First Settlers

Nomadic Paleo hunters were first humans in the French Broad watershed

Migrating from the Great Valley in Tennessee 14,000 years ago, Paleo people were the first humans to be sustained by the watershed. Though they made no camps, archaeologists find their spear points and chips where they were made near outcrops of quartzite and chert.

With one basketful of earth at a time prehistoric people built ceremonial mounds throughout the watershed. Among the most interesting is the mound inside Biltmore Estate’s gates in Asheville. There in 590AD Archaic people prayed for a good harvest during the summer solstice.

Major prehistoric mounds

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