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Chapter II


Georgia’s Past


·              PURPOSE


Chapter II, the longest in the book, describes the sequence of prehistoric and historic cultures in Georgia as defined by archaeological research. This is a story of change and adaptation over many thousands of years. The Native Americans of Georgia, through their own ideas and inventions, along with contributions from other New World cultures, gradually developed more complex societies, more productive economic systems, and more advanced technologies.


Although archaeologists now understand many of the basic elements of this long development, there is still much to be learned. Again, it should be stressed that the missing parts of the story will remain untold if archaeological sites are allowed to be destroyed without proper study. The sites represent our "reservoir" of knowledge, a portion of which must remain undisturbed if future archaeologists are to have anything to study.




Chapter II begins by explaining how prehistoric people came to the area now called Georgia. These people were descendents of Siberians who began to populate the New World around 30,000 B.C. to 25,000 B.C. We are not sure when the first of these people wandered into Georgia. However, we do know that they were here by 10,000 B.C. The first archaeological period is called Paleo Indian. It lasted from 10,000 B.C. to 8,000 B.C. More is known about the cultures of Paleo Indians in western North American than in the East. In the West, Paleo Indians spent much of their time hunting large herd animals such as mammoth and giant bison. In the Great Eastern Forest, however, they probably hunted fewer large animals, concentrating their attention more on small game and edible wild plants. Paleo Indians lived in small bands composed of several related families. These are called microbands. Since they did not have knowledge of agriculture and had to depend on scattered wild resources, they frequently moved their camps. Because of the small size of Paleo Indian groups, and their nomadic life‑style, we have found only a few of their sites in Georgia. Our sketch of hunter‑gatherer culture, presented on pages 16‑18 of the text, was compiled from information collected by cultural anthropologists who have studied groups such as the African Bushmen and Australian Aborigines. Thus, it is necessary to use our knowledge of contemporary hunter‑gatherers to supplement the archaeological record for this early period.


After about 8,000 B.C., the environment‑‑climate, flora, and fauna‑‑of Georgia was much like it is today. The few large herd animals were extinct by this time. Archaeologists call this period from 8,000 B.C. to 1,000 B.C. the Archaic. During the early part of the Archaic Period, descendants of Paleo Indians came to rely on an increasingly broader range of natural resources. Gradually their use of these resources, especially plant and animal foods, were scheduled according to seasonal availability. During some seasons several neighboring bands might join together to form large social‑and‑economic units, which archaeologists call macrobands.


Archaic Indians also learned many ways to manipulate their environments in order to increase the yields of various food items. There is evidence, for example, that they made considerable use of areas they cleared in the forests. These open areas provided tender edible plants for both humans and the animals they hunted. One invention during the Archaic Period was the grooved stone axe, a tool that was ideally suited for chopping trees to produce the clearings described above.


Archaic Indians also developed the use of the spear thrower (by about 5,000 B.C.) and stone containers (by about 3,000 B.C.). Toward the end of the Archaic Period (by about 2,500 B.C.), pottery was in use in the coastal region of modern‑day Georgia and South Carolina. Some of this fiber­tempered pottery is similar to contemporary wares of Central and South America, which presents archaeologists with an intriguing problem. Was this pottery independently invented in southeastern North America, or was there a migration of people from the south who brought with them the knowledge of pottery‑making? Further research is needed before this question can be answered.


Most of the stone projectile points found in the fields of Georgia are from the Archaic Period. Sometimes these artifacts are incorrectly called "arrowheads." Actually, the Archaic points were used to tip spears, not arrows. The bow­and‑arrow was not used until the succeeding Woodland Period. Archaeologists have determined a long sequence of changes in the style of Archaic projectile points. If students bring to class points they have found, these artifacts may be compared to the ones shown on text page 29, or with illustrated examples in some of the archaeological resource materials listed at the end of the Teaching Handbook.


Around 1,000 B.C., important changes again were under way in the prehistoric cultures of Georgia. Archaeologists call the time from 1,000 B.C. to A.D. 800 the Woodland Period. During this period agriculture (probably begun in simple fashion in late Archaic times) was commonly practiced. At first, the gardens provided only seasonal sustenance, but as time went along there was increasing dependence on products from intentionally cultivated fields. Settlements, now larger and more permanent, were positioned close to the most fertile soils in stream valleys.


