The Development of Local Archaic Traditions

Archaic peoples lived throughout North America in many different environments. So even though basic cultural traits—like dependence on hunting and gathering—were shared by all Archaic peoples, it is not surprising that people living in different areas also developed local traditions unique to their particular group.

Archaeologists use differences in artifacts and architecture to recognize local traditions in the archaeological record. For example, Archaic peoples in southern Arizona and Archaic peoples on the Colorado Plateau used slightly different methods to make their baskets, and their projectile points were of slightly different shapes. Thus, these two groups of Archaic peoples, while similar in many ways, developed their own local traditions, which are reflected in the materials they left behind.