A Pre-Columbian North American Timeline Planning Thread

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Alexander Helios, Jun 15, 2019.

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Should I Write This Timeline?

Poll closed Jun 22, 2019.
  1. Yes!

    29 vote(s)
    93.5%
  2. No!

    2 vote(s)
    6.5%
  1. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    The Fremont Culture was related to the Proto-Puebloans. They were as far north as Great Salt Lake. With a better adapted crop package, you could see the development of statelets much further north.

    With this growth of agriculture into and past the Four Corners area, I have wondered about the development of a human variant of Hanta-virus. Maybe deer mice become acclimated to human granaries?
     
  2. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    The Fremont Culture are a little too late, but we will see civilizations arising in the Great Basin. Alongside crops from Oasisamerica, the cultivars of the Northeastern Agricultural Complex will also work great in the region.

    Won't spoil much, but yes, a human variant of hantavirus will develop earlier, though not necessarily in the Four Corners. There's about four different hantaviruses floating around in every section of the country, each with a different reservoir. Deer mice will certainly be a factor in the spread of disease, though we'll see a more deadly strain of the disease evolve that'll be similar to the Andes Virus in its spread.
     
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  3. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

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  4. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    We will see these developments take place, but considerably earlier than 700 CE. We'll see agriculture introduced into the region around the end of the Late Archaic, so around 1000 BC to 800 BC (depending on what region it diffuses from first). The Fremont Culture was likely intrusive from the Plains, fairly late into the game (I read somewhere they might have been the archaeological manifestation the Proto-Southern Athabaskans, but I think that hypothesis is dated by now) so they will be butterflied away.

    Most species of agave can grow as far North as Zone 8, but there's at least one species (Parry's agave) that can grow in Zone 5. The cultivar most extensively used by the Oasisamericans, agave murpheyi, is limited to south of Zone 8.

    Most yucca species grow as far north as Zone 7, but there are some plants bred to survive in climates as cold as Zone 4. I'm not too sure about specific breeds and their locations though.

    Saltgrass depends on the species, but the plant cultivated ITTL will be a hybrid of nipa grass and desert saltgrass. The former can grow in Zones 10 to 12, while the latter's northernmost location is Zone 7. I'd say that Zone 7 to Zone 12 will be the limits of saltgrass agriculture, possibly with more cold and/or heat resistant cultivars being developed later on.
     
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  5. Glory2Cabinda Well-Known Member

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    May 16, 2019
    What will the architecture of the new world look like in this timeline? I could see the Algonquins making large stylized stone longhouses for the elites. I could also see Mud brick architecture like the styles practiced in the Sudan and the Sahel in the Southwest.
     
  6. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    Longhouses weren't common among Algonquian tribes, and were likely diffused from surrounding Iroquoian peoples. Plus, it's probably not the best idea to build a giant stone longhouse. Proto-Algonquian houses seem to have been semi-subterranean, similar to the earth lodges built by a multitude of peoples throughout the continent. It's also telling that there's a reconstructed Proto-Algonquian word for earthwork.

    However, that doesn't mean that this will be the only architectural style either. Wetland agriculture and subterranean living structures don't really mix (with the exception of food storage purposes).

    On the side of large ceremonial structures, don't want to spoil too much, but an already existing (and prominent) architectural style will be diffused from our friends down in Louisiana. Naturally, this style will evolve, leading to some very cool structures further down the line. You'll have to read to find out. ;)
     
  7. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    As in OTL, Oasisamerica will be utilizing adobe bricks (though you aren't far off, as they technically are a type of mudbrick) for construction.
     
  8. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
    Tennessee, North American Union
    I'd have to dig it up again, but one source I found on the Numic expansion stated it was the mid-late 1st millennium AD rather than in BC times. Would be interesting to see more Hokan groups like the Washo, or even something like the Proto-Yokuts who came from the Great Basin, survive.