With more abundant and dependable food from gardening, people of the Woodland Period developed larger social groups. These groups, called "tribes," were very different from the "bands" of the Archaic Period. Tribes were larger and more stable, had more formal leadership, and possessed clearly demarcated territories. Separate villages, distributed throughout several stream valleys, would have composed a single Woodland tribe. More formalized religious and ceremonial activities also developed hand‑in‑hand with the more complex social and economic institutions of the Woodland Period. The most important leaders seem to have been priests who required certain exotic goods and materials to aid them in their communications with the supernatural. Burials of Woodland priests have been found and studied by Georgia archaeologists at several sites, including the Kolomoki site near Blakely in Early County. Some ceremonial sites also have been identified, such as the Rock Eagle mound near Eatonton and the Fort Mountain stone enclosure near Chatsworth.


The use of pottery spread from group to group during the Woodland Period. Archaeologists have studied the form, composition, and decoration of this pottery in great detail. In fact, it is now possible to associate certain styles of pottery with specific social groups (possibly tribes) and certain intervals (phases) of the Woodland development. Thus, pottery styles became time‑and‑culture "markers" for the Woodland Period in much the same way that projectile point styles marked changes during the Archaic Period. Just as pottery replaced older stone bowls, the bow‑and‑arrow was developed by Woodland peoples to replace the spear. Small stone, bone and wooden arrow points are evidence of this change. There were probably other important technological innovations during the Woodland Period that have not yet been identified by archaeologists.



Clay Pots Lesson Plan                                                                                                  Grades 4-12

                                                                                                                                                Time- several class sessions



The students will be able to identify the natural and scientific properties of clay, name products that have clay as an ingredient, explain why clay was important to past people, and understand the principals archaeologists use in studying ceramics.



Geology, Physical Science, Chemistry, Art, Sorting, Identification, Classification, Counting, Percentages (optional), Inductive and Deductive Reasoning


QCCs Addressed



Learning Styles Used





Worksheet for Lesson Plan, Self-hardening Clay, Smooth Rocks, Paper Cups with Water, One or more of the following tempering agents:  ground shell/or pottery bits; sand, Spanish moss; One or more of the following:  pack of toothpicks, bamboo, sticks and twine.  Optional: red, gray, and kaolin clay samples.



Begin with Introduction:  Clay occurs naturally in many parts of Georgia.  People have been making things out of this clay for thousands of years.  (If possible, bring in samples of as many types of clay as you can, such as Georgia red clay, the gray clay in stream beds, and the white kaolin clay of South Georgia.)


Discussion.  What is clay used for today? (antacids, toothpaste, cosmetics, ceramics, tile, etc.)  Clay has even gone high-tech, including the ceramic tiles on the space shuttle, which protect the vessel. Why was clay important to Native Americans?  (Easy to form; could be made durable by firing; could be made easier to work with by adding temper, or ingredients such as sand, ground shell, Spanish moss, ground pottery; could be made into functional shapes such as pots and pipes, and it could be decorated or made into decorative shapes.   Why is pottery important to archaeologists? (It is a durable artifact that can survive for thousands of years in the ground.  People using it frequently broke it, so archaeologists later find a lot of it to study.  Pottery can help date a site.  Three Native American pottery characteristics varied through time:  shape, decoration, and temper.  Each characteristic helps archaeologists identify the kind of pottery and when it was made.


·         Have the students bring items to school (from their house) that has clay as an ingredient, or have them make a list of as many products as they can find at a drugstore or grocery that lists clay or kaolin as an ingredient.  Let the students share the information with the class.

·         Have each student make two coil pots out of clay, in the same manner as Native American pots.  Tell them that one pot is to keep and the other will be broken.  Let them mix one type of tempering agent into the clay before forming the pot.  After they make each pot, allow them to smooth the coils with a smooth rock dipped in water repeatedly and rubbed across the outside of the pot.  Once the coil lines are rubbed smooth, let them decorate their pot in a traditional southeastern manner.  They can use bamboo to press circles into the clay.  Archaeologists call this design “punctate”.  They can make “incised” pottery by scratching lines and designs with a toothpick.  They might choose to wrap coarse string or vines around a stick and hit this into the clay, making “cordmarked” pottery.

