Archaic Period — Mississippians

"8,000 BC, the beginning of the Archaic Period, was marked by men having improved hunting techniques, and fish in their diets and the beginnings of agriculture. The Archaic period lasted about 7,000 years until 1,000 BC, the beginning of the Woodland Period -- the time of the "Mound Builders" who buried their dead under mounds of earth. This culture used bow and arrow and is marked by a greater use of agriculture which caused an increase in village life and the use of pottery.

"By 700 AD the Mississippian Culture covered the region around and along the Mississippi River Valley. This culture built huge mounds as temples. Emerald Mound is the second largest temple mound in the United States, and is one of the stops along the Trace near Natchez. It dates from the Mississippian Period and was built by the Indians of the Mississippian Culture. These Indians also built earthworks to protect their villages. The Mississippian Culture's trade network was elaborate, and the Old Natchez Trace was part of that network. These people had a high degree of organization. They were not primitives.

"Join us next time and witness the decline of the Mississippian Culture as European explorers enter the lower Mississippi River Valley. For Natchez Trace: A Road Through the Wilderness, I'm Frank Thomas."

For more about Natchez Trace: A Road Through the Wilderness, visit

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