The Paleoindian Database of the Americas



Paleoindian Database of the Americas

The Paleoindian Database of the Americas (PIDBA) provides locational, attribute, and image data on Paleoindian materials (>ca. 10,000 cal yr BP) from all across the Americas. Making this information available represents a voluntary effort on the part of many individuals across the Americas. We encourage all those interested in helping build this database to submit information in hard copy or electronic form. All data and contributors will be fully referenced and acknowledged. Send information or inquiries to any of the individuals on the project contact list.

As of mid-2009, PIDBA contains locational data on nearly 30,000 projectile points, attribute data on over 15,000 artifacts, and image data on over 6,000 points from across North America (Anderson et al. 2009). PIDBA grows through the contribution of primary data, and recent additions include radiometric and bibliographic databases, and updated distributional maps. Ongoing research is directed to adding images of artifacts, and compiling the attribute data into a single comprehensive database. The posted data has been compiled from publications and from a number of research projects, which are explicitly acknowledged and referenced. Artifact data are posted by the locality where they were found, typically by country and/or internal political subdivisions as necessary to make locating information easy.

The PIDBA dataset allows researchers to examine the distribution of artifacts at varying scales of resolution. Currently the locational data that is posted and available for mapping purposes is based on county, parish, or other political unit centroids in the United States, Mexico, and portions of Canada. In portions of western Canada, the centroids of Borden recording grid cells are also employed. While more specific locational data is available from some of the material that has been recorded, and a site database is currently under development, this information is not posted, primarily to ensure the locations remain secure. For the same reason, curation information is restricted to materials in public repositories. While the names of owners of material in private hands are recorded, they are not posted.

These data have been used to document patterns of land and lithic raw material use, and the changes in numbers of artifacts over time may reflect demographic trends within the Paleoindian period. Distributional maps produced using PIDBA data, many of which produced by the PIDBA project team are also posted, can be used to suggest where past peoples were located on the landscape and in what incidence. These maps suggest that some areas were clearly favored, while others were apparently avoided. Complicating analyses, however, are problems of sample bias and representativeness, which is influenced by factors such as the extent of prior collection and recording activity, the extent of agricultural or other land clearing, and many other factors. Thus, while fluted projectile point forms are widely reported, later Paleoindian and Early Archaic types are unevenly reported or ignored altogether. Gaps in coverage conforming to state outlines are the most obvious examples of this bias. It is hoped as more people contribute data these problems will diminish over time.

The information posted on this web site replaces and represents a marked expansion of our earlier North American Paleoindian Projectile Point Database (Anderson 1990; Anderson and Faught 1998, 2000; Faught et al. 1994). That database provided summary data on the occurrence of Paleoindian projectile points by state and county within the United States. In the early 2000s the database was expanded to include Canada and Mexico, and in 2005 it was expanded to encompass all of the Americas. We particularly encourage our colleagues in Latin America to contribute to this effort.

This web site is a work in progress, and we plan to continue to expand the content in the weeks, months, and years to come. The more information compiled, the more useful the contents. Database development represents a cooperative effort between many people. We thank all those who have participated, and welcome and encourage comments.

-David G. Anderson


References Cited
Anderson, David G.
1990 A North American Paleoindian Projectile Point Database. Current Research in the Pleistocene 7:67–69.

Anderson, David G., and Michael K. Faught
1998 The Distribution of Fluted Paleoindian Projectile Points: Update 1998. Archaeology of Eastern North America 26:163–187.
2000 Paleoindian Artifact Distributions: Evidence and Implications. Antiquity 74:507-513.

Anderson, David G., D. Shane Miller, Derek T. Anderson, Stephen J. Yerka, J. Christopher Gillam, Erik N. Johanson, and Ashley Smallwood
2009 Paleoindians in North America: Evidence from PIDBA (Paleoindian Database of the Americas. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Atlanta, Georgia, 24 April 2009. (.pdf)

Faught, Michael K., David G. Anderson, and Anne Gisiger
1994 North American Paleoindian Database—An Update. Current Research in the Pleistocene 11:32–35.

We wish to thank the many individuals at the state and local levels who have sent us primary data down through the years: Daniel S. Amick, Tony Baker, Tyler Bastian, Jonathan E. Bowen, Mark J. Brooks, David S. Brose, John B. Broster, Tommy Charles, Mark Cole, Leslie B. Davis, R. P. Stephen Davis, B. D. Dillon, James S. Dunbar, Chris Ellis, Jon Erlandson, Meten Eren, James P. Fenton, Gary Fogelman, Eugene Futato, William M. Gardner, J. Christopher Gillam, Jason Gillespie, Albert C. Goodyear III, R. Michael Gramly, Robert S. Grumet, Daniel K. Higginbottom, Jack L. Hofman, John D. Holland, Steve Holen, Wm Jack Hranicky, Charles Hubbert, Bruce B. Huckell, Michael F. Johnson, Scott Jones, Jack Ives, Richard Kilborn, Howard King, Van King, Brad Koldehoff, R. Jerald Ledbetter, Bradley T. Lepper, Phil LeTourneau, Tom Loebel, Neal Lopinot, Martin Magne, Sam McGahey, David J. Meltzer, Juliet E. Morrow, Toby Morrow, Dan F. Morse, Mark Norton, Lisa D. O'Steen, Olaf Prufer, Philip "Duke" Rivet, Arthur E. Spiess, Eugene Stewart, Kenneth B. Tankersley, Amanda Taylor, Gene L. Titmus, William Topping, Sam Wills, Andy White, Robert G. Whitlam, Ellis Whitt, James C. Woods, Henry T. Wright, and Bryan Wygal. We apologize for anyone we have missed.




The University of Tennessee Department of Anthropology· Knoxville Tennessee 37996 · Telephone 865-974-4408