·         After the pots have dried, have each student break one of his/her ports into small pieces.  Pull out several pieces from each pot and put these pieces on the side.  Take all remaining pieces (potsherds) of the pots and put them into one large bag and mix.  Randomly divide the sherds into four somewhat unequal piles and place each pile into a bag.  Divide the class into four groups and give one bag to each group, each bag representing artifacts from a different archaeological site.  Have each group sort the potsherds into similar categories by examining the temper and decoration.  Further subdivide each group of potsherds into different piles based on the shape of the vessel.  Is it a bowl, or does it have a narrow neck like a jar?  Is it in the shape of an animal, like an effigy pot?  Try to determine if any of these mend, that is, are any potsherds from the same vessel? 



Have each group fill out a copy of the Pottery Analysis Form Worksheet.  Let each group discuss the results with the class.  Were the results of each group the same or different?  Why or why not?  (Some sites have a lot of pottery while others do not, as a result of site size, site population, length of occupancy, and date.)  Do any potsherds from one group match with potsherds from another group?  What might this mean?  (Perhaps the sites were occupied at the same time, or by the same people, or by people who knew each other.)


Follow-up Activity:

Have the students make pots and decorate them, while still wet, with Swift Creek-like designs.  Students can prepare for this in advance of making the coil pots.  Have the students make clay paddle replicas by fashioning aluminum foil into a paddle shaped mold with edges about ½ inch high.  Mix plaster of paris and pour into each mold.  When the plaster begins to harden, students can take a pencil and incise a deep design, such as the one they created in the “Pretty Pieces of Pottery” Lesson Plan.  (Deep, wide grooves work best.)  After the plaster dries, remove the foil.  Students can then gently pat their paddles into the outside of the wet pot, leaving a molded impression on it. (Native Americans carved their designs into wooden paddles instead of using plaster.)

















Clay Pots Worksheet

Name:________________________________________________   Date:________________________


Pottery Analysis Form

1.        Make up a name for each group of potsherds (pieces of pottery) and describe what characteristics pottery must have to be in each group.  (Characteristics can include things like type of temper, kind of design, vessel shape, the shape of the rim.)  This is the sherd “Type” column.  Make a list of your types along with their descriptions.

2.        Fill out the form below for all the sherds in your bag.  Decorations, as discussed in class, can include stamped, incised, punctate, cordmarked, and nothing (plain pottery!)  Temper can be ground shell/sherds/pottery, or Spanish moss.

3.        Add the numbers in the “Quantity” column before trying to figure out the “Percent of Total” column (for older students).


Quantity     Type                Decoration                           Temper                                   Percent of Total







































                                                                                =Total Number of Sherds




Pretty Pieces of Pottery Lesson Plan                                                                                                        Grades K-12

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Time 25 minutes



The students will be able to learn about one element of prehistory, name one period of prehistory, and understand how various cultures use symbols.



Art, Symbolism, Prehistory, Nature, Observation, Identification, Imagination, Speech/Presentation Skills, Writing/Grammar


QCCs Addressed



Learning Styles Used





Worksheet included with this lesson plan



Begin with Introduction:  During a period from 1,100 to 2,200 years ago, Native Americans in the Southeastern United States made a beautiful type of clay pottery archaeologists have named Swift Creek pottery.  This type of pottery has stamped, intricate designs on it.  Native Americans carved designs into wooden paddles.  They hit these paddles into their newly made wet clay bowls, leaving a stamped impression in the clay.  When they fired the bowls, the clay hardened and the impressions became a permanent design.  Archaeologists call the period when these pots were made the Middle to Late Woodland Period, which dates from 200 B.C. to A.D. 900.


1.   Discussion

·         Why do you think Woodland Indians put complicated designs on pottery?  (The designs may be symbols that have religious or other meanings; it may have been a cultural tradition to continue using certain designs; the designs may represent artistic expression; some designs may have spread from one group to another through trade, or intermarriage)

·         What is a symbol?  (A picture representing a thing, phrase, or idea)

·         What are some symbols we use in our society today?  (Class brainstorm, write examples on board.  No smoking, public telephone, public restrooms, traffic light colors, smiley face, pedestrian crosswalk, etc.)

