Re-envisioning Eastern Woodlands Archaic origins

Dale L. McElrath, Thomas E. Emerson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


For more than 50 years, North American archaeologists have largely accepted a simple evolutionary relationship between late Pleistocene Paleoindian societies and early Holocene Archaic societies. The conventional scenario saw small bands of big-game hunters entering the New World and passing through an ice-free corridor to spread throughout interior North America and eventually reach the tip of South America, in just a few hundred years. These were presumed to be the ancestral population for all subsequent Holocene Archaic societies. With increasing acceptance of the radiocarbon dates at Monte Verde and Meadowcroft Rockshelter, along with additional recent evidence (e.g., Paisley Cave, Topper, and Gault), this paradigm is no longer viable. Instead, many scholars accept New World colonization by potentially much earlier coastal populations relying on maritime resources.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology
EditorsTimothy R. Pauketat
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780195380118
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks


  • ISAS
  • Eastern Woodlands
  • Holocene Archaic societies
  • big-game hunters
  • Paleoindian societies
  • late Pleistocene
  • evolutionary relationship


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