Chelsey Paige tackles the issue of when these artifacts were originally created. Pre-Columbian artifacts are acknowledged as materials created by the Indigenous peoples of the Americas prior to European contact. This period spans thousands of years and many diverse cultures. She stresses that for art history purposes, historians rely on visual features and excavation records to date these pieces. For the case of the George and Louise Patten collection of Salem Hyde papers and cultural artifacts, she notes that the emphasis is on assigning the artifacts with ancient cultures, rather than specific dates. While this may seem unconventional for historians, art historians are building a timeline around periods and movements in art in relation to the political and artistic traditions associated with these cultures. Especially when working with pre-Columbian artifacts that present many limitations with lack of written documents, it is important to construct a loose timeline that is built around cultural periods rather than specific years.

Pre-Columbian ceramic figure adorned with an ornate collar, ear pieces, and headress with depicted horns. The figure is holding a ball of some sort at its waist over clothing. Behind the human figure is a large horizontally ridged structure that looks as if it was larger at some point but has been broken off making it into a more diamond shape.