Archaic Food

During the Archaic period, people continued their hunter-gatherer lifestyle. But when the climate changed at the end of the Ice Age, so did the types of wild animals and plants that people relied on for their food.

Archaic people hunted animals that are familiar to us today, including deer, elk, and bighorn sheep. People also ate smaller animals such as rabbits and rodents.

Deer.Elk.Bighorn sheep.Rabbit.

Archaic people ate many different kinds of wild plant foods, including greens (leaves), seeds, nuts, and fruits. The photographs below show just a few of the wild plants that provided various kinds of food for Archaic people.

Pinyon tree (close-up).Yucca.Ricegrass.Amaranth.Goosefoot.
Squash seeds (top); corn seeds, or kernels (bottom).


Late in the Archaic period, people in the Mesa Verde region began experimenting with gardening. They planted domesticated corn and squash seeds that they got from Archaic people who had moved to the region from southern Arizona.

The earliest evidence of corn and squash near the Mesa Verde region dates from 1000 to 2000 B.C.

Where did corn originally come from?