Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews archaeological evidence of the Archaic period (~7000–2000 bc ), which is traditionally viewed as a long transitional interval between a poorly defined the era of Paleo-Indian big-game hunting traditions and the rise and proliferation of agricultural villages. The absence of extinct Pleistocene animal remains and ceramics in archaeological sites of this age is the most salient defining characteristic of the interval, which is sometimes referred to as the preceramic. Two of Mesoamerica's key cultigens—maize and squash—were domesticated by Archaic-period hunter-gatherers. The use of cultigens is a defining characteristic of subsistence economies throughout the Archaic period. However, the character of Archaic period adaptations differs regionally with some broader-scale differences evident between the semiarid highlands and the seasonally dry tropical lowlands. The archaeological and paleoecological datasets suggestive of these differences are explored.

Keywords: Archaic period, hunter-gatherers, cultigens, subsistence economics

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.