Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Mexico Peru Conquistadors Amazonia North America
Start the Adventure
Timeline
Journal
What do you Think
Teaching Guide
About the Site
Sponsored by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations
The First Americans
The Land Bridge

Over 40,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age, the ocean level dropped because all the water was locked in glaciers. As a result, the Bering Sea between Asia and North America dried up and became a 1,000-mile-wide tundra land "bridge" between the two continents (more than twice the size of Texas). About 12,000 years ago, when the climate warmed up, the glaciers began melting, and the early people could make their way further south between the mountains of ice.

The Paleo-Indians

The Paleo-Indians ("paleo" is from a Greek word meaning "old") crossed the land bridge and, over time, spread out over the entire American continent…all the way down to southern Chile. At first, they hunted wild animals for food and clothing, including the woolly mammoth. The Paleo-Indians used tools and weapons made of bone and stone.   [more]