Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the Archaic and Late Prehistoric periods?
The Archaic period or era is a very long span of human history
in North America that began about 9,500 years ago (7,500 B.C.) and lasted,
in the Camp Bowie area, until about 1200 years ago (A.D. 800). The Archaic
concept was originally conceived of as an evolutionary stage of cultural
development during which prehistoric peoples lived as hunter-gatherers
and adapted to virtually every environment in North America. Today, however,
archeologists realize that hunting and gathering was the dominate way
of life during the preceeding Paleoindian era. And while the Archaic period
was followed by the rise of agriculture and settled life in some areas
of North America, peoples in other areas including much of central and
southern Texas, continued living much as they had for thousands of years.
In the Camp Bowie area, the Archaic period is said to end about 1200 years
ago (A.D. 800) when the bow and arrow replaced the atlatl and dart at
the beginning of the Late Prehistoric period. Some late
prehistoric groups learned to make pottery at about the same time, but
they maintained a traditional way of life based on hunting and gathering.
The Archaic and Late Prehistoric periods are really somewhat arbitrary
classifications of convenience. Archeologists have subdivided the periods
into subperiods and phases in various ways based on changes in certain
artifact styles (mainly projectile points). The arrival of Spanish explorers
in the late 17th century marks the beginning of the Historic
period and the era of written history.