Ancient civilizations

Ancient native american civilizations in Mesoamerica

Many Indian Tribes ,including the Mayan , believed they were seeded from the Pleiadians. Ancient indian civilizations in North America developed over roughly the last 20,000 years, according to archaeologists.

According to the indian tribes living today, most of them say they have always been here on the North American continent. Many archaeological periods, cultures, complexes, and peoples have been identified in North America.

These are generally divided into five periods. The Paleo Indians were an ancient civilization that lived during the Lithic stage (18000 BCE – 8000 BCE) and this is when we first see stone tools.

The Archaic period (8000 BCE – 1000 BCE), is divided into an early, middle, and late stages. In this period, we first see evidence of sedentary farming practices.

During the Formative stage, ancient north american people developed the technologies of pottery, weaving, and developed food production.

Social organization began to involve permanent towns and villages, as well as the first ceremonial centers in these ancient indian civilizations. During the Classic stage, we begin to see complex social structures as ancient indian civilizations developed craft specializations and the beginnings of metallurgy.

During this period, we see the beginnings of urbanism and large ceremonial centers. During the Post-Classic stage (1000 BCE – Present), we see advanced metallurgy and social organization involving complex urbanism and militarism. 

Ancient Civilizations Articles on Old Site:

Ais Moundbuilders


Beothuk Indians

Cahokia Mounds art exhibit showcases moundbuilder artifacts: Hero, Hawk and Open Hand

Cahokia Mounds mark Illinois’ most ancient city

Fremont people, ancient indians that lived from 700 to 1300 AD Predecessors of the Hohokam

Agriculture of the Hohokam Indians

Clothing and footwear of the Hohokam Indians

Hunting and gathering practices of the Hohokam

Discovery of Hohokam ruins surprises archaeologists

Hohokam Indians of the Tucson Basin

Karankawa Indians: Extinct tribe of Texas

The Rise and Fall of the Mayan Empire

Mayan crystal skulls

Unraveling Mayan mysteries

Hailing the solstice and telling time, Mayan style 

Mississippi Mound Builders

The Olmec Indians

Olmec art

The Olmec Gods

Olmec Writing

Oneota Discovery in Wisconsin stirs scientific debate: Did two different cultures meet? 

Indian cultures in US pre-columbian timeline

Shanawdithit, the last Beothuk


Article Index:

Ancient History: Mystery of the Anasazi

One of the most popular and fascinating features of the southwest’s Canyon Country is the remains of the prehistoric Anasazi Indian civilization. The Anasazi thrived in the region for nearly 1,000 years leaving evidence of their extraordinary masonry talents everywhere.

The zenith of the Anasazi culture was reached in Chaco Canyon during the years 900-1100 C.E.

Aztecs Tortured, Ate Spaniards, Bones Show

Evidence of capture and rituals is unearthed at a site near Mexico City.

Skeletons found at an archeological site show that Aztecs captured, sacrificed and partially ate several hundred people traveling with invading Spanish forces in 1520.

The condition of skulls and bones from the Tecuaque site east of Mexico City offers evidence that about 550 victims had their hearts ripped out by Aztec priests in ritual offerings, and were dismembered or had their bones boiled or scraped clean, experts say.

The findings support accounts of Aztecs capturing and killing a caravan led by Spanish conquistadors in revenge for the murder of Cacamatzin, king of the Aztec city of Texcoco. Experts said the discovery proved that some Aztecs did resist the conquistadors led by Hernan Cortes before they attacked the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City.

History books say many indigenous Mexicans initially welcomed the white-skinned horsemen, thinking they were returning gods, but turned against them once they tried to take over the Aztec seat of power in a conflict that ended in 1521.

“This is the first place that has so much evidence there was resistance to the conquest,” said archeologist Enrique Martinez, director of the dig here. “It shows it wasn’t all submission.”

The prisoners were kept in cages for months while Aztec priests selected a few each day, cut out their hearts and offered them up to various Aztec gods, Martinez said.

“It was a continuous sacrifice over six months. While the prisoners were listening to their companions being sacrificed, the next ones were being selected,” Martinez said, standing in his lab amid boxes of bones, some of young children.

The priests and town elders sometimes ate their victims’ hearts or cooked flesh from their arms and legs, Martinez said. Knife cuts and even teeth marks on the bones show which ones had meat stripped off to be eaten, he said.

In Aztec times, the site was called Zultepec, a town of white-stucco temples and homes where 5,000 people grew maize and beans. Upon hearing of the massacre, Cortes renamed the town Tecuaque – “where people were eaten” in the indigenous Nahuatl language – and sent an army to wipe out its people.

When they heard the Spanish were coming, the Zultepec Aztecs threw their victims’ possessions down wells, unwittingly preserving buttons and jewelry for archeologists.

“They hid all the evidence,” Martinez said. “Thanks to that act, we have been allowed to discover a chapter we were unaware of in the conquest of Mexico.”

