Archaic Indians (6000 BC to 750 AD)

Atlatl
Atlatl

NPS Photo

Around 6000 B.C., at the beginning of the Archaic period, the climate became drier and Ice Age mammals had become extinct.

The Archaic people that called the Texas Panhandle home lived in an environment that was rich in various plants and animals. These people were active gatherers of various types of plant materials: seeds, roots, berries, and anything else that was edible. In order to maximize the nutrition from many plants they would grind the seed into meal. This also made the food more palatable. The type of mano and matate used for this endeavor typically were made out of sandstone or dolomite.

By the end of this time period the weapon of choice began to change; the Atlatl and dart would begin the slow process of being phased out and was replaced by the bow and arrow. One way archaeologists know this is the size difference in the projectile points. The larger points were used as dart points, whereas the smaller points (arrowheads) were used with the bow and arrow. The large straight-horned bison was now extinct and these people hunted game that we could recognize today such as deer, rabbit, and turkey. These people were on a slow transition from exclusively being nomadic hunter-gatherers to farmers. This transition can be seen by the introduction of pottery. Typically, cultures that produced pottery were farmers. The next few cultures to make their way into the Texas panhandle would take pottery and farming to new heights.

Next--Early Prehistoric Indians

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