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The fertile valleys of Tennessee and Kentucky present more convincing evidence of having been occupied by a great number of tribes, at different times, than does any other section of the southeastern United States. Many of the tribes differed in manners and customs, as indicated by the great variety of archeological material recovered front the innumerable sites.
During the migratory movements as theoretically expressed on the maps, the present States of Tennessee and Kentucky were crossed and re-crossed by many tribes, representing the historic Siouan, Uchean, Iroquoian, and Muskhogean stocks, while probably at an early time, and certainly at a later day, Algonquian tribes frequented the same region. The archeologist of the future may be able to differentiate the material recovered from the scattered sites, and thereby determine the sequence of the tribal movements.
If the theory that the Iroquoian tribes formerly occupied the Ozark region and later crossed to the left bank of the Mississippi is accepted, it is assumed that some traversed the western and central portions of the present State of Tennessee before pushing northward. By so doing they would have displaced the earlier inhabitants of the country, undoubtedly proto-Muskhogean tribes.
Many Muskhogean migration legends refer to the coming of the people from the west, and it is possible that the removal of some of the tribes into the trans-Mississippi region was contemporaneous with the movement of the Iroquoian peoples into the same country farther north, nearer the Ohio. Possibly some of the earlier tribes became absorbed by the Muskhogean peoples, while others moved eastward to the mountains or beyond. The Timucua group, preceded by the Calusa, of whom so little is known, may at this time have reached the peninsula of Florida. The last two are now considered with the proto-Muskhogean peoples.