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The Neptune Project: Background
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Area Prehistory

Photo of Paleo-Indian Period Clovis points,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clovis_point

During the Paleo-Indian Period (circa 11,000 to 8,000 BC) the prehistoric populations of the region consisted of small, highly mobile groups of hunter-gatherers that occupied seasonal camps. At that time the Atlantic Coast shoreline was approximately 100-150 kilometers east of its present position. Since then many Paleo-Indian sites were likely to have been inundated by the rising ocean due to the melting of the continental ice sheet. Paleo-Indian sites are frequently identified on the basis of exquisitely made fluted stone spear points and knives.

The Archaic Period (8,000 to 1,000BC) witnessed formation of the present Atlantic shoreline, successive shifts of various environmental zones, and formation of modern postglacial climatic conditions. During this time hunter-gatherer populations utilized a variety of procurement techniques with an increasing stress on diversified terrestrial faunal and aquatic resources. Resident populations lived in seasonal campsites and later seasonal villages that were frequently established along major rivers.

The Woodland period (1,000BC to 1,500AD) saw emergence of ceramic technology and, after 1,000 AD, horticulture and permanent village lifestyle. The ethnogenesis of Proto-Munsee speakers to the north of the Raritan River and Proto-Umani speakers to the south of the Raritan is datable to late Woodland period. (Kraft, 1973; Kraft, 1986; Kraft and Mounier, 1982).