Formative stage

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Middle Formative, Olmec style, Kneeling lord with incised toad on his head, 900–500 B.C.
Late Formative, Xochipala, Seated adult and youth, 400 B.C. – A.D. 200

The Formative Stage or "Neo-Indian period" is a theoretical archaeological term applied to North and Meso-American societies that existed between 1000 BCE and 500 CE. It is the third of five stages defined by Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips' 1958 book Method and Theory in American Archaeology.[1]

Cultures of the Formative Stage are supposed to possess the technologies of pottery, weaving, and developed food production. Social organization is supposed to involve permanent towns and villages, as well as the first ceremonial centers. Ideologically, an early priestly class or theocracy is often present or in development.[2]

Examples of cultures considered to be Formative include the Adena, Olmec, Old Copper, Oasisamerica, Woodland, and Mississippian cultures.

Sometimes also referred to as the "Pre-Classic stage". It followed the Archaic stage and was superseded by the Classic stage.[3]

  1. The Lithic stage
  2. The Archaic stage
  3. The Formative stage
  4. The Classic stage
  5. The Post-Classic stage

See also


  1. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  2. Gordon R. Willey and Philip Phillips (1957). Method and Theory in American Archaeology. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-89888-9.
  3. "Method and Theory in American Archaeology" (Digitised online by Questia Media). Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips. University of Chicago. 1958. Retrieved 2009-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>