North American Guide to the First Millennium

North American Guide

After my journey through 1st Millennium Mesoamerica it seems appropriate to make a detour through the United States and Canada to check the performance of my trusty Japanese Isotopic Tree Thermometer [and its three 1st Millennium outlier events] against the massed ranks of the North American Archaeologists.

North America Sites Time Line

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North America Time Line

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Overall, the 1st Millennium North American historical narrative is heavily fragmented and the three pre-defined 1st Millennium outlier events are evident but not well defined.

This lack of definition is partly caused by some groupings being impossible to interpret [without expert knowledge] because they are heavily [and inconsistently] sliced and diced.

South Florida

This general lack of definition is also partly caused by a lack of detailed information for the broad brush stroke cultures.

Intermediate Horizon (or Campbell Tradition) c. 1500 BC – 1000 AD

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name.

A middle to late Holocene tradition in coastal southern California, particularly the Santa Barbara Channel area, dated between ca. 3000 B.C. and A.D. 700.

The Campbell tradition has been classified with the Hunting pattern and the Intermediate period.

In some areas, the Campbell tradition succeeded the Encinitastradition and was followed by remains associated with the ethnohistoric Chumash.

It was defined by Claude N. Warren. (Warren 1968)

Society for California Archaeology – Chronological and Cultural Units

Dorset culture stone longhouse

The Dorset culture (also called the Dorset Tradition) was a Paleo-Eskimo culture (500 BCE–1500 CE) that preceded the Inuit culture in Arctic North America.

But for some of the cultures there is a remarkable level of detail which echoes the three pre-defined 1st Millennium outlier events.

Even more remarkable [in some areas] is the lack of cultural continuity during the 1st Millennium.


The Adena culture was a Pre-Columbian Native American culture that existed from 1000 to 200 BC, in a time known as the Early Woodland period.

The Adena culture refers to what were probably a number of related Native American societies sharing a burial complex and ceremonial system.

The Hopewell tradition (also called the Hopewell culture) describes the common aspects of the Native American culture that flourished along rivers in the northeastern and midwestern United States from 200 BC to 500 AD, in the Middle Woodland period.

The Hopewell tradition was not a single culture or society, but a widely dispersed set of related populations.

Fort Ancient is a name for a Native American culture that flourished from 1000-1750 CE among a people who predominantly inhabited land along the Ohio River in areas of modern-day southern Ohio, northern Kentucky, southeastern Indiana and western West Virginia.

They were a maize-based agricultural society who lived in sedentary villages and built ceremonial platform mounds.

However, the big story in North America during the 1st Millennium is the [roughly] 300 year hiatus between the Hopewell Tradition and the Mississippian Culture.


The Hopewell tradition (also called the Hopewell culture) describes the common aspects of the Native American culture that flourished along rivers in the northeastern and midwestern United States from 200 BC to 500 AD, in the Middle Woodland period.

The Hopewell tradition was not a single culture or society, but a widely dispersed set of related populations.

The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American civilization that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 to 1600, varying regionally.

It was composed of a series of urban settlements and villages (the largest city being Cahokia) and linked together by a loose trading network.

The Hopewell Tradition appears to have dodged the 250 AD outlier event but it finally succumbed to the 550 AD outlier event.

Unsurprisingly, this “decline” is a Mainstream Mystery associated with plenty of waffle.

Cultural decline

Around 500 CE the Hopewell Exchange ceased, mound building stopped, and art forms were no longer produced.

War is a possible cause, as villages dating to the Late Woodland Period shifted to larger communities; they built defensive fortifications of palisade walls and ditches.

Colder climatic conditions could have also driven game animals north or west, as weather would have a detrimental effect on plant life, drastically cutting the subsistence base for these foods.

The introduction of the bow and arrow, by improving hunts, may have caused stress on already depleted food populations.

The breakdown in societal organization could also have been the result of full-scale agriculture.

Scholars Dunnell and Greenlee suggest an idea of waste behavior.

“They argue that energy was diverted from biological reproduction during a period when climate irregularities favored small families.

As climate became predictable from year to year, energy was turned from waste behavior to food production” (Dancey 131).

Conclusive reasons for the evident dispersal of the people have not yet been determined. Much more knowledge is needed.

After the 550 AD outlier event there is [roughly] a 300 year hiatus in the mainstream narrative before the Mississippian Culture [“approximately 800 to 1600, varying regionally”] appears.

This probably means the Mississippian Culture arrived after the 900 AD outlier event.

Moving west the mainstream narrative for the Ancient Pueblo People was particularly traumatic during the first half of the 1st Millennium because they “began living in pit-houses” and some early dwellings were built “within the natural protection of rock shelters”.

Ancient Pueblo People

The Late Basketmaker II Era (AD 50 to 500) was a cultural period of Ancient Pueblo People when people began living in pit-houses, raised maize and squash, and were proficient basket makers and weavers.

The primary dwellings of this era were round or circular pit-houses that were built on open land and partially below the ground surface.

Some early people built their dwellings within the natural protection of rock shelters, especially during the beginning of this period.


The curious aspect of the North American “pit-houses” is that it took at least 350 years for this very practical design to cross the Atlantic.

Pit-houses were built in many parts of northern Europe between the 5th and 12th centuries AD.

In Germany they are known as Grubenhäuser, in the United Kingdom, they are sometimes also known as grubhuts, grubhouses or Sunken Featured Buildings (SFBs).

This chronological discrepancy is very strange because building pit-houses [“partially below the ground surface”] is a design that was resurrected during the 20th century to provide protection from explosive and incendiary objects that were falling out of the sky.

Anderson shelter

Anderson shelters were designed to accommodate up to six people.

The main principle of protection was based on curved and straight galvanised corrugated steel panels.

Six curved panels were bolted together at the top, so forming the main body of the shelter, three straight sheets on either side, and two more straight panels were fixed to each end, one containing the door – a total of fourteen panels.

A small drainage sump was often incorporated in the floor to collect rainwater seeping into the shelter.

The shelters were 6 feet (1.8 m) high, 4.5 feet (1.4 m) wide, and 6.5 feet (2.0 m) long.

They were buried 4 ft (1.2 m) deep in the soil and then covered with a minimum of 15 inches (38 cm) of soil above the roof.

Determining which [if any] of the mainstream chronologies is correct seems to be a guessing game but my trusty Japanese Isotopic Tree Thermometer [and its three 1st Millennium outlier events] tends to favour an alignment around the 550 AD outlier event.

Justinian Events 550 AD
The smooth and rapid profile of this decline and recovery in temperatures suggests multiple cosmic impacts triggered a nuclear winter style response and it is associated with the Plague of Justinian in European History.

The Plague of Justinian (541–542) was a pandemic that afflicted the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, especially its capital Constantinople, the Sassanid Empire, and port cities around the entire Mediterranean Sea.

The extreme weather events of 535–536 were the most severe and protracted short-term episodes of cooling in the Northern Hemisphere in the last 2,000 years.

In 2009, Dallas Abbott of Columbia University’s Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory in New York published evidence from Greenland ice cores that multiple comet impacts caused the haze.

Nuclear winter (also known as atomic winter) is a largely hypothetical global climatic effect of city and natural wildfire firestorms.


Gallery | This entry was posted in Astrophysics, Catastrophism, Dallas Abbott, Dendrochronology, Earth, Heinsohn Horizon, History, Solar System. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to North American Guide to the First Millennium

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  3. What? You never read the Book of Mormon?

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