·         The handout shows two Swift Creek pottery symbols.  What do you think each might have represented to Woodland Indians?  (There are no right or wrong answers, since no one alive today knows.  Some archaeologists think they see a snake, a beetle, or maybe just a design.


2.   Have the students imagine they are living in the year  A.D. 600.  Using the worksheet, have each create a Swift Creek design in the circle on the handout that symbolizes himself/herself, the students’ family, or his/her surroundings at that time.  Have the students write a paragraph about the designs.



Have each student share his/her design with the class and explain what it symbolizes.


Follow-up Activity:

Have the students make a list of any symbols they see on the way home from school.


Pretty Pieces of Pottery Worksheet





Swift Creek Pottery Designs

What do you think they meant to the Woodland Indians who made them?





Imagine that it is the year A.D. 600.  Create a Swift Creek design in the oval below that might symbolize yourself, your family, or your surroundings.  Write a paragraph explaining your design on a separate piece of paper.








The last prehistoric period in Georgia is called the Mississippian, named for the Mississippi River area which many archaeologists think was the center of development of a new kind of culture beginning about A.D. 800. During the Mississippian Period, populations grew larger and became densely concentrated in the valleys of the larger rivers. Agriculture provided the principal source of food. Some Mississippian societies reached a highly complex level of development, forming what anthropologist call "chiefdoms." In these chiefdoms (some of which still exist in the modern world) a person's position was inherited. Often, those in the highest ranking positions were treated as royalty. These ranking families might also control the distribution of many goods and services within the chiefdom.


Archaeologists think that the Etowah Mounds site near Cartersville was the center of a large chiefdom that stretched a distance of 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) from above Chatsworth to below Rome. The Ocmulgee site near Macon may have been the center of another chiefdom. Within these chiefdoms there may have been centers of secondary and tertiary leadership with many smaller villages and hamlets having their ultimate allegiances to the main ceremonial and political center. This kind of arrangement allowed for the redistribution of locally‑restricted or seasonally‑specific resources, so that there was less chance of shortages. A shortage of food would have been much more serious in a large, immobile population than in the earlier, small nomadic groups. Thus, although the large, sedentary, socially‑stratified groups of the Mississippian Period had many advantages over the smaller and more nomadic predecessors, there were also many uncertainties in their more "advanced" way of life.


The high‑ranking priest‑chiefs of Mississippian societies used much elaborate paraphernalia in their costumes and rituals, and they dressed in spectacular costumes to attempt to portray the gods from whom they claimed to be descended. They required that their living quarters and their temples be constructed on the tops of large clay platforms. After many generations of rebuilding and additions, these platform mounds reached grand proportions. Spectacular examples of Mississippian platform mounds may be seen today at the sites of Etowah, Ocmulgee, and Kolomoki in Georgia, Moundville in Alabama, and Town Creek in North Carolina all of which are open to the public.


The first European explorers to reach the southeastern part of North America encountered Indians living in the Mississippian Period. Descriptions of the native people, written by these explorers, mark the beginning of the Historic Period. Remember that archaeologists distinguish the historic from the prehistoric by the presence of written documents. Since the first written descriptions in Georgia come from the DeSoto Expedition of A.D. 1540, the Historic Period is dated A.D. 1540 to the present.


Most people are familiar with the historic Indian "tribes" of Georgia, such as the Cherokees, Creeks, and Yuchis, and they wonder about the relationships between these groups and the Mississippian cultures of late prehistoric times. A direct relationship exists, but it is one that is difficult to interpret for specific groups. The early Spanish explorers, such as DeSoto, described chiefdoms and tribes that they encountered in their travels over the Southeast. One group, which DeSoto's chroniclers called the "Guaxule," may have been the early Cherokees. Another, which they called the "Cooza," may have been the ancestors of the Upper Creeks.


