known as the Clovis point; the Clovis point is bifacial and fluted on both sides. Archaeologists do not agree on whether the widespread presence of these artifacts indicates the proliferation of a single people, or the adoption of a superior technology by diverse population groups; the culture is named after artifacts found between 1936 at Blackwater Locality No. 1, an archaeological site between the towns of Clovis and Portales, New Mexico. These finds were deemed important due to their direct association with mammoth species and the extinct Bison antiquus.
The in situ finds of 1936 and 1937 included most of four stone Clovis points, two long bone points with impact damage, stone blades, a portion of a Clovis blade core, several cutting tools made on stone flakes. Clovis sites have since been identified throughout much of the contiguous United States, as well as Mexico and Central America, into northern South America. Clovis people are accepted to have hunted mammoths, as well as extinct bison, gomphotheres, tapir, camelops and other smaller animals. More than 125 species of plants and animals are known to have been used by Clovis people in the portion of the Western Hemisphere they inhabited; the oldest Clovis site in North America is believed to be El Fin del Mundo in northwestern Sonora, discovered during a 2007 survey. It features occupation dating around 13,390 calibrated years BP. In 2011, remains of gomphotheres were found; the Aubrey site in Denton County, produced an identical radiocarbon date. The most held perspective on the end of the Clovis culture is that a decline in the availability of megafauna, combined with an overall increase in a less mobile population, led to local differentiation of lithic and cultural traditions across the Americas.
After this time, Clovis-style fluted points were replaced by other fluted-point traditions with an uninterrupted sequence across North and Central America. An continuous cultural adaptation proceeds from the Clovis period through the ensuing Middle and Late Paleoindian periods. Whether the Clovis culture drove the mammoth, other species, to extinction via overhunting – the so-called Pleistocene overkill hypothesis – is still an open, controversial, question, it has been hypothesized that the Clovis culture had its decline in the wake of the Younger Dryas cold phase. This'cold shock', lasting 1500 years, affected many parts of the world, including North America; this appears to have been triggered by a vast amount of meltwater – from Lake Agassiz – emptying into the North Atlantic, disrupting the thermohaline circulation. The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis, or Clovis comet hypothesis proposed that a large air burst or earth impact of a comet or comets from outer space initiated the Younger Drya
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American civilization archeologists date from about 800 CE to 1600 CE, varying regionally. It was composed of a series of urban settlements and satellite villages linked together by a loose trading network; the largest city was Cahokia, believed to be a major religious center. The civilization flourished from the southern shores of the Great Lakes at Western New York and Western Pennsylvania in what is now the Eastern Midwest, extending south-southwest into the lower Mississippi Valley and wrapping easterly around the southern foot of the Appalachians barrier range into what is now the Southeastern United States; the Mississippian way of life began to develop in the Mississippi River Valley. Cultures in the tributary Tennessee River Valley may have begun to develop Mississippian characteristics at this point. All dated Mississippian sites predate 1539–1540, with notable exceptions being Natchez communities that maintained Mississippian cultural practices into the 18th century.
A number of cultural traits are recognized as being characteristic of the Mississippians. Although not all Mississippian peoples practiced all of the following activities, they were distinct from their ancestors in adoption of some or all of these traits; the construction of large, truncated earthwork pyramid mounds, or platform mounds. Such mounds were square, rectangular, or circular. Structures were constructed atop such mounds. Maize-based agriculture. In most places, the development of Mississippian culture coincided with adoption of comparatively large-scale, intensive maize agriculture, which supported larger populations and craft specialization. Women ate more maize, whereas men ate more animal meat. Shell-tempered pottery; the adoption and use of riverine shells as tempering agents in ceramics. Widespread trade networks extending as far west as the Rockies, north to the Great Lakes, south to the Gulf of Mexico, east to the Atlantic Ocean; the development of the chiefdom or complex chiefdom level of social complexity.
The development of institutionalized social inequality. A centralization of control of combined political and religious power in the hands of few or one; the beginnings of a settlement hierarchy, in which one major center has clear influence or control over a number of lesser communities, which may or may not possess a smaller number of mounds. The adoption of the paraphernalia of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex called the Southern Cult; this is the belief system of the Mississippians. SECC items are found in Mississippian-culture sites from Wisconsin to the Gulf Coast, from Florida to Arkansas and Oklahoma; the SECC was tied into ritual game-playing, as with chunkey. The Mississippians had no writing stone architecture, they worked occurring metal deposits, such as hammering and annealing copper for ritual objects such as Mississippian copper plates and other decorations, but did not smelt iron or practice bronze metallurgy. The Mississippi stage is divided into three or more chronological periods.
Each period is an arbitrary historical distinction varying regionally. At a particular site, each period may be considered to begin earlier or depending on the speed of adoption or development of given Mississippian traits; the "Mississippi period" should not be confused with the "Mississippian culture". The Mississippi period is the chronological stage, while Mississippian culture refers to the cultural similarities that characterize this society; the Early Mississippi period had just transitioned from the Late Woodland period way of life. Different groups abandoned tribal lifeways for increasing complexity, sedentism and agriculture. Production of surplus corn and attractions of the regional chiefdoms led to rapid population concentrations in major centers; the Middle Mississippi period is the apex of the Mississippi era. The expansion of the great metropolis and ceremonial complex at Cahokia, the formation of other complex chiefdoms, the spread and development of SECC art and symbolism are characteristic changes of this period.
