Tracking Nebraska's history
It is generally accepted that 13,000 years ago, people lived in Nebraska and hunted mammoths, camels and a type of bison. The environment was different, resembling more of a savanna, and the temperature was cooler and dryer. Archeologists call this time period “paleo-indian.” During this era, the mammoth, great sloth and camel died out.
About 8,000 years ago, temperatures rose and the animals vacated the Great Plains and toward the mountains to the west or the Mississippi Basin to the east. The people followed. This lasted for 2,000 or 3,000 years.
About 5,000 years ago, the middle archaic period began. Temperatures moderated and people moved back to the Plains. Grasses and fauna flourished, and people began foraging plants to supplement their diet.
About 2,000 years ago, ancient peoples invented the bow and arrow, ceramics and pottery. They became more sedentary and established village culture, cultivating plants like corn. They ate smaller animals and relied on crops more.
“And then about 500 years ago, they made contact with white people,” said Kevin Hammond, president of the Nebraska Archaeological Society. By this time, Indians had acquired horses and firearms through networks from Southwest Indians, who traded them from the Spanish.
Society members may find artifacts from of these epochs, he said.
Click here to read more about the finders of Nebraska’s archaeological history.