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Paleo-Indian Era (9,500 - 8,00 B.C.)     

Paleo-Indian hunters entered the Mississippi Valley at the end of the last Ice Age around 9,500 B.C. The climate was cool and moist and much of the region was covered with northern forests and grasslands.

Mammoths, mastodons, and other Ice Age animals roamed the region around Natchez. There were few edible plants that humans could eat and the rivers were too cold and swift for most aquatic species.

Small bands of Paleo-Indians, most with perhaps only 25 to 50 members, survived these conditions using a well-designed Stone Age technology and by exchanging information with neighboring groups about environmental conditions and the distribution of animals and other resources.

As Paleo-Indians settled into favored areas, they became familiar with local resources including chert, which could be quarried from rock outcrops and used to make stone tools. As Ice Age animals became extinct, deer, elk and other species became the main source of meat, hides, antlers, and other animal products. Paleo-Indian success in adapting to regional conditions permitted their populations gradually to increase.

By 8,500 B.C. Paleo-Indians began making a new kind of tool which archeologists call the Dalton point. This implement was used for hunting and butchering game animals and worn or damaged specimens were often reworked into other tools such as scrapers and perforators. The Dalton people manufactured stone-bladed adzes for woodworking and they began to make increasing use of plant materials, such as bark and fibers, and foods including fruits and nuts. The Dalton-era Sloan site in northeast Arkansas is believed to be the oldest cemetery in the Western Hemisphere.

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Grand Village Of The Natchez Indians
400 Jeff Davis Blvd Natchez
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2 Cemetery Rd Natchez

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