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Cultural Time Periods

Cultural Time Periods for Western Canada and United States:

All artifacts can be traced back to a specific “time era” or what is known as a “period” in history, each having it’s own “period” name… the pre-historic and historic time periods for the Western USA and Canada are listed below with their respective names and date ranges. Also of note, these time eras occurred at a different time between the Eastern and Western North America.

Time Era             Date Range

Paleo                     12,000 to 11,000 BC
Late Paleo             10,000 to 8,000 BC
Transitional Paleo     9,000 to 7,000 BC
Early Archaic             8,000 to 5,000 BC
Middle Archaic             5,000 to 2,000 BC
Late Archaic             2,000 to 1,000 BC
Woodland             1,000 BC to 700 AD
Mississippian             700 AD to 1600 AD
Historic             1600 AD to 1830 AD

The Western United States & Canada

Time Era     Date Range
Paleo             12,000 to 6,000 BC
Early Archaic     6,000 to 3,500 BC
Middle Archaic     3,550 to 1,300 BC
Late Archaic     1,500 to 300 BC

The following periods or eras are termed “the Desert Traditions” in the Western United States:

Time Era     Date Range
Transitional     300 BC to 400 AD
Developmental     400 to 1300 AD
Classic     1300 to 1600 AD
Historic     1600 to 1830 AD