Paleoindian Period (10,550–8050 BC)

Most archaeological sites from this time period are submerged in river basins and offshore locations. Settlement systems focused on high-quality lithic material (Gardner 1977).

Early Paleoindian Period (10,550 – 8,950 BC)

  • Projectile points include the Hardaway blade and the Hardaway-Dalton.

Middle Paleoindian Period (8,950 – 8,550 BC)

Late Paleoindian Period (8,550 – 8,050 BC)

  • Projectile points include the Hardaway side-notched.

**Please reference the Paleoinidan Database by David Anderson for images.

Archaic Period (8000 – 1000 BC)

Early Archaic Period (8000 – 6000 BC)

  • Tools include the Palmer Corner Notched and Kirk Corner Notched projectile points, end-scrapers, side-scrapers, blades, drills, and various bone and antler tools (Reid and Simpson 1998a:34). People during this time period occupied small settlements, and moved frequently.

Middle Archaic (6000 – 3000 BC)

  • Tools include the Stanley Stemmed, Morrow Mountain Stemmed, and Guilford Lanceolate projectile points (Ward and Davis 1999:73), atlatl weights, grooved axes, and notched pebbles. People continued to live as they had during the Early Archaic Period while also utilizing local resources.

Late Archaic Period (3000 – 1000 BC)

  • The advent of pottery, including the Stallings and Thom’s Creek pottery series, marks the beginning of the Late Archaic. Tools associated with this era include the Savannah River projectile point, atlatl weights, and grooved axes. Although rare, large coastal shell rings and shell middens begin to appear during this time while people tended to occupy large base camps.

Woodland Period (1000 BC – AD 1650)      

Early Woodland Period (1000 – 300 BC)

  • The Early Woodland is known as the New River phase within the southern Coastal Plain subregion, and is identified through the recovery of New River ceramics. People continued to live as they had during the Late Archaic through the use of large base camps surrounded by smaller camps.

Middle Woodland (300 BC – AD 800)

  • The Middle Woodland is known as the Cape Fear phase, and is identified through the recovery of Cape Fear and Hanover ceramics. People lived with a high rate of mobility during this era, and greatly depended on estuaries for their subsistence. Shell middens and sand burials also increase during this era.

Late Woodland/Contact Period (AD 800 – 1650)

  • The Late Woodland/Contact Period is referred to as the Oak Island or White Oak phase because of the recovery of the Oak Island and White Oak pottery series. Tools utilized during this era include oyster knifes, nutting stones, and stone and clay pipes. People during this time period lived in long houses, and subsisted on a variety of food including hickory nuts, corn, sunflowers, squash, oysters, clams, small fish, and deer.