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3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC

The 2nd millennium BC in North American history provides a time line of events occurring within the present political boundaries of United States (including territories) from 2000 BC through 1001 BC in the Gregorian calendar. Although this time line segment may include some European or other world events that profoundly influenced later American life, it focuses on developments within Native American (and Polynesian) communities. Because the indigenous peoples of these regions lacked a written language, we must glean events from the admittedly very incomplete archaeological record and place them in time through radiocarbon dating techniques.

Because of the inaccuracies inherent in radiocarbon dating and in interpreting other elements of the archaeological record, most dates in this time line represent approximations that may vary a century or more from source to source. The assumptions implicit in archaeological dating methods also may yield a general bias in the dating in this time line.

  • 1500 BC: Salishan speakers arrive in Northwestern Plateau region.
  • 1500 BC: Natives of the eastern woodlands begin making pottery, a practice originated in Mesoamerica.
  • Shell ornaments and copper items at Indian Knoll, Kentucky evidence an extensive trade system over several millennia.
  • 1001 BC: Athapaskan-speaking natives arrive in Alaska and western Canada, possibly from Siberia.
  • 1001 BC: Pottery making widespread in the Eastern woodlands.

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