zondag 2 mei 2010

a very short introduction to: pre 1492 history (English/Engels/Inglés)

NORTH AMERICA (Greenland, Canada, US)
(cal BC/AD)

12.500: possibly the oldest site in North America is in Oregon where (possible) human coprolites where found (still debated)

11.500-11.000: CLOVIS. Long seen as the oldest American (North & South) culture (New Mexico)

7500: KENNEWICK MAN lives in what today is Washington State. He could be related to the Ainu people in Japan but his remains by far are not the oldest known in the Americas

6200: People in Labrador make the oldest known human made monument in North America, a burial for a twelve year old boy

5400: beginning of mound constructions in the American southeast

5000 (possibly 7000): people living around the Great Lakes start working with copper. (later: OLD COPPER CULTURE). The use of this early copper stretches to present day Maryland. Unlike the first copper workers in Eurasia, these Americans aren’t farmers, and they don’t use pottery

4300: Early Pacific Period along the Northwest Coast:

3500: First big mound complex; constructed in a circle. It is known as the WATSON BRAKE complex (Louisiana)

2900: oldest stone circle op the Plains. Unknown meaning but probably religious or for a tipi

2500: oldest ceramics in North America are made in Florida and Georgia

2500: first experiments with the domestication of local crops like squash, marshelder, lamsquarter, sunflower and maygrass

2400: First people to reach Greenland are archaeologically known as “Saqqaq” & “Independence I”. They are clearly related to the people of the Arctic Small Tool Tradition in Alaska/eastern Siberia

2250: invention of the bow and arrow in the arctic. The idea will spread from here to the south, all the way to Mexico

2000: First maize arrives from Mexico in the American southwest (not a huge impact, only part of the already existing cultivated local crops)

1850: Middle Pacific Period along the Northwest Coast. Population growth, intensification of food production and increasing settlements. Introduction of copper working, social ranking, elites and slavery

1750-1100: oldest known town in North America is POVERTY POINT (Louisiana). It looks like half of a circle and has a pyramid of 2 meters high. There are probably living up to 5000 people here

1000-300BC: ADENA culture in the Ohio valley. 300 to 500 grave mounds are constructed. The economic basis for the people is trade, hunting, gathering and cultivation of the local crops

500: DORSET culture spreads through the arctic region, from Alaska to Greenland. They build the first igloos, but also stone houses. Close to Berging Streat, another culture emerges, THULE, predecessors of the modern Eskimo peoples.

500BC-1450AD: The three most famous cultures in the southwest emerge: ANASAZI, HOHOKAM & MOGOLLON. They build large settlements, the canyon houses, a road & a canal system. They also produce fine pottery and are in close connection with Meso America (Mexico) from where they obtain thinks like copper, tropical birds, cotton, chocolate, and the ball game (played with rubber balls). Their own main trading item is turquoise of which great quantities are found in Mexico (among the Mayas for example)

250BC-500AD: HOPEWELL culture in the Ohio valley, successors of the ADENA. Both are mound builders and use the mounds as graves. But the differences between the two are also very clear. Where the ADENA mostly stayed in the valley, the Hopewell influence is enormous and stretches from the Atlantic coast to the Plains, from the Gulf of Mexico to just north of the Great Lakes. This meant trading was important. Copper and silver (mostly) came from around the Great Lakes, mica from the Appalachians, turtle shells, alligator & shark teeth from the Gulf, and obsidian all the way from Yellowstone National Park. Agriculture became more important and huge earthen constructions were build (like the Octagon Earthworks)

500AD: In the desserts of California megalites are reaised and giant figures are portraided in the sand. Along the Californian coast First signs of stratification of society

500-1700: Late Pacific Period along the Northwest Coast: First real evidence of the big wooden houses and totem poles. Burial mounds appear, as well as fortifications (more warfare). Trading routes bring extotic items like jade and iron

800-1550: MISSISSIPPI culture(s) begin along the River with the same name but spread throughout the entire east. Their mounds are much bigger and higher than the mounds made by the previous cultures and mostly used as flat-top pyramids where important people have their houses. Most of their agricultural products are derived from Mexico (maize, squashes, beans) and the spread of this Mesoamerican trio reaches the far north (as far as Lake Winnipeg in Canadian Manitoba). The Mississippians are also the builders of the first true cities. Cahokia (peak between 900 and 1200) is the biggest of them all, with a pyramid of 30 meters high, and 10.000 to 40.000 inhabitants. These cultural elements also spread further to the west and Mississippian style agriculture and architecture reaches the Plains (from North Dakota to Texas). This means that the stereotypical image of the nomadic Plains Indian is something quite recent (19th century)

950-1200: In Ohio people of the FORT ANCIENT culture construct huge Serpent Mound, a man made mound in the form of a snake (400 meters/440 yards long)

1300: THULE culture (forefathers of the ESKIMO’S) reach Greenland and mix (or replace) people from the DORSET culture. They have dogsleds, igloos, kayaks, use harpoons, and iron tools

1450: the three cultures from the Southwest make the transition to the Pueblo cultures of today

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