Meridian Star

Local News

January 3, 2013

Artifact show to bring a new view to the past

MERIDIAN —     Some archaeologists surmise ancient man was able to migrate across the Bering Strait into Alaska, then down through Canada and into North America. They think there was a glacial thawing that allowed them to do this.

    Other archaeologists feel that the areas of Alaska and Canada were covered by ice and that Paleo man had to migrate, by water, down the west coast into what is now South America and enter into the North American continent from the south. However they arrived, they finally settled in the southern part of North America.

    "This is just a small window into the life of prehistoric man," said Bill Breidinger, president of the Magnolia State Archaeological Society. "Our upcoming show will enable residents to see how these ancient people lived and the tools and weapons they used to survive thousands of years ago."

    The Native American Indian Artifact show will be held at the Frank Cochran Center on Saturday, Jan. 26, beginning at 8 a.m. There will be artifact collectors from Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky as well as other parts of the country. The show is presented by The Magnolia State Archaeological Society. Admission is free to the public.

    "It is hard for us with all the technology we have at our fingertips today to imagine a time when there weren't any cell phones, no computers of any kind nor of electricity and running water," said Breidinger. "These are a few of the pleasures that ancient man didn't have when he entered North America some 16,000 years ago."

    Breidinger said the early settlers of North America had to endure harsh climates ranging from extreme heat to bone chilling cold. He had to move almost daily to secure food for his family.

    "The only mode of transportation was by foot or maybe a dug out boat and the only way of getting food was by hunting animals with weapons made of stone and wood," Breidinger said.

      Not only did these animals provide food but their hides were used for clothing and also for covering their simple shelters that were made of poles and sticks. There were no permanent settlements because ancient or paleo man had to follow the animals as they migrated from place to place, Breidinger said.

     As centuries passed and the glaciers in the north began to thaw, man started to migrate to the midwestern part of North America. It is believed there was a great abundance of large game in this area but soon after ancient man moved here these large animals began to be killed off. Man, as has been his nature since the beginning, had to adjust and began to rely more and more on gathering nuts and berries to supplement his diet as well as catching fish and gathering river muscles.

    "Small groups banned together for mutual support and protection and the first communities were formed," Breidinger said.

      People in these small communities began to concentrate on the things that they did best. Some were hunters, some made pottery, some made weapons and some tended the fields and protected them from hungry birds and animals.

    As centuries passed, man began to concentrate more on growing crops and small communities became small villages and eventually larger towns.

    The artifacts that will be on display during the show are a window in which the curious can look back in time seeing and touching objects the first humans in North America relied on to survive.

    For more information call Bill Breidinger, president, Magnolia State Archaeological Society at (601) 635-3222.

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