PALEOINDIAN PERIOD (ca 14,000 - 10,000 BP)
The Paleoindian Period dates back to a time between 14,000 and 10,00 years ago. It was at this time the last ice age was in the process of retreating back into Canada. Temperatures were warming.
During this time the culture consisted of small families or clans that worked together in fostering the extended family units.
Some members of the clan nurtured and protected the children. Others went out on extended hunts for whatever game they could find and kill. These people were using stone tools and razor sharp flint arrowheads, spears and knives. They had refined the tool making process using fluted flint that resulted in highly effective hunting tools even against the large animals that roamed the fields and woodlands. Although mastodon and mammoth animals were present here, they were not usually part of these groups daily diet. More likely they would gather up a hunting party in the late fall to try and bring down one of these beasts. At that time of year, the large carcass could be butchered and stored in one of the many frozen ponds. The remains could then provide plenty of food for the clan throughout the winter months without risking dangerous scavengers from taking their cache.
ARCHAIC PERIOD (ca 10,000 - 2,500 BP)
This period marked the end of the last ice age. The climate had changed dramatically and was very close to what we experience today. Ohio became a 4 season climate whereas during the ice age, it was just a 3 season climate (winter / spring./ fall).
During this time period the people in and around Ohio began to change slightly. They still maintained their clans, but the clans became more extended. Different clans from different areas would meet and share ideas. They also intermarried between clans. Their diets were beginning to change as well. Instead of just meats they were adding fish, nuts and berries, things that could be picked, dried and stored.
What really identifies the Archaic Period is the fact they did not farm, did not make ceramics, and they did not live in permanent sites. Although they weren't farmers by any sense of the word, towards the end of this period they were beginning to plant sunflowers and squash during the the summer months. Also during the end of this period they were beginning to trade. Flint first discovered 1000s of years ago before, was found to be a highly prized commodity that could be traded for materials found elsewhere across the continent.
Towards the end of this period, we begin to see a new group of people moving into the Ohio Valley and eventually throughout much of Ohio. These were a different group with different ways, with different art forms and different pottery. The Natural Americans that had been living here since before the ice came perhaps couldn't understand their language or the reason for putting so much time and effort into their funeral practices. But in time this new group would be appreciated and the New Americans would learn their language. Their unique burial mounds would be seen as a positive. They also brought with them a new crop that could be planted, grown, harvested and stored for much later use. In return for the seeds of corn, the Natural Americans traded flint. Eventually, the new Mound Builders would discover their own sources for flint and they began trading with other Natural Americans.