Nomadic Lifestyles

Groups of hunters and gatherers needed to move every few days or weeks to continually find plants and animals to eat. Hunters would take their families to where large animals were killed, rather than try to move large animals such as mammoths to their existing campsite. Since these people moved around frequently, they didn't have permanent houses or dwellings like we do today. We don't know what their places of shelter looked like, but they were probably made from hides, sticks and/or brush.

We know that hunters and gatherers usually live in small family groups of 15-20 people. These groups would consist of extended families of related siblings and their children. If early hunters and gatherers lived in large groups they would have had to gather more plants and kill more animals to have enough food to feed everyone. Unlike a store that receives regular shipments of food, hunters and gatherers couldn't just place an order for more food, they would need to move to find more food. The larger the group was, the more food they would need and the more often they would have to move to find that food. This caused people to live in small groups for most of the year.

At certain times of the year, such as the summer, when food was more readily available, people may have gathered in larger groups. People probably would have socialized, traded and exchanged information.

Paleo people may have traveled for great distances each year and traded over even greater distances. Archaeologists can tell this by seeing how widely a particular point style is found or from how far away stone materials came. During Paleo times the Clovis point style is found from Alaska and the eastern United States to the southern tip of South America. This leads archaeologists to believe that Paleo people traveled and traded over long distances.

Artist's rendition of a Paleo shelter