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List of archaeological periods (North America)

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Title: List of archaeological periods (North America)  
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Subject: Archaic period in North America, Mott Archaeological Preserve, List of burial mounds in the United States, Santa Rosa-Swift Creek culture, DePrato Mounds
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List of archaeological periods (North America)

North American archaeological periods divides the history of pre-Columbian North America into a number of named successive eras or periods, from the earliest-known human habitation through to the early Colonial period which followed the European colonization of the Americas.

Stage classification

One of the most enduring classifications of archaeological periods & cultures was established in Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips' 1958 book Method and Theory in American Archaeology. They divided the archaeological record in the Americas into 5 phases, only three of which applied to North America.[1] The use of these divisions has diminished in most of North America due to the development of local classifications with more elaborate breakdowns of times.[2]

1. The Paleo-Indians stage and/or Lithic stage
2. The Archaic stage
3. Post-archaic stage - At this point the North American classifications system differs from the rest of the Americas.

For more detaisl on the five major stages, still used in Mesoamerican archaeology, see Mesoamerican chronology and Archaeology of the Americas.

Table of archaeological periods North America

Paleo Indians (Lithic stage)
(18,000 BC - 8000 BC)
Clovis culture c. 13,500 BC - 11,000 BC
Western Fluted Point Tradition c. 11,200 BC - 9000 BC, California
Post Pattern c. 11,000 BC - 7000 BC, NW California
Folsom tradition c. 9000 BC - 8000 BC
Dalton Tradition c. 8500 BC - 7900 BC
Archaic period, (Archaic stage)
(8000 BC - 1000 BC)
by Time Period Early Archaic
8000 BC - 6000 BC
Plano cultures
Paleo-Arctic Tradition 8000 BC - 5000 BC
Maritime Archaic
Red Paint People
Middle Archaic
6000 BC - 3000 BC
Chihuahua tradition c. 6000 BC - c. 250 AD
Watson Brake and Lower Mississippi Valley sites c. 3500 BC - 2800 BC
Late Archaic
3000 BCE - 1000 BC
Arctic Small Tool tradition 2500 BC - 800 BC
Aleutian tradition 2500 BC - 1800 BC
Poverty Point culture 2200 BC - 700 BC
by Location Great Basin Desert Archaic
Middle Archaic
Late Archaic
Great Lakes Old Copper Complex c. 4000 BC - c. 1000 BC Red Ochre people c. 1000 BC - 100 BC Glacial kame culture c. 8000 BC - 1000 BC
Mesoamerica Mexican Archaic
Southwest: Southwestern Archaic Traditions Archaic – Early Basketmaker Era c. 7000 BC - c. 1500 BC
San Dieguito-Pinto tradition c. 6500 BC - c. 200 AD
Chihuahua (Southeastern) Tradition c. 6000 BC - c. 250 AD
Oshara (Northern) Tradition c. 5500 BC - c. 600 AD
Cochise Tradition 5000 BC - 200 BC
California Millingstone Horizon (or Encinitas Tradition) c. 5500 BC - 1500 BC
Intermediate Horizon (or Campbell Tradition) c. 1500 BC - 1000 AD
Southeast Elliott's Point complex 2000 BC - 700 BC
Mount Royal culture 5000 BC - 2000 BC
Norwood culture 2000 BC - 500 BC
Orange culture 2000 BC - 500 BC
Poverty Point culture 2200 BC - 700 BC
Stallings Island (St. Simons) culture 2500 BC - 1000 BC
Thoms Creek culture 2500 BC - 1000 BC
Post-archaic period, (incorporating Formative, Classic and post-Classic stages)
(1000 BC - present)
in North Norton tradition Choris Stage c. 1000 BC - 500 BC
Norton 500 BC - 800 AD
Ipiutak Stage 1 AD - 800 AD
Dorset culture 500 BC - 1500 AD
Thule people 1000 AD - 1600 AD
in Southwest
and by Pecos Classification
Early Basketmaker II Era 1200 BC - 50 AD
Late Basketmaker II Era 50 AD - 500 AD
Basketmaker III Era 500 AD - 750 AD
Pueblo I Era 750 AD - 900 AD
Pueblo II Era 900 AD - 1150 AD
Pueblo III Era 1150 AD - 1350 AD
Pueblo IV Era 1350 AD - 1600 AD
Pueblo V Era 1600 AD - present
in Southwest
and by peoples
Ancient Pueblo Peoples (Anasazi) 1 AD - 1300 AD
Hohokam 200 AD - 1450 AD
Fremont 400 AD - 1350 AD
Patayan 700 AD - 1550 AD
Mogollon 700 AD - 1400 AD
in East
and by peoples
Early Woodland Period
1000 BCE - 1 CE
Adena culture 1000 BC - 100 BC
Deptford culture - Atlantic region 800 BC - 700 AD
Deptford culture - Gulf region 500 BC - 200 AD
Middle Woodland Period
1 - 500
Hopewell culture 200 BC - 400 AD
Havana Hopewell culture (a Hopewellian culture) 200 BC to 400 AD
Kansas City Hopewell (a Hopewellian culture) 100 BC – 700 AD
Swift Creek culture (a Hopewellian culture) 100–500 AD
Santa Rosa-Swift Creek culture (a Hopewellian culture) 100–300 AD
Marksville culture (a Hopewellian culture) 1 - 400 CE
Fourche Maline culture 300 BC to 800 AD
Copena culture (a Hopewellian culture) 1 - 500 CE
Late Woodland Period
Baytown culture 300–700 CE
Plum Bayou culture 400–900 CE
Troyville culture 300–700 CE
Coles Creek culture 700–1100 CE
Mississippian culture
(ending with European contact)
Early Mississippian culture 1000 - 1200 CE
Middle Mississippian culture 1200–1400 CE
Late Mississippian culture 1400–1500 CE
(or European contact)
Fort Ancient (a non-Mississippian culture) 1000 - 1550 CE
in Florida and adjacent parts of Alabama and Georgia, by culture Belle Glade culture 1050 BCE - European contact
Glades culture 550 BCE - European contact
Manasota culture 550 BCE - 800 CE
St. Johns culture 550 BCE - European contact
Caloosahatchee culture 500 BCE - European contact
Weeden Island culture
100–1000 CE
Weeden Island I, including 100–750 CE
- Cades Pond culture 100–600 CE
- Kolomaki culture 350–750 CE
- McKeithen Weeden Island culture 200–750 CE
Weeden Island II, including 750–1000 CE
- Wakulla culture 750–1000 CE
Alachua culture 600 - European contact
Suwannee Valley culture 750 - European contact
Safety Harbor culture 800 - European contact
Fort Walton culture a Mississippian culture 1000 - European contact
Pensacola culture 1250 - European contact