There are many problems in tracing individual historic groups back to specific archaeological cultures. Disruptions during the early years of contact caused the Indian groups to move from place to place. Some groups were seriously decimated before any European descriptions were ever written. The structure of the various prehistoric groups also changed greatly during European exploration and colonization. Villages and village clusters that previously had been relatively autonomous developed new allegiances in order to better cope with European encroachment.


Archaeologists have further difficulty in their efforts to directly identify the prehistoric antecedents of historically defined groups because most of the earlier definitions were based on linguistic and ethnic affinities rather than on commonalities in material culture. Still, there are some rather secure interpretations. For example, the late Mississippian inhabitants of northeastern Georgia probably were ancestors of the Lower Cherokee group, while the Ocmulgee site probably was occupied by Muskogean‑speaking people known as Hitchiti.


During the Historic Period, three cultures‑‑Native American, Afro‑American, and Euro‑American‑‑came unexpectedly together, which produced rapid change and reorientation in all of them. The Native American and AfroAmerican cultures underwent the most drastic changes. AfroAmericans were uprooted from their lifestyle and native continent, brought forcibly to the New World and sold on slave markets to the highest bidder. From that moment forward they answered to their Master's bidding whatever the cost. Native Americans were subjected to diseases (introduced from Europe and Africa) which they did not understand and for which they had no natural immunities nor cures. Ruthless practices of deer‑skin traders, militarists, and land speculators further reduced Native American populations and forced major changes in their social and economic institutions.


An explicit example of European‑imposed change on Native Americans was the "deer‑skin trade." British traders found deer hides to be a good commodity for European fashion markets and they began trading guns and other manufactured goods to Native Americans for these hides. Since Native Americans without guns could not compete (in hunting or defense) with their neighbors who were obtaining such superior weapons more of them became traders. This need for guns led Native Americans in a "vicious circle" of hunting deer to get guns, to hunting more deer to get more guns, ammunition, etc. The other influencing factor in this circle was availability of deer. Previously hunted sparingly for food, the deer population was now becoming scarce in areas adjacent to Native American settlements. As hunter/tradesmen began moving farther from their homes to find deer and therefore being gone longer periods of time, their villagebased social structure was disrupted beyond repair. These kinds of "disruptions" caused aboriginal cultures to more easily succumb to the pressures of a dominant foreign culture.


Transplanted Europeans and Africans also changed as they adapted to life in the New World. Increasingly, archaeologists have been investigating the historic sites of Euro‑Americans and Afro‑Americans. On first thought, one might assume that written records contain all that is important to know about the cultures of the Historic Period. This is far from true, because in many instances there are no documents (they have been lost or destroyed) or the writings that do exist are biased (give only views considered desirable by the writer) or incomplete (describe only what the writer thought was important).


Archaeologists who work with the Historic Period are interested in the process of change in the Native American cultures, in the development and assimilation of AfroAmerican slave culture, and in the adaptations of agrarian European culture to New World environments. Some sites under exploration by historic archaeologists are no older than 50 to 100 years. Even these recent sites can provide valuable information on technological, economic, political, and social developments that have led to an urban‑industrial South.




Historical Documents Lesson Plan                              Grades 6-12

Courtesy, The LAMAR Institute, Inc.                                                                               Time 30 minutes



Students will learn to read, classify, and analyze items and place these into a cohesive, logical summary.



Reading, Vocabulary, Logic, Deductive and Inductive Reasoning, Geography, Economics, History and Historical Archaeology, and English/Grammar/Writing


QCCs Addressed



Learning Styles Used





Hand-outs containing copies of about 12 different yard sale advertisements from the classified section of any newspaper.   (Circle a different advertisement on each hand-out for each group of students.) Questions below (either as a hand-out, or written on the chalkboard.)  Optional-Area maps, one per group.



Divide the class into small groups.  Instruct the class as follows. 

Historical archaeologists use written records to discover more about the people who used the sites they excavate.  These records often include diaries, account books, wills, inventories, city directories, and birth/marriage/death records.  Wills and inventories are items that tell archaeologists what sorts of artifacts/material culture a person had when he or she died.  A modern similarity can be seen in the newspaper advertisements for estate sales, yard sales, and “for sale” ads.  Like inventories, these ads also portray a picture of some of the material possessions someone had during a specific period of his or her life.  Use the circled advertisement given to your group to discuss and answer the following questions, as a group.


