DIVERSIFICATION OF SUBSISTENCE TECHNOLOGY
From: The Archaeology of North Central Ontario, Prehistoric Cultures North of Superior , 1979, Ont. Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport (name of current ministry 2012)
Warmer, drier climatic conditions and changes in the distribution of large game and plant communities beginning about 5000 BC stimulated a shift in subsistence orientation to exploitation of small game and plant resources. Corresponding changes in the artifact assemblage included a reduction in the size of projectile points and the appearance of a fishing technology.
Two Archaic cultures have been recognized in Northern Ontario. The people of the Shield Archaic culture appear to be descended from the Plano people, and were indigenous to the boreal forest zone, north of Lake Superior. To the west, in the Lake of the Woods - Quetico area, there is evidence of a different culture more closely related to the Archaic cultures of the Plains. These Plains Archaic peoples appear to have entered the area in conjunction with an eastward movement of prairie-grasslands out of Manitoba and Minnesota.
Perhaps the most important development of the Archaic in the Lake Superior region was the appearance of a new industry: the production of tools from native copper found on the shores of Lake Superior. Although this represents some of the earliest metal-working in the world, the Archaic peoples of Lake Superior were not the earliest metallurgists int eh true sense of the word. Their tools were manufactured by heating and hammering copper into shape, not by casting as was done in other parts of the world. There is evidence that copper tools were being traded widely across eastern North America at this early period.