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Archaic Era 

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History of Northwest



 Barrier Canyon Style pictographs at the Carrotmen Site 

The Archaic Era (c. 6,400-400 BC) saw subtle shifts in the way people lived. With the extinction of North America’s megafauna and the warmer temperatures of c. 8,000 years ago, Archaic peoples developed new tools to adapt to these new environmental conditions. Archaic projectile points, for example, were smaller than Paleoindian points but substantially larger than those of the succeeding Formative Era. These points were used to tip spear-like darts, thrown with a device known as an atlatl.


As glaciers retreated in the face of warmer global temperatures, today’s alpine regions opened to seasonal use by animals and people alike. Still nomads, archaic peoples traveled far smaller yearly circuits than their Paleoindian predecessors. As a consequence, groups of archaic peoples became partly isolated from one another, allowing for the development of different regional cultures.


(Right) Barrier Canyon Style pictographs; very little is known about the people who created these aside from the rock art record.

Last updated: 03-20-2014