1.                    Does your “inventory” represent one or more individuals?

2.                    Can you determine the general age or age groups represented by your document?  If so, list.

3.                    Is gender represented in your document?  How?

4.                    What economic status would you attribute to the people represented by your document and why?

5.                    What types of activities or occupations are represented?

6.                    What else can you determine about the people from your document?



Class Discussion:

Lead a class discussion, by group, of each group’s ad and answers.  How is this exercise similar to the ways historical archaeologists use documents to compare and contrasts individuals: within a site, between two or more households, between different cities, and in different colonies or states? 


Follow-up Activity:

Have each group chose and circle three additional advertisements from your hand-out.  Ask them to read, compare, and answer the following questions:


1.   How does each ad compare and contrast?

2.   Are these four advertisements representative of a particular neighborhood? (Enhance this activity by letting each group use an area map.)

Follow-up Activity (continued):

3.   Do they represent a typical socio-economic status?

4.   Are the same types of items for sale?  Do they represent any general, cultural trends?

5.   What types of information may be missing from this type of documentary record?


Have students individually choose one of the advertisements and write a paragraph (using clues from the ad) about a typical day in the life of the person and family who placed the ad.





Historical Photograph Lesson Plan                             Grades 6-12

Courtesy, The LAMAR Institute, Inc.                                                                               Time 30 minutes



The students will make inferences about culture by studying clues from a photograph.



Reading, Logic, Deductive and Inductive Reasoning, Geography, Economics, History and Historical Archaeology, and English/Grammar/Writing


QCCs Addressed



Learning Styles Used





A hand-out (one per student) of a copy of an old photograph (from a library book, magazine, or the internet, (choose one containing a lot of detail and/or people), Questions below (either as a hand-out, or written on the chalkboard.) 



Divide the class into small groups.  Instruct the class as follows. 

Historical archaeologists often use photographs to provide additional data about the people they are studying.  Analyze the accompanying photograph as if you were an archaeologist and the photo was taken at a house site you are now excavating.


7.                    When was the photograph taken?  (Year, season, time of day, etc.)

8.                    Was it a “staged” photograph?  What was the purpose of having it taken?

9.                    Describe the people in the photo.  (Ages; relationships to each other; etc.)  Who might be missing?

10.                 What economic status would you attribute to them and why?

11.                 What items in the photo might survive?  Which would you find archaeologically and which might you find through historical research?

12.                 What sorts of things does this photo NOT tell you about the people living on your site?

13.                 Are photographs always a true mirror of events?  Why or why not?



Class Discussion:

Lead a class discussion, about the questions and each group’s answers.  What are some examples of archaeologists using photographs as part of their research?  (photographs from Civil War battlefields shot by Matthew Brady; 1930s aerial photos showing buildings, roads, gardens, etc.)


Follow-up Activity:

Have each student bring a photograph from home showing a scene or group.  Pair students and have them exchange photographs and write several paragraphs about the new photo after studying it.  Let each pair exchange papers and discuss with each other the degree of accuracy of the analysis.  Follow up with a class discussion.  Do archaeologists always draw correct conclusions from their research? Why or why not?



The most important concepts brought forth in Chapter II are those of cultural change and cultural adaptation. From the time the first humans entered the Eastern Forest, they began adapting their behavior in ways that brought about increased efficiency in the exploitation of necessary resources. This greater efficiency was realized through changes in technology, economy, ideology, and organization of social units. Generally, society became more complex through time as, for example, in the shift from band to tribe to chiefdom, and from hunting and gathering to seasonal agriculture to intensive agriculture. As more efficient techniques and complex behaviors were adopted,populations grew, thus creating further demands for food and other necessary resources. This developmental process would have been totally imperceptible to any members of the cultures involved. Even the smallest changes were gradual, taking many generations.


The ultimate direction of prehistoric cultural development in Georgia is problematical. Perhaps a great civilization," similar to those of Mexico or Peru, ultimately would have arisen. We shall never know, since the native development was eclipsed and replaced with one that was mostly derived from western Europe.

