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Tony Rath's
HISTORY > Maya > Paleo-Indian/Archaic Period

Paleo-Indian/Archaic (15,000 - 2,500 B.C.)

The Paleo-Indian period marks the first colonization of North America by Man. It is hypothesized that these early people came to the Americas from Asia either by way of a land bridge formed across the Bering Strait during the Pleistocene Ice Age, or via ancient watercraft, following the islands along the west coast of North America. The image at right graphically depicts the possible route of this migration.

Scientist believe this migration was fueled by the need for food, as nomadic hunters follwed large animals they relied on for subsistence. Because of this nomadic way of life, little evidence of their passing remain today, mostly wooded, bone and stone tools. The most diagnostic artifact is a fluted projectile pointed known as a Clovis Point. Evidence of these early hunters has been found in isolated locations throughout Belize.

Evidence of Archaic human activity in Belize was first uncovered near Lowe Ranch, just north of Ladyville. The projectile ponts related to this find have been named Lowe Points. Up until 1999, about 12 Lowe Points have been recovered in the Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. Argueably one of the earliest human habitation sites known in North America was discovered in 1972 at Richmond Hill just outside the town of Orange Walk. Further study is necessary to support the claim. Above and left are some of the "stone tools" uncovered at Richmond Hill.

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