Red Paint People

Red Paint People

The Red Paint People are a pre-Columbian culture indigenous to the New England and Atlantic Canada regions of North America. They were named after their burials, which used large quantities of ochre, normally red, to cover both bodies and grave goods. Sometimes they are known as the Moorehead Phase of the Laurentian Tradition or the Moorehead burial tradition after Warren K. Moorehead who brought them widely to the attention of scientists. They flourished between 3000 BCE and 1000 BCE. Alternatively, they can be called by the period in which they lived, either the "Maritime Archaic" (emphasizing a coastal and seafaring culture) or "Late Archaic" (emphasizing time and leaving open the possibility of living inland seasonally), although these terms often cover the longer period from 5000 BCE to 1000 CE. Multiple hypotheses exist as to which if any later peoples might be their descendents and there is little archaeological evidence to support any hypothesis.

Their burial culture was more elaborate than any subsequent culture in the area. In the southern portion of their range, they were succeeded by the Susquehana culture which used pottery, and no evidence of their stoneworking techniques is found in that culture.

Lifestyle and technology

They lived on the coasts and rivers, fishing and hunting. Some coastal sites show evidence of year-round occupation, discrediting an older theory that they were seasonal nomads, living the summers on the coast and the winters inland. The diet included sea fish, anadromous fish, shellfish, meat, berries, acorns, nuts and roots. They had boats capable of catching swordfish, as well as stone and bone tools. No pottery or metal tools have been found in sites associated with this culture. Their trading range is known to have extended from Labrador to the New York side of Lake Champlain, and the culture covered most of this area.

Scientific investigation

The graves with red paint were known as early as the 1840s, but the first scientific examination was in 1892, led by a Harvard professor and assisted by Charles Willoughby. Willoughby exhibited a scale model of the dig at the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893. It caught the attention of Moorehead, who did more digs and published research about them from 1912 to the 1920s. He described them as older than other cultures of the area. This was disputed until radiometric dating proved Moorehead correct. In the 1930s, one theory for their disappearance was that they had been killed by tidal waves caused by coastal subsidence. This is no longer believed.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Red hair — This article is about people with red hair, who are sometimes called redheads . For the film, see Red Hair (film). For other uses, see Redhead (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • paint — [[t]pe͟ɪnt[/t]] ♦♦ paints, painting, painted 1) N MASS Paint is a coloured liquid that you put onto a surface with a brush in order to protect the surface or to make it look nice, or that you use to produce a picture. ...a pot of red paint...… …   English dictionary

  • Red — This article is about the color. For other uses, see Red (disambiguation). Red   Spectral coordinates  Wavelength 620–740 …   Wikipedia

  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — PETA redirects here. For other uses, see Peta (disambiguation). Founder(s) Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco …   Wikipedia

  • Red ochre — and yellow ochre (pronounced /IPA| əʊk.ə/, from the Greek ὄχρος, yellow) are pigments made from naturally tinted clay. It has been used worldwide since prehistoric times. Chemically, it is hydrated iron (III) oxide.Ochres are non toxic, and can… …   Wikipedia

  • Red Dead Redemption — cover Developer(s) Rockstar San Diego Rockstar North …   Wikipedia

  • Red Alert (Transformers) — Red Alert is the name of several characters in the various fictional Transformers universes. Transformers Generation 1Transformers character name =Red Alert japanname =Alert caption = affiliation =Autobot subgroup =Autobot Cars Micro Vehicles… …   Wikipedia

  • Red mercury — is a substance of debatable existence purportedly used in the creation of nuclear bombs, as well as a variety of unrelated weapons systems. Samples obtained from arrested would be terrorists invariably consisted of nothing more than various red… …   Wikipedia

  • Paint — For other uses, see Paint (disambiguation). Paints redirects here. For the baseball team, see Chillicothe Paints. Dried green paint Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which after application to a substrate in a thin layer is… …   Wikipedia

  • People and animals (Thomas and Friends) — The television series Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends features many fictional people and animals who interact with the engine characters and form the basis for many of the varying storylines. The following list describes, in order of TV season …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.