A Look at the Pre-history of Wayne County Ohio (Part 1)
With this column I plan to take a look back at the people who lived right here long before we arrived. People flourished in the area we now call Wayne County Ohio for at least 16,000 years or 500 generations. How many generations can you track your family line?
The past 16,000 years are broken down into four prehistoric time periods. Paleo, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian. Dates given are approximate and are the subject of regular debates. The information provided is exteremely general and basic.
Paleo (16,000 – 10,500 years ago)
The people of the Paleo period lived in small groups. These nomadic people followed and relied on hunting mega fauna (very large animals such as the mastodon) as their main source of food. The development of the Clovis style flint hunting point and Atl Atl, or spear thrower, was a major development at the end of the Paleo period. During the Paleo period there were approximately 5 million people on earth. Today there are 8 million people in New York City.
Archaic (10,500 – 3,000 years ago)
These semi-nomadic people lived in small semi-permanent villages. With the extinction of most of the mega fauna they began to hunt smaller animals. Increased fish and plant consumption began to take a larger role in their diet. A wide variety of advancements took place during the Archaic period such as notched flint hunting points, hard stone axes, and personal adornment items made of glacial slate. Near the end of the Archaic period the Glacial Kame culture emerged. The Glacial Kame people are best known for their practice of ceremonially burying their dead in glacial deposits (mounds of dirt left behind after the glaciers receded) also known as Glacial Kames. This is the time when the world saw the creation of the Great Pyramids at Giza in Egypt (4,500 years ago)
Woodland (3,000 – 1,100 years ago)
The people of the Woodland period began to form larger more permanent villages. Advancements in cultivation allowed them to be less dependent on wild plants and animals for food. They stopped using Glacial Kames and began to build their own mounds to bury their dead. The first pottery was developed and the Adena, Hopewell, and Intrusive Mound cultures each emerged during the Woodland period. As a reference to what was happening around the world during this period, the stone statues at Easter Island were created 1,000 years ago.
Mississippian (1,100 – 550 years ago)
The large scale cultivation of crops allowed for the development of extremely large permanent communities and ceremonial centers. The bow and arrow was developed as the Woodland was ending and the Mississippian was beginning. Prior to this the Atl Atl was the hunter’s weapon of choice. The Mississippian period saw the rise of the Fort Ancient culture. As a reference to what was happening around the world during this period, Christopher Columbus arrived in the new world approximately 500 years ago.