Early evidence of regional trade begins to appear during the Middle Archaic Period (6000-2000 BCE)

One of the earliest and most extensive exchange systems of the Middle Archaic Period is found along the Tennessee River and includes parts of northeast Mississippi. Caches of very large stone blades made from Fort Payne chert (a stone that occurs in what is now northwest Alabama) that were traded have been found in burials throughout this region (Johnson and Brookes 1989).

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