·             IMPORTANT TERMS


    1.      New World                                                 40.       floodplain

    2.      Pleistocene Epoch                                       41.       tribe

    3.      Paleo Indian                                                42.       bow‑and‑arrow

             Period                                                         43.       incising

    4.      adapt                                                           44.       impressing

    5.      lanceolate                                                    45.       stamping

    6.      organic material                                           46.       Complicated stamped

    7.      flute                                                             47.       Check stamped

    8.      hafting                                                         48.       Fabric impressed

    9.      hunter‑gatherers                                           49.       copper pan pipes

  10.      nomadic                                                      50.       ear spool

  11.      band                                                            51.       celt

  12.      animism                                                       52.       mica

  13.      shaman                                                        53.       canine teeth

  14.      extinction                                                     54.       obsidian

  15.      spear thrower                                              55.       Mississippian Period

  16.      Archaic Period                                            56.       shifting agriculture

  17.      grooved axe                                                57.       domesticated plants

  18.      grinding stone                                              58.       dent corn

  19.      pestle                                                          59.       chiefdom

  20.      nutting stone                                                60.       ranked position

  21.      hammer stone                                              61.       litter

  22.      fresh water clam                                          62.       gorget

  23.      fresh water snail                                           63.       baton

  24.      salt water conch                                           64.       Nicotiana rustica

  25.      stone boiling                                                65.       Ilex vomitoria

  26.      soapstone                                                    66.       earth lodge

  27.      pottery                                                        67.       ceremonial center

  28.      fiber temper                                                 68.       mortuary house

  29.      blade edge                                                   69.       temple

  30.      notch                                                           70.       palisade

  31.      base                                                            71.       bastion

  32.      shoulder                                                      72.       orator

  33.      Savannah River                                            73.       adze

               point                                                         74.       Historic Period

  34.      Morrow Mountain                                       75.       chronicler

             point                                                            76.       conquistador

  35.      Stanly point                                                 77.       urban

  36.      Kirk point                                                    78.       historical

  37.      Palmer point                                                            archaeology

  38.      beveled edge

  39.      Woodland Period




1. Why was the climate different at the time humans first entered the New World than it is today?


2. What do we mean when we say that there was a "land bridge" between the Old World and the New World?


3. Spears tipped with lanceolate points were well suited for hunting what kinds of animals?


4. What part did the shaman play in Paleo Indian culture?


5. Why have archaeologists found so few sites of Paleo Indians in Georgia?


6. Name two artifacts from the Archaic Period that are not present on sites of the Paleo Indian Period.


7. What does the presence of these artifacts tell us about adaptive changes between the Paleo Indian and Archaic Periods?


8. In what part of Georgia have archaeologist found some of the first pottery made in North America?


9. Describe some of the tools used by Archaic Indians for preparing vegetable foods (draw pictures of these tools).


10. Draw and label the different parts of a stone projectile point.


11. Why did Indians of the Woodland Period begin to locate most of their settlements on stream flood plains?


12.        What are the differences between a band and a tribe?


13. Describe the steps Woodland Indians used to make a clay pot?


14. How do archaeologists use pottery to define different stages of the Woodland Period?


15. How do archaeologist know when they have found the burial of a Woodland priest?


16. What advantages did agriculture give the Native Americans of the Mississippian Period?


17. Name the four most important plants cultivated by Mississippian Indians, and tell why these plants grew well together.


18. Describe some of the responsibilities of the priest­chief in Mississippian society.


19. Describe (or draw a picture of) a Mississippian ceremonial center.


20. How did the European explorers treat the Native Americans with whom they came into contact?


21. What effects did the introduction of the gun and the deer‑skin trade have on Native American groups in Georgia?


22. Why are there so few descendents of the Native American in Georgia today?


23. Why are archaeologists interested in the remains of recent historic sites when we have so many written records for this period?


 CHALLENGER (Constructing a Bar Chart)


Young people may read Chapter II with complete understanding of the material and still not grasp the larger concepts implied by this material. For example, this chapter shows a gradual growth of culture through time. The exercise on pages 27‑28 is designed to help students visualize this increasing complexity by showing that traits were compounded through time.










ARCHAIC PERIOD 8,000 B.C. to 1,000 B.C.


PALEOINDIAN PERIOD 10,000 B.C. to 8,000 B.C.



