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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.

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georgia history chapter 4

Georgia History Chapter 4



prehistoric age
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 ended 500 years ago. Prehistoric Indians lived thousands of years ago.
unearthing the clues
Unearthing the Clues
  • Archaeologists study certain clues to the past:
    • Artifacts, such as arrowheads, tools, pottery, jewelry, etc.
    • Ecofacts (living objects) such as pollen, seeds, bones, teeth, skulls and shells)
    • Features, such arrangement of rocks, bricks, stains, and other features laid out on ground.
site excavation
Site Excavation
  • Basic tools include shovels, wire screens, trowels, ice picks and brushes are used.
  • Digging is very slow and methodical, to prevent missed objects or damage.
  • Notebooks recording data and sketches are used, as well as cameras to document all information.
in the lab
In the Lab
  • After digging, all evidence is taken to a lab for cleaning, sorting and identifying.
  • Archaeologists try to answer and record multiple questions about each artifact.
  • Dating each object is an important clue to its history.
dating the evidence
Dating the Evidence
  • If evidence is an ecofact (once living), then Carbon 14 dating(C14) can be used.
  • C14 deteriorates at a steady rate, so amount left is examined (less C14, older the object).
  • If object is nonliving, then proximity to ecofact is considered (ex: ax near a fire pit).
  • Final step is to compare findings with all previous findings to understand ancient culture.
georgia s first inhabitants
Georgia’s First Inhabitants
  • Theory is landbridge (Beringia) between Asia (Siberia) and U.S. (Alaska) brought first nomadic people about 12,000 years ago.
  • Ice Age froze much of earth’s water, and ocean levels were as much as 300 ft. lower than today.
crossing over to north america
Crossing over to North America
  • Beringia may have been 1,300 miles wide during Ice Age. Now covered with water (Bering Strait)
  • Migration of people (nomads) probably due to searching for food and warmth.
  • By 10,000 BC first humans came to Georgia. Next 11,700 years divided into traditions:

1) Paleo, 2) Archaic, 3)Woodland, and

4) Mississippian.

paleo indian period 10 000 b c 8 000 b c
Paleo-Indian Period 10,000 b.c. – 8,000 b.c.

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.

paleo indian period cont d
Paleo-Indian Period cont’d

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

paleo indian period cont d1
Paleo-Indian Period cont’d


Spear is notched, suggesting a “reloadable” spear

Clovis point

archaic period 8 000 b c 1 000 b c
Archaic Period 8,000 b.c. – 1,000 b.c.

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.

archaic period cont d
Archaic Period cont’d

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

archaic period cont d1
Archaic Period Cont’d

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 period 1 000 b c 1 000 a d
Woodland Period 1,000 b.c. – 1,000 a.d.

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

ceremonial mounds in ga
Ceremonial Mounds in GA

Kolomoki Indian Mounds

Etowah Indian Mounds

Rock Eagle

woodland period cont d
Woodland Period cont’d

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

woodland period cont d1
Woodland Period cont’d

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

mississippian period 1 000 a d 1 600 a d
Mississippian Period 1,000 a.d.-1,600 a.d.

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

mississippian period cont d
Mississippian Period cont’d

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

mississippian period cont d1
Mississippian Period cont’d

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