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Seismic convulsions and shifting tectonic plates shoved mountains above the waters of ancient seas that reached north of Montgomery.
At one time, Alabama was home to 180 different species of mussels, accounting for two-thirds of all species found in North America, as well as 83 species of crayfish, the most of any state.
As both agriculture and then heavy manufacturing declined, and as Birmingham and Montgomery were paralyzed by racial conflict, the state lost its long challenge to lead the "New South" into modernization and national leadership.
Decades of decline and decay finally gave way to renewal in the last quarter of the twentieth century.
The Indians of the Archaic period, which followed between 10,500 and 3,000 years ago, bequeathed a much denser collection of tools and weapons.
They continued to gather nuts, wild fruits, and berries and hunted bear, bison, deer, and other large animals, but they also lived among larger kinship groups, inhabited bluff shelters, and migrated in seasonal moves from those shelters in winter to encampments along lowland rivers in springtime.