CHALLENGER                                               THE BAR CHART








ARCHAIC PERIOD 8,000 B.C. TO 1,000 B.C.




1.ammunition                                                     28.       hunting‑gathering                                                              29.       Ice Age

3.bastion                                                           30.       Indian agent

4.beans                                                             31.       iron axe drink                                                     32.       lanceolate point

6.bow‑and‑arrow                                              33.       land bridge

7.brass bell                                                        34.       litter

8.cattle                                                              35.       nutting stone

9.Cherokee Phoenix                                          36.       palisade

10.chiefdom                                                      37.       plantation

11.chronicler                                                     38.       priest

12.circular house                                               39.       priest‑chief

13.cloth                                                             40.       pumpkin

14.copper hair ornament                                    41.       railroads

15.copper pan pipe                                           42.       slavery

16.corn                                                             43.       smallpox

17.deer‑skin trade                                             44.       soapstone

18.Deptford Check                                           45.       spear thrower

   Stamped pottery                                            46.       squash

19.ear spool                                                      47.       stone pipe lodge                                                   48.       sunflower

21.Edgewood                                                   49.       Swift Creek potter,

22.Fiber‑tempered                                            50.       temple mound

   pottery                                                           51.       thrusting spear

23.fresh water clams                                          52.       trading post beads                                                   53.       tribe

25.gorget                                                          54.       urban society

26.grooved axe                                                 55.       War of Jenkin's Ear

27.guns                                                             56.       whiskey




Challenger Bar Chart Lesson Plan                                                                              Grades 6-9

                                                                                                                                                                                                Time 40-60 minutes



The students will be able to make a bar chart, identify technological changes by prehistoric periods, and observe how cultures become more complex.



Reading and Graphing


QCCs Addressed



Learning Styles Used





Challenger Bar Chart Worksheet, Answer Sheet



Begin with introduction:  Any time you have to analyze a large number of items, a bar chart is very helpful.  Archaeologists use them frequently.  Here’s one you can construct which will show you how life in Georgia changed and grew more complicated.


Pass out the worksheet and give the following instructions.  The worksheet contains a list of words and phrases.  Each one is numbered.  The object is to decide the cultural period or periods of each.  Write in the number, not the word.  For example, Number 12 is “circular house.”  You read on page 31 that Woodland Indians built circular houses, so we have put a “12” in the bar for Woodland Indian Period.  Number 6 is “bow-and-arrow”.  On page 33, you read that Woodland Indians first used the bow-and-arrow here in Georgia.  So a “6” goes in the Woodland Indian Period bar.  BUT WAIT! On page 50, you read that Mississippian Indians also used the bow-and-arrow.  So, a “6” goes in the Mississippian bar as well. (See separate sheet for answers.)  After matching all the phrases to the correct period, have the students use a color pencil or crayon.  Use a different color for each prehistoric period, or row.



Discussion: This bar chart uses mostly technological items to demonstrate how this phase of life in the New World underwent change.  By a study of technological changes and advances, we can make judgements about the life styles in each period.  For example, we saw on page 23 that the invention of the grooved axe indicated that the Native Americans were chopping down trees to make clearings in the forests.  Clearings were not new to them; forest fires had been causing clearings for the same purpose as their man-made clearings.  But it is important that during the Archaic Period the natural setting was deliberately altered.  This is an important indicator of technological change.


Another example is that of the palisades and bastions that surrounded the large Mississippian ceremonial centers.  Earlier, Native Americans had no use for such protection and they did not have the social organization for such a huge undertaking.  What is even more important is that the earlier groups did not store an abundance of food that had to be guarded.  Comparisons like this tell us much about the differences between the earlier and later Native American  Indian groups.


Corn is another item that tells something about the people who were using it.  Corn is a domesticated plant.  Oddly enough, it cannot grow without help from man.  Modern corn, of the type grown by Mississippian Indians, cannot drop out of its own husk when it is ripe.  This means that it cannot drop its own seeds to the ground to grow next year’s crop.  People must remove the husks, save the seeds over the winter, and plant them the next spring.  When we find corn in the archaeological remains, we can be certain that the people of that time were practicing agriculture.