Culture, phase, and chronological table for the Mississippi Valley

Lower Mississippi Periods Lower Yazoo Phases Lower Yazoo
Tensas/Natchez Phases Cahokia Phases Cahokia Dates Ohio/Miss. River
Confluence Phases
Ohio/Miss. Dates
Historic Russell 1650–1750 CE Tensas / Natchez Vacant
1350 CE -
European Contact
Jackson 1500-1650 CE
Plaquemine Mississippian culture
Late Plaquemine/Mississippian
Middle Plaquemine/Mississippian
Early Plaquemine/Mississippian
Wasp Lake 1400-1650 CE Transylvania / Emerald
Lake George 1300-1400 CE Fitzhugh / Foster Sand Prairie 1275-1350 CE Medley Phase 1300-1500 CE
Winterville 1200-1300 CE Routh / Anna Moorehead 1200-1275 CE Dorena 1100-1300 CE
Transitional Coles Creek Crippen Point 1050-1200 CE Preston / Gordon Lohmann
1050-1200 CE
Coles Creek culture
Late Coles Creek
Middle Coles Creek
Early Coles Creek
Kings Crossing 950-1050 CE Balmoral Terminal Late
900–1050 CE James Bayou 900-1100 CE
Aden 800-950 CE Ballina
Bayland 600-800 CE Sundown Late
400–900 CE Cane Hills
600–900 CE
400–600 CE
Baytown 2
Baytown 1
Deasonville 500-600 CE Marsden
Little Sunflower 400-500 CE Indian Bayou
Marksville culture
Late Marksville
Early Marksville
Issaquena 200-400 CE Issaquena Middle
200 BCE - 400 CE La Plant
100 BCE-400 CE
550-100 BCE
0-200 CE Point Lake/
Grand Gulf
Tchefuncte culture Tuscola 400 BCE-0 CE Panther Lake
Jaketown Poverty Point 700- 400 BCE Frasier Early Woodland 700-200 BCE O'Bryan Ridge 700-550 BCE
- 1000-700 BCE - Late Archaic 1000 - 200 BCE

See also


  1. Lower Mississippi, Lower Yazoo, and Tensas/Natchez table taken from "Emerging Patterns of Plum Bayou Culture:Preliminary Investigations of the Toltec Mounds Research Project", by Martha Ann Rolingson, 1982, Pg-66.[3]
  2. Cahokia phases and dates taken from "Ancient Cahokia and the Mississippians", by Pauketat, Timothy R., 2004, Pp-6.[4]
  3. Ohio and Mississippi River Confluence Phases and dates taken from "Kentucky Archaeology", edited by R. Barry Lewis, 1996, Pg - 16.[5]


  1. ^ Gordon R. Willey and Philip Phillips (1957). Method and Theory in American Archaeology. University of Chicago Press.  
  2. ^ Gibbon, Guy E; Ames, Kenneth M (1998). Archaeology of prehistoric native America: an encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 638–639.  
  3. ^  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Lewis, R. Barry (1996). Kentucky Archaeology. University Press of Kentucky.  


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