Plano Traditions

8000 - 6000 BC


The Late Palaeo Period is represented in Manitoba by the Plano tradition. The transition to this new phase is not fully documented or understood and has been the subject of several debates. All Late Palaeo cultures shared a distinctive method of chipping stone that produced artifacts that differed from the fluted points of the earlier phases. However, other cultural elements retained characteristics of previous traditions within their tool kits, settlement patterns, and subsistence practices. Accordingly, many archaeologists believe that the Late Palaeo Period was a continuation of the Folsom traditions

The term Plano, applied to the artifacts and other cultural remains of the sub period is derived from the Spanish word for Plains, the region over which the tradition was dominant. Its full distribution extended from the Keewatin District of the Northwest Territories to the Gulf of Mexico. In Manitoba this phase was marked by an increase in population and migrations to new regions in the wake of important environmental changes. The ice sheet that had dominated much of the province disappeared in the southern and central regions by 8,000 B.C., and Lake Agassiz diminished in size dramatically. The climate was warmer and drier than during the Early Palaeo Period and the south central Plains were transformed into a to semi-desert. Periodic occurrences of drought reduced water supplies and caused the grasslands to expand northwards, creating new grazing areas for bison.

Native populations also migrated into newly accessible land areas of the northern and eastern parts of the province. Adaptations to regional environmental conditions allowed the Plano groups to expand their distribution from the Plains northward into the subarctic to specialize in caribou hunting and eastward into the Boreal Forest areas, where they exploited diverse woodland species, including moose, small mammals, and fish.

In accordance with development of divergent technologies specialized to exploit different ecological zones, the Late Palaeo Period can be divided into three geographical variants:

PLANO DISTRIBUTIONS

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Text and Graphics: Brian Schwimmer, Virginia Petch, Linda Larcombe
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