The archaeological record in some 17,500 sites offers evidence for the presence of prehistoric or early historic people over an incredible expanse of time from perhaps 30,000 years ago to as recently as the Dust Bowl era.Within North and South America's archaeological community a heated debate concerns the Early Arrivals who first peopled the New World.

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However, recent work with mitochondrial DNA as well as historical analysis of the evolution of Native American languages brought forth suppositions that peopling of North and South America extended back in time some 20,000 to 30,000 years ago and potentially reflected a number of separate arrivals.

The pre-Clovis argument was bolstered in southern Chile by a fourteen-thousand-year-old settlement called Monte Verde.

That it bore no resemblance to Clovis culture brought credibility to the pre-Clovis argument.

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Precontact Era Keywords Oklahoma precontact prehistory European invasion exploration nomadic bison mammoth hunters Burnham Site Clovis Folsom Cooperton bison kill Calf Antelope Creek Altithermal Fourche Maline Wister Woodland Agricultural Villagers hunting trade Spiro Mounds Wichita Pawnee Redbed Plains Coalesced Villagers Most Oklahomans identify with the Five Civilized Tribes, the Cheyenne, the Comanche, and other contemporary Native people of the state.Representing approximately 8 percent of Oklahoma's population, they are frequently discussed in historic accounts of the settling of Indian Territory.However, other less-well-known Native people inhabited Oklahoma for many thousands of years prior to European arrival on the southern plains in the mid-1500s.The Wichita and the Caddo can be traced back in prehistory at least two thousand years, and the Osage and Apachean-speaking people can perhaps be documented here prior to the arrival of Europeans.Other groups with no historic tribal connections may have lived here or passed through beginning some 30,000 years ago.Prehistoric groups demonstrated remarkable adaptability to diverse settings and changing environmental conditions across Oklahoma.