The Mississippian traits listed above came to be widespread throughout the region. The Late Mississippi period is characterized by increasing warfare, political turmoil, population movement; the population of Cahokia dispersed early in this period migrating to other rising political centers. More defensive structures are seen at sites, sometimes a decline in mound-building and large-scale, public ceremonialism. Although some areas continued an Middle Mississippian culture until the first significant contact with Europeans, the population of most areas had dispersed or were experiencing severe social stress by 1500. Along with the contemporaneous Ancestral Pueblo peoples, these cultural collapses coincide with the global climate change of the Little Ice Age. Scholars theorize drought and the reduction of maize agriculture, together with possible deforestation and overhunting by the concentrated populations, forced them to move away from major sites; this period ended with European contact in the 16th century.
The term Middle Mississippian is used to describe the core of the classic Mississippian culture area. This area covers the central Mississippi River Valley, the lower Ohio River Valley, most of the Mid-South area, including western and central Kentucky, western Tennessee, northern Alabama and Mississippi. Sites in this area often
A hand axe is a prehistoric stone tool with two faces, the longest-used tool in human history. It is made from flint or chert, it is characteristic of middle Palaeolithic periods. Its technical name comes from the fact that the archetypical model is bifacial Lithic flake and almond-shaped. Hand axes tend to be symmetrical along their longitudinal axis and formed by percussion; the most common hand axes have a pointed end and rounded base, which gives them their characteristic shape, both faces have been knapped to remove the natural cortex, at least partially. Hand axes are a type of the somewhat wider biface group of two-faced weapons. Hand axes were the first prehistoric tools to be recognized as such: the first published representation of a hand axe was drawn by John Frere and appeared in a British publication in 1800; until that time, their origins were thought to be supernatural. They were called thunderstones, because popular tradition held that they had fallen from the sky during storms or were formed inside the earth by a lightning strike and appeared at the surface.
They are used in some rural areas as an amulet to protect against storms. Hand axe tools were used to butcher animals. Four classes of hand axe are: 1: Large, thick hand axes reduced from cores or thick flakes, referred to as blanks 2: Thinned blanks. While form remains rough and uncertain, an effort has been made to reduce the thickness of the flake or core 3: Either a preform or crude formalized tool, such as an adze 4: Finer formalized tool types such as projectile points and fine bifacesWhile Class 4 hand axes are referred to as "formalized tools", bifaces from any stage of a lithic reduction sequence may be used as tools.. French antiquarian André Vayson de Pradenne introduced the word biface in 1920; this term co-exists with the more popular hand axe, coined by Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet much earlier, The continued use of the word biface by François Bordes and Lionel Balout supported its use in France and Spain, where it replaced the term hand axe. Use of the expression hand axe has continued in English as the equivalent of the French biface, while biface applies more for any piece, carved on both sides by the removal of shallow or deep flakes.
The expression faustkeil is used in German. It can be translated as hand axe, although in a stricter sense it means "fist wedge", it is the same in Dutch where the expression used is vuistbijl which means "fist axe". The same locution occurs in other languages. However, the general impression of these tools were based on ideal pieces that were of such perfect shape that they caught the attention of non-experts, their typology broadened the term's meaning. Biface hand axe and bifacial lithic items are distinguished. A hand axe need not be a bifacial item and many bifacial items are not hand axes. Nor were hand axes and bifacial items exclusive to the Lower Palaeolithic period in the Old World, they appear throughout the world and in many different pre-historical epochs, without implying an ancient origin. Lithic typology was abandoned as a dating system. Examples of this include the "quasi-bifaces" that sometimes appear in strata from the Gravettian and Magdalenian periods in France and Spain, the crude bifacial pieces of the Lupemban culture or the pyriform tools found near Sagua La Grande in Cuba.
The word biface refers to something different in English than biface in French or bifaz in Spanish, which could lead to many misunderstandings. Bifacially carved cutting tools, similar to hand axes, were used to clear scrub vegetation throughout the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods; these tools were a cheaper alternative to polished axes. The modern day villages along the Sepik river in New Guinea continue to use tools that are identical to hand axes to clear forest. "The term biface should be reserved for items from before the Würm II-III interstadial", although certain objects could exceptionally be called bifaces. Hand axe does not relate to axe, overused in lithic typology to describe a wide variety of stone tools. At the time the use of such items was not understood. In the particular case of Palaeolithic hand axes the term axe is an inadequate description. Lionel Balout stated, "the term should be rejected as an erroneous interpretation of these objects that are not'axes'". Subsequent studies supported this idea those examining the signs of use.
Hand axes are made of flint, but rhyolites, phonolites and other coarse rocks were used as well. Obsidian, natural volcanic glass and was used. Most hand axes have a sharp border all around, No academic consensus describes their use; the pioneers of Palaeolithic tool studies first suggested that bifaces were used as axes or at least for use in demanding physical activities. Other uses showed; the different forms and shapes of known specimens led them to be described as the Acheulean "Swiss Army knife". Each type of tool could have been used for multiple tasks. Wells proposed in 1899 that hand axes were used as missile weapons to hunt prey – an interpretation supported by Calvin, who suggested that some of the rounder specimens of Acheulean hand axes were used as hunting projectiles or as "killer frisbees" meant to be thrown at a herd of animals at a w