    I have no idea if its plausible, but "hunting goats" sounds like a crazy idea if its achievable. Imagine some pastoralist leading a few goats through the hills, and he stumbles on one or two of his goats harassing some bighorn sheep. That's a lot of free meat.

    While I have no doubt there were localised epidemics OTL, it seems a long way between that and getting some serious human-human transmission going. It seems like you'd get situations like cocolitzli (some theories) or OTL hantaviruses, where the spread is based on environmental conditions which doesn't result in sustained human-human transmission once said conditions go away. Maybe with an earlier POD than 600 BC, since it seems like you'd need more time to get those mutations. After all, dense populations in the Americas OTL (either indigenous or Euroamerican) didn't result in any deathly plague, which suggests they'd need more time to be dense, and the more time the better. But ultimately it is up to the writer, since the possibility is there. Definitely seems like you'd get alt-bubonic plague sorts of diseases.

    The interesting one is bird flu, which I'm honestly amazed there was no human-human strain in the Americas despite domesticated muscovy ducks (and plenty of populations hanging around waterfowl).
     
  9. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2017
    Unfortunately, hunting goats are probably impossible to achieve, since goats are herbivores, so they didn't have the need to evolve the traits to hunt animals.

    The majority of the diseases won't be transmitted via direct contact between humans, with notable (and deadly) exceptions.

    Also, I retconned the date of the POD back in July, with the definitive POD taking place early in the second millennium BC. Within that timeframe, we'll see more than a few mutations take place.

    Basically sums up why there were no deadly diseases in North America. Unfortunately we'll see denser populations much earlier in this timeline, so the possibility of a deadly disease emerging is almost confirmed in a situation like this.

    As in a deadly strain of yersinia pestis developing in the Americas, or a alternate disease with a similar death rate?

    We'll see a strain of avian influenza spread to the Natives ITTL, but not through Muscovy ducks, as they are poor vectors of disease.
     
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  10. Glory2Cabinda Well-Known Member

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    May 16, 2019
    So pyramids will be the main ceremonial structure style or will any others be made? And what will the average person live in what style's would develop their? Also what will native art look like in this timeline?
     
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  11. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2017
    All good questions, though I think I'll leave those answers for the TL itself. I don't think I'll be able to do the subject justice in a couple of sentences.
     
  12. Glory2Cabinda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2019
    I have basic knowledge when it comes to different architecture styles maybe I can help? also the timelines is still due for September? But over all I can't wait to dig into the culture of this people I want to know their cuisine fashion religion world view.
     
  13. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2017
    Of course! I'm open to suggestions, and it'll certainly be interesting to hear your thoughts on the matter.

    Yes, unless I kick the bucket.

    Well, I've got a lot to say in that regard, so hopefully I won't disappoint.
     
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  14. Glory2Cabinda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2019
    On architecture really depends on what area were talking about people mostly build with materials the can find locally and the climate people aren't going to make houses made for the tropics in New England. Does the group in question of any taboos or Preferences when it comes to building materials.
     
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  15. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2017
    There aren't really any taboos when it comes to housebuilding, but each region has their own preference for building materials, due to the surrounding environment. For example, the primary building material in the Lower Mississippi Valley will be the palmetto (to make wattle and daub huts), due to its abundance in the region.

