Early Historic Period- 1650 A.D.- 1800 A.D.
During this time horses became common on the plains, and were adopted
by many tribes. Trade wars forced some Eastern and Great Lake tribes on
to the plains. Metal trade points and lances replaced native stone
weapons, and were in turn replaced by guns.
Neosho Phase- 1450 A.D. - 1650 A.D.
Originally living in large villages and scattered family homesteads, these
people were the first in our area to be visited by Europeans, Following
contact, much of the Neosho Phase population died in massive epidemics.
In many places the mortality rate is estimated at 95%, even worse than
the Black Death in Europe .
Mississippian- 1000 A.D.- 1450 A.D.
This era saw the rise of huge City States and ceremonial centers. Large
mound groups mark the sites of these ancient towns, and numerous
homesteads and camps attest to a large and thriving population. In our
area this is called the Spiro Phase, after the mound group on the Arkansas
River near Spiro, OK. Corn was first introduced at this time, and helped
fuel the growth of these empires. The bow and arrow entered common
usage at this time. These people are known for their fine pottery.
Woodland- 500 B.C. - 1000 A.D.
It was in this period that semi- permanent villages supported by
agriculture became a dominant lifestyle. Many crops were developed.
Sunflowers and gourds are just two examples of the many plants
domesticated at this time. People at this time made many ground stone
ornaments and tools, and had extensive trade networks. Pottery is found
on sites of this age.
Archaic Period- 500 B.C. - 6000 B.C.
This is the longest of our archaeological periods, lasting over 5,000 years.
In Oklahoma much of the early part of this period was shaped by a
massive drought, which lasted approximately 3,000 years. Much of
western Oklahoma was covered with sand dunes, much like the Sahara in
Africa. Most groups of people in Eastern Oklahoma appear to have been
nomadic hunters. These groups took advantage seasonally of fish, nuts,
and many other food sources. They used the Atl-Atl, or spear thrower.
These were short hand held sticks with a hook on the end, used to throw
darts about four to five feet long. Buffalo were a main resource for hunters
here at that time.
Late Paleo Period- 6000 B.C.- 8500 B.C.
Most large Pleistocene animals have gone extinct at the beginning of this
era. Humans devise many new ways to make a living from the land. Plant
resources are used more intensively. Flint knapping technology diversifies
and many early point types appear. The stone tool kit expands, and the
first wood adzes appear.
Clovis Phase - 10,000 B.C. - 8,500 B.C.
This is the earliest established archaeological period for North America.
Clovis points have been found in datable contexts at more than a dozen
sites, including at least two in Oklahoma. Clovis points are often
associated with big game kill sites. They were used to kill Mammoth,
Mastodon, and other large, extinct animals.
Pre- Clovis Period -
Little is known about people in North America at this time. Sites are
beginning to be discovered, and genetic evidence from a 14,300 year old
site in Oregon links these early people with today's American Indians.
Simplified Archaeological Time Periods
for Northeastern Oklahoma
Oklahoma rock art.