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  Paths to the Past    
Paths to the Past
Telling Time
What Do You Know?
Navigating the Site
Negative painted water bottle, Fulton County.
There are many paths to the past. One path is history. History is defined as a written narrative of events relating to a particular person, people, country, or period. But what about the time before writing? Most Native American cultures did not use writing to record history until the 19th century.

But like all peoples of the world at one time, Native Americans relied on oral traditions "stories" to communicate their history and to teach their way of life. This is also a path to the past. Ancient oral traditions survive today and provide us with valuable information about the past. Only a few oral histories teach us about the day-to-day life of ancient peoples or that provide details about the development of Native American cultures.

Another path to the past is the science of archaeology. Archaeology is the systematic study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other such remains. Archaeology is the careful, methodical study of human life, through excavation of places where humans once lived and left artifacts which can be found today.


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