Georgia History Chapter 4. GEORGIA’S PREHISTORIC PAST: CLUES OF THE FIRST PEOPLE. Prehistoric Age. Archaeologists must unearth clues to prehistoric past, before written records were created. Some cultures have prehistoric pasts. Egyptians had hieroglyphics as early as 5000 – 6000 BC.
GEORGIA’S PREHISTORIC PAST:
CLUES OF THE FIRST PEOPLE
1) Paleo, 2) Archaic, 3)Woodland, and
Lived in small bands of about 20 adults and children
Dependent mostly upon wild animals for food, clothing, even tools
Diet consisted of large game – bison, mastodons, giant sloths, etc – also ate small game, berries, wild fruits and vegetables.
Moved often in search of food
Usually camped in the open, but sometimes dug pits or built shelters covered in bark, brush or animal skins for warmth
Created the “clovis” spear point for hunting; also created the “atlatl” to aid in throwing spears further
There is no evidence of a religion
Spear is notched, suggesting a “reloadable” spear
With the disappearance of large game, they began to depend on hunting, fishing, and gathering
Deer, bear, squirrels, rabbits, fish, berries, wild fruits and vegetables made up their diet
Middens – large trash heaps containing shellfish and oyster shells have been found.
Large middens suggest that the Indians returned to the same place year after year.
Learned to use the resources around them and a wider variety of tools to make hunting and gathering more efficient
Also built more permanent homes from long poles covered in animal hide
Learned to burn small areas of forest to aid in hunting
With less time needed to gather food, they learned to polish stone, create decorative items from stone and bone.
Learned to create pottery from clay and Spanish moss or grass to be used for cooking.
Became concerned with proper burial of the dead suggesting religion and belief in an afterlife.
Woodland Indians began to build ceremonial mounds used for a variety of purposes, most commonly religious ceremonies and burial grounds
Developed the bow and arrow for hunting as well as agriculture – began to save seeds and for planting
Nuts became very important to their diet – dug underground pits to save nuts and seeds
Kolomoki Indian Mounds
Etowah Indian Mounds
Corn, squash, and bottle gourd from modern-day Mexico were also used in agriculture
Increase in food supply allowed for increase in group size; people began to group together into tribes
Created pottery from clay and sand; designs were unique to each area were stamped on the pots
Artifacts in Georgia from as far away as the Great Lakes suggest that Woodland Indians traded through the US.
There is also evidence to suggest religion – burial mounds contained jewelry, pottery figurines of humans, and other ceremonial objects
Preferred richbottomlands, long moist growing seasons, and good deer and turkey hunting
Relied heavily on agriculture, particularly corn and beans
Harvest crops were stored in community storehouses; supported a large population
Settlements were usually protected by a wooden palisade
Houses were constructed of wattle and daub
Organized into chiefdoms that may include only a couple of villages or may include a wider area
A priest-chief presided over religious ceremonies as well as political affairs
Built large flat topped mounds for religious ceremonies with burial places underneath – Etowah and Ocmulgee Indians are the best known Mississippian
Regularly traveled waterways and forest trails to trade; evidence shows they were highly artistic
Discovered by Hernando de Soto in 1540