Plano cultures

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The Plano cultures is a name given by archaeologists to a group of disparate hunter-gatherer communities that occupied the Great Plains area of North America during the Paleo-Indian period in the United States and the Paleo-Indian or Archaic period in Canada.

Distinguishing characteristics

The Plano cultures are characterised by a range of unfluted projectile point tools collectively called Plano points and like the Folsom people generally hunted bison antiquus, but made even greater use of techniques to force stampedes off of a cliff or into a constructed corral. Their diets also included pronghorn, elk, deer, raccoon and coyote. To better manage their food supply, they preserved meat in berries and animal fat and stored it in containers made of hides.[1][2][3]


The Plano cultures existed in Canada during the Paleo-Indian or Archaic period between 9000 BC and 6000 BC. The Plano cultures originated in the plains, but extended far beyond, from the Atlantic coast to British Columbia and as far north as the Northwest Territories.[4][5] "Early Plano culture occurs south of the North Saskatchewan River in Saskatchewan and in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains north to the Peace River Valley of Alberta and adjacent British Columbia. At this time, most of Manitoba was still covered by Glacial Lake Agassiz and associated glacial ice."[4]

Bison herds were attracted to the grasslands and parklands in the western region. Around 9,000 B.P. as retreating glaciers created newly released lake regions, the expansion of plant and animal communities expanded north and east, and the barren ground caribou in the tundra, boreal woodland caribou in the boreal forests and plains, and mountain caribou replaced bison as the major prey animal.[4]

United States

In the Great Plains of the United States, the following are Plano cultures from 10,000 to 7,000 years ago, distinguished by long, lanceolate projectile points:[6]


  1. "Evolution of Projectile Points". U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 2011-09-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Western Plano". Manitoba Archaeological Society. Retrieved 2011-09-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Waldman, Carl (2009) [1985]. Atlas of the North American. New York: Facts on File. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-8160-6858-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Canadian Museum of Civilization 2010.
  5. Reynolds, MacKinnon & MacDonald 1998-2002.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Cassells, E. Steve. (1997). The Archeology of Colorado, Revised Edition. Boulder, Colorado: Johnson Books. p. 79. ISBN 1-55566-193-9.
  7. Cassells, E. Steve. (1997). The Archeology of Colorado, Revised Edition. Boulder, Colorado: Johnson Books. p. 81. ISBN 1-55566-193-9.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Cassells, E. Steve. (1997). The Archaeology of Colorado, Revised Edition. Boulder, Colorado: Johnson Books. pp. 81-86. ISBN 1-55566-193-9.


  • A History of Native People of Canada: Plano Culture, Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2010, retrieved 2011-09-19<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reynolds, Graham; MacKinnon, Richard; MacDonald, Ken (1998–2002), Palaeo-Indian archaeology: The Peopling of Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia, Canada: Canadian Studies Program, Canadian Heritage, Cape Breton University With Folkus Atlantic Productions in Sydney. Supported by the Canadian Studies Program, Canadian Heritage, retrieved 19 December 2013<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>