According to archaeologists Michigan has been inhabited for at least twelve thousand years. This time is divided by them into four major eras:
- The Paleo-Indian Period from 10,000 BC to 8000 BC
- The Archaic Period from 8000 BC to 1000 BC
- The Woodland Period from 1000 BC to A.D. 1650
- The Contact Period from A.D. 1650 to A.D. 1830.
In the Contact Period the first Europeans appeared in the Great Lakes area.