Definition of Palaeo-Indian in English:



  • Relating to or denoting the earliest human inhabitants of the Americas, to c.5000 bc. The date of their first arrival in America is debated (possibly up to 30,000 or 40,000 years ago, but artefacts do not become numerous until the Clovis period).

    • ‘This material is not typical of eastern Palaeo-Indian assemblages and eight radiocarbon determinations date it to the period between 17000 and 11000 years ago.’
    • ‘Initial radiocarbon samples showed the bones to be around 9,500 years old, proving the skeleton to be of Paleo-Indian age, and one of the oldest prehistoric individuals to be found in North America.’
    • ‘This kind of settlement is associated with the Palaeolithic period of the Old World, and the Paleo-Indian period of the New.’
    • ‘Clearly, then, the Paleo-Indian and Na-Dene migrations were separate events.’
    • ‘An explanation for the famous Mason-Quimby Line in central Michigan, north of which neither Paleo-Indian artifacts nor Pleistocene fossil vertebrates have been found, is well presented.’


  • 1The Palaeo-Indian culture or period.

  • 2A member of the Palaeo-Indian peoples.

    • ‘This is exactly the time when humans (Paleo-Indians) colonized North America, and their arrival and skill as hunters at that time is documented by the appearance of artifacts.’
    • ‘About 11000 years ago Palaeo-Indians arrived in this area.’
    • ‘It was called so because the land which has become the state of Indiana, was once occupied by Paleo-Indians 10-12 thousand years ago.’
    • ‘Palaeo-Indians are defined by their use of a fluted style of spear point.’