DNA extracted from a 10,300-year-old tooth reveals new line of people in the Americas

DNA extracted from a 10,300-year-old tooth found in On Your Knees Cave on Prince of Wales Island off southern Alaska in 1996 reveals a previously unknown lineage for the people who first arrived in the Americas. A study of the oldest known sample of human DNA in the Americas suggests that humans arrived in the New World relatively recently, around 15,000 years ago.

The findings, published last week online in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, shed light on how the descendants of the Alaskan caveman might have spread.

Comparing the DNA found in the tooth with that sampled from 3,500 Native Americans, researchers discovered that only one percent of modern tribal members have genetic patterns that matched the prehistoric sample.

Those who did lived primarily on the Pacific coast of North and South America, from California to Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South America.

This suggests that the first Americans may have spread through the New World along a coastal route.

Brian Kemp, a molecular anthropologist who sequenced the DNA, said the discovery underlines the importance of genetic research in understanding human migration.

“I think there’s a lot of information in these old skeletons that’s going to help us clarify the timing of the peopling of the Americas and perhaps where Native Americans originated in Asia,” said Kemp, a research associate at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Using material taken from the tooth, Kemp isolated fragments of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed down from mothers to their offspring, and Y chromosome DNA, which is passed from father to son.

Genetic Markers

All of the mtDNA lineages among Native Americans are associated with five founding lineages believed to have originated in Asia.

But the caveman DNA turned out to be an independent founding lineage.

Of the 47 samples that matched the tooth DNA, 4 were from descendants of Chumash Indians living along California’s central coast.

“The distribution of people exhibiting this [genetic] type today are all distributed in the western Americas,” Kemp said.

“More or less the individuals are smack down the coast. It’s a very neat western distribution.”

John Johnson, an archaeologist and ethnohistorian at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in California, collected the Chumash DNA samples.

To Johnson, the matching of the Chumash samples to the On Your Knees Cave man is indirect evidence of an ancient coastal migration that may have occurred very rapidly.

“We’re interested in who were those first people to arrive here at the Pacific coast,” Johnson said.

“I believe the Chumash descended from a very early coastal migration that resulted in the distribution of people down to the tip of South America.”

Fishing Cultures

But where did these coastal migrants come from?

DNA samples of people living in Japan and northeast Asia show some of the genetic mutations found in the cave-tooth and Chumash samples.

“I think that’s a clue that there could be a genetic connection,” Johnson said.

He said the Chumash ancestors may have been skilled fishers before they arrived in the Americas.

“Your techniques for exploiting coastal resources are easily [transferable] and something that maybe can allow you to migrate more quickly than people who are hunters and gatherers, who must get used to new environments as they move into uncharted territory,” Johnson said.

“I think that may have allowed a more rapid migration along the Pacific margins of the Americas.”

On Your Knees Cave

When and how the first people came to the Americas has been a subject of intense debate.

The prevailing theory has been that the first to arrive descended from prehistoric hunters who walked across a thousand-mile (1,600-kilometer) land bridge from Asia to Alaska.

This migration probably occurred at least 15,000 years ago—the oldest human remains discovered so far are 13,000 years old—but some scientists have proposed that the first Americans arrived up to 40,000 years ago.

The Alaskan tooth was discovered in a cavern called On Your Knees Cave, named by the explorer who first crawled inside it.

From a genetic database of 3,500 Native Americans, Kemp found 47 individuals in North and South America who exhibited the same genetic markers as the caveman. Some of the samples were drawn from living people and others from ancient bones.

He then compared the tooth DNA with the matching, modern samples and tracked the mutations that had occurred in that DNA over time.

By measuring the rate of mutation, Kemp found that so-called molecular evolution—the process by which genetic material changes over time—had taken place two to four times faster than researchers believed mtDNA could evolve.

That, Kemp said, suggests people entered the Americas within the last 15,000 years, because the DNA has evolved too fast for the arrival to have occurred any earlier.

“I would say that humans were probably not here much before that date,” said Kemp. “A 15,000-year-old entry is [also] much more consistent with the archaeological record.”

Kemp said rapidly advancing DNA technology will help scientists piece together the story of the first Americans.

“No expert in morphology could look at the bones and say this person resembles a Tierra del Fuego person. It was only the DNA that could seal the case,” Kemp said.

“This really highlights the importance of adding a molecular component to the study of these really ancient remains.”

Human skull found near Snake River may be ancient Nez Perce
Indian DNA links to six founding mothers
Kenewick Man back in the news
Late Archaic Period – Orange Culture -2000 – 1000 BC
Maya Astronomy and Mathematics
Olmec Gods and Mystical Beliefs
Poop fossil proves human habitation in North America 14,340 years ago
The Aztec Gods and Goddesses
The Inca built first suspension bridges
Woodland Period – St. Johns Cultures – 500 BC to 1500 AD