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Forum: Stones Forum|
Moderated by : Andy B , TimPrevett , coldrum , Klingon , MickM , TheCaptain , bat400 , davidmorgan , Runemage , SolarMegalith , sem
Respond to: Smoky Mountains\' First Residence
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from South Central Indiana, US
| New Message Posted!2009-01-31 19:50  |
coldrum submits this general article on the human pre-history of the Smokey Mountains, in Tennessee and North Carolina.
Picture a small group of men and women, say 20 to 30 people, cautiously making their way through a dense forest along a small stream, searching for a place to camp for the night and to find food.
Roughly 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, that's probably what happened in the land now known as Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Such a small cluster of people likely left the first footprints on the Smokies.
Back about that time, temperatures in the region began to warm as glaciers retreated northward on the continent. Although no glaciers existed this far south, say geologists, there were pockets of cold that affected the environment. In warmer weather, conifer forests began to disappear, replaced by deciduous trees.
Erik S. Kreusch, Great Smoky Mountains National Park archaeologist, said the area began to experience four seasons, with an increase in precipitation.
Plants began to move up the slopes. ...There were chestnut trees and acorns from oaks. Under more hospitable conditions, the animal population began to grow.
Scientists believe humankind first came to North America from northwest Asia, crossing the Bering Strait via a land bridge and following the coastline. How people got to what's now East Tennessee is unknown. They may have made their way across the Great Plains or come from the South.
"Native Americans were in East Tennessee by at least 12,000 years ago," said Jeff Chapman, professor of archaeology and director of the Frank H. McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee, and author of "Tellico Archeology: 12,000 Years of Native American History."
"With base camps in the river valleys, they undoubtedly ranged into the foothills of the Smokies, but not higher, since these elevations were still basically tundra from the last Ice Age. Evidence of these first Americans in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is scanty at best," he said.
Stone projectile points and tools that have been recovered indicate bands of hunters and gatherers ventured into the park area in search of deer, bear and turkeys, he said. They became skilled archers.
"By 7,000 years ago, Native Americans were exploiting all the regions of the Great Smoky Mountains."
"Settlements, however, continued to be on the floodplains of the river valleys, and the upland areas continued to be used, probably seasonally, for hunting," he said.
From the period of about 3,000 years ago, said Kreusch, there's evidence of food storage and use of grinding. By about 1,000 B.C., he said, area men and women were using ceramics, clay pots and pit firing.
Horticulture began to play a role in daily life. And from around 1350 onward, he said, there is evidence of trade beads, clay pots and townhouses [community wooden buildings used by the Cherokee for meetings, dances, and other gatherings]
Life for the Cherokee around what is now the North Carolina side of the park changed forever in 1540, when the first Europeans arrived ...
After thriving for many millennia, the Indians suddenly were exposed to diseases for which they had no resistance. This had a great effect on the social makeup of the tribes and even brought about the complete disappearance of some pre-historic societies, according to a major study of the park's archaeology, entitled, "Cultural and Historic Resource Investigations of the Ravensford Land Exchange Tract, Vol. I."
For more, see the article in http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/nov/30/native-americans-were-smokies-first-residents/
[ This message was edited by: bat400 on 2009-01-31 19:54 ]