Early Cultures in America


Artifact: remains of the past left by previous human activity

Archaeology: the study of the past using material evidence such as artifacts

Archaeological discoveries of early Indian settlements have been made in southeastern Virginia, such as at Cactus Hill.

Cactus Hill:

  • Located on the Nottoway River in southeastern Virginia

  • Archaeologists have found evidence that humans lived at Cactus Hill as early as 18,000 years ago

  • That makes it one of the oldest archaeological sites in North America

American Indians

Where American Indians Lived:

  • The Inuit lived in present-day Alaska and northern Canada, where the temperature is below freezing much of the year

  • The Kwakiutl lived on the Pacific Northwest coast, which has a rainy, mild climate

  • The Lakota people lived in the interior of the United States, called the Great Plains, which is made up of dry grasslands

  • The Pueblo tribes lived in the Southwest in present-day New Mexico and Arizona, which are desert areas

  • The Iroquois lived in northeast North America, called the Eastern Woodlands, which is heavily forested


Resources also influenced how American Indian groups met their basic needs.

Types of Resources:

Natural resources: things that come directly from nature

  • Fish, wild animals, crops, etc.

Human resources: people working to produce goods and services

  • Fisherman, hunters, etc.

Capital resources: goods produced and used to make other goods and services

  • Canoes, bows, spears, etc.