Early Paleo (10,000 - 8,500 B.C.)
To this date, very little is known about the Early Paleo. In western North America, their tool kit included a large array of elaborate bone and ivory tools. Unfortunately in the Great Lakes region, due to our predominately acidic soils and shallow depths of these cultural deposits, stone tools and the debris or waste from making these stone tools remain.
Early Paleo groups produced a distinct tool assemblage consisting of fluted projectile points. These spear or dart points were masterfully crafted with a channel flake removed creating a groove or "fluted" effect. This distinctive fluting was probably done in order to haft or attach the spearhead to its shaft more securely. These points are crafted on the finest of cherts, with the sources ranging in distance, which is suggestive of trade networks and/or long distance travel of these people throughout a year in search of resources. Not only did these Early Paleo select the highest grades of chert, but they also would select a source(s) over any other sources of chert, sometimes at a greater distance to the original source of the chert.
The Early Paleo can be further divided into three distinctive successive phases based on the diagnostic projectile point types dated to this period. These include:
Gainey (8,900 B.C.)
Parkhill (8,700 B.C.)
Crowfield (8,500 B.C.)
As represented by the projectile point assemblages identified within southwestern Ontario.
The Early Paleo produced a wide range of stone tools, including smaller spears made from the flake remains of the fluted points, noted above. The channel flake is worked into a small spear, possibly for the use by a child. Other tools include large knives, also made of chert. These were probably used for cleaning the deer and its hide so the meat could be used for food and the hide for such things as clothing.
Based on the tool kits that have been recovered to date, these Early Paleo probably hunted and trapped their food, while also adding a small amount of fish to their diet. Since the land at this time resembled that of the semi-subarctic of today, these people would had to have roamed the land, moving great distances in search of enough food to survive. This suggests that they camped in one location for a very short period of time, probably never to return unless it was considered a great place to find food resources. The Early Paleo probably wondered the land, in search of food, traveling great distances within a year, practicing gift exchange in order to create social ties with other like people roaming the land.
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