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LOOKING FOR LANDMARKS >> NEW VIEWS PROFILE OF THE FIRST PEOPLE A LASTING DEBT
   

Paleoindians created the institutions of lineage and society that later cultures inherited and transformed in their turn. They forged a political landscape where none existed before, perhaps investing the major natural features of their environment with symbolic meaning. They must have negotiated boundaries among neighboring groups, and altered those boundaries as their numbers grew and their institutions changed. They established the first economy–of raw materials like chert, wood, leather, and sources of food like caribou and deer. They developed technology that was sophisticated, flexible, and deeply embedded in a social world that combined practical reason with cultural meaning. Their story is an important one.

  (illustration) Profile of Paleoindian man wrapped in fur.
(photo) Image of four people at excavation, balding man with glasses leaning down in foreground.

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(illustration) Paleoindian man and brush fire.
(photo) Man in shorts sitting on ground.

Intensive work at Virginia’s Thunderbird site.

MJB/EJL