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THE SOUTHEAST >> SOUTHERN MIGRANTS A PROMISING FUTURE PICTURING CULTURE
   

Settlement of the Southeast falls into three intervals: an apparently sparse colonization, followed by widespread exploration and settlement, and finally the development of distinct local traditions as people settled into territories.

The few sites that appear more than 13,500 years old—such as Virginia’s Cactus Hill and Florida’s Little Salt Spring—are something of an enigma. Such sites are called “pre-Clovis,” meaning older than the fluted projectile points discovered in Clovis, New Mexico (for many years the earliest clues of human presence in the New World). The evidence at Cactus Hill, though tentative, suggests that small blades and triangular points may become signature tools of the pre-Clovis period. 

  (illustration) Paleoindian with stick and grass fire.
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(illustration) Smiling Paleoindian children.

Paleoindians may have intentionally altered their surroundings using fire.

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