Prehistoric People Program

Historical Significance

Long before the Native Americans lived in East Tennessee their ancestors, the Paleo-Indians, lived in this region. Based on our archaeological record we know that these prehistoric people were here from 10,000BC – 1,000AD. Around 1,000AD agricultural advancements resulted in the formation of the Native American tribes we know today.

How the Prehistoric People Program Relates to Tipton-Haynes

During the Ice Age there were buffalo, mammoths, giant bears, saber tooth cats and other mega fauna living in East Tennessee. The Paleo-Indians lived in small nomadic groups following and hunting these Ice Age mammals. These people used hunting trails to track the animals and stayed, sometimes for weeks, in caves. As a result of archaeological excavations we know that prehistoric people stayed in the limestone cave located here and that one of these hunting trails ran through what is now the Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site. This path was called the Buffalo Trail and runs parallel to present day Buffalo Road.

Student Activity

An emphasis is placed on how environmental changes (the end of the Ice Age), technological advances (spear heads, bows and arrows, baskets and pottery) and the advancement of agricultural practices(discovery of farming and the importance of corn) lead to the development of the first communities and the formation of the Native American tribes. Students will learn about the Paleo-Indians by viewing and handling archaeological artifacts, playing board race games with our “Prehistory Timeline” felt board and learning to grind corn by hand.