    EDIT: To add this, birch bark will be heavily utilized by peoples (though it'll be mostly associated with Algonquian speakers) who lie within its range.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  16. Oldbill Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2015
    This looks really interesting! I'll throw out a few things for you.
    1. Back in 2011, I let my garden go fallow, and the Goosefoot grow. I grew a row for greens the year before, and the Goosefoot took over. In a roughly twenty by thirty plot, I harvested @ 5 lbs of unwinnowed seed. The seed is edible, but must be winnowed to get the shell containing saponin out.
    2. The NA populations made extensive use of nuts and nut trees. Black Walnut, Hickory Nut, Chestnut, etc etc. Nuts were an important source of food for them.
    3. Turkeys can be domesticated. If you rob a wild Turkey nest, preferably just before hatching, then keep them warm and allow them to hatch, you've got them. They imprint on the first being they see. That's an old family trick of mine, passed down over the generations.
    4. Bison domestication. Man, great if it can occur, but really, really difficult. They are just so damned big and dangerous. Some folks have them as pets now, but the wildness will take generations to breed out, and in the meantime, how do you keep those bison who AREN"T being domesticated? I've seen an Angus bull go to his knees, stick his nose under a barbed wire stock fence, and stand up. Took several fence posts out of the ground, fence flattened, and the reason why? That cow on the other side of the fence was looking so, so bovinely delicious! The same thing goes for trying to keep bison in the domestication pen from getting out. Some animals just aren't made for domestication, I'll be very interested in how you do this one.
    5. Metal working. Doable IMO. There is some evidence for it occurring IOTL IIRC. IOTL it was discovered, no reason this can't occur over here too.
    You've probably already discovered all this, as it's obvious you've put in a lot of time in researching it, so apologies in advance if so. I'll be waiting for this TL to take off, it looks good!
     
  17. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2017
    If I'm extrapolating correctly, an hectare of goosefoot would yield around 897 pounds of unwinnowed seed, which isn't too promising. With selective breeding and mutations we could see the yield increase to quinoa levels, though I don't think it'll be widely cultivated due to its its low productivity rate compared to other plants.

    Out of curiosity, did the goosefoot yield a good quantity of greens?

    They'll also be fairly important ITTL, especially during the Formative Period. Trees will be transplanted on the outskirts of settlements, to be gathered as a supplementary food source. In addition, a few nut trees will be domesticated, such as the pecan.

    That's a cool process. I'm having a separate domestication of the turkey occur in North America ITTL, so I might incorporate that into their origin story.

    It'll definitely be hard to justify, but I think I've created a plausible path to domestication. We also have an OTL example of an unlikely domestication, that of cattle being domesticated from aurochs.

    In OTL, metal working in North America was present since 4000 BCE, in the form of the Old Copper Complex. There's also this: https://drive.google.com/file/d/10sG5HjZ_PdT72gE89HI3dhx9YgloI0_e/view?usp=drivesdk

    No apology necessary. Thank you for all the tidbits, and I hope you'll enjoy my TL!
     
  18. Oldbill Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2015
    "Out of curiosity, did the goosefoot yield a good quantity of greens?"

    Not a huge amount, but you can pull them up when they are seedlings, wash them and eat them whole. Otherwise you can just keep eating the leaves as they grow until they finally die off. As they grow upward I would sometimes strip the lower, larger leaves from their midrib (as they get tough) and mainly take from the upper reaches of the plant. Obviously you don't take all of them from one plant, but if you've enough plants it doesn't matter unless you also want the seeds. These all grew from ONE volunteer plant from the gardens first year. Goosefoot is incredibly prolific seed wise. Just how the characteristics will change if someone takes the time to actually select next years seed on a careful analysis of seed amount and leaf quantity and quality is intriguing. I'm sure Maize started out just the same way.
     
  19. Glory2Cabinda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2019
    I don't think goose foot is much of a problem look at wild corn it's tiny. From what I have seen wild goosefoot produces many time more food then wild corn and with thousandth of years of selective breeding. Goose foot could be very advantages crop to cultivate maybe to the point of being the staple grain of people who do not live close enough to river to make rice paddies.
     
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  20. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    From what I've read, domesticated strains of pitseed goosefoot can have yields of 500 kg to 1000 kg. It's an average yield, but not the kind of plant that fosters civilizations. With selective breeding, we could see yields comparable to it's close relative, quinoa (3 tons/ha). In conclusion, it'll be a secondary grain crop, though I'd see a greater advantage in goosefoot being cultivated for its leaves. A good comparison would be spinach (another relative). It's seed would also be useful for animal fodder.

    There will be other crops that'll function to that end, though most of North America isn't particularly lacking in river systems.