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AQUATIC ADAPTATIONS AND THE ADOPTION OF ARCTIC POTTERY TECHNOLOGY: RESULTS OF RESIDUE ANALYSIS

  • Shelby L. Anderson (a1), Shannon Tushingham (a2) and Tammy Y. Buonasera (a3)
Abstract

The late adoption of pottery technology in the North American Arctic between 2,500 and 2,800 years ago coincides with the development of a specialized maritime economy. Arctic pottery technologies present an excellent case study for examining possible correlations between hunter-gatherer pottery and aquatic resource use. Review of the timing and distribution of early pottery in Alaska shows that early pottery is rare and dates at the earliest to 2,500 years ago; the earliest pottery is found in small numbers and primarily in coastal areas. Despite expectations that pottery use would be strongly linked to marine lipids, biomarkers and compound-specific δ13C values of 20 sherds from the Cape Krusenstern site complex, dating from 2700 to 200 cal B.P. years ago, are most consistent with freshwater aquatic resources; mixtures of freshwater aquatic, marine aquatic, and terrestrial resources are also possible. While additional analysis of a larger sample and zooarchaeological reference specimens is necessary, our study suggests that the development of pottery production by Arctic peoples is more complex than previously appreciated. This research is the first synthesis in over 30 years of early pottery in Alaska and is the first to include residue analysis of a small sample of pre-1500 B.P. pottery.

La adopción tardía de la cerámica en el Ártico norteamericano entre 2500 y 2800 a.P. coincide con el desarrollo de una economía marítima especializada. Las tecnologías cerámicas del Ártico presentan un excelente estudio de caso para examinar las posibles correlaciones entre la adopción de la cerámica entre los cazadores-recolectores y el uso de recursos acuáticos. Una revisión de la temporalidad y distribución de la cerámica temprana en Alaska demuestra que ésta es poco común y apareció después de 2500 a.P.; la cerámica más antigua se encuentra en pequeñas cantidades y principalmente en las zonas costeras. A pesar de la expectativa que el uso de cerámica estaría fuertemente ligado a los lípidos marinos, los biomarcadores y los valores de δ13C de compuestos específicos en 20 tiestos fechados entre 2700 y 200 años cal a.P. y procedentes del complejo del sitio de Cape Krusenstern son más consistentes con el uso de recursos de agua dulce. También es posible que reflejen una mezcla de recursos de agua dulce, marinos y terrestres. Aunque son necesarios análisis adicionales de muestras más grandes y de especímenes de referencia zooarqueológica, nuestro estudio sugiere que el desarrollo de la producción de la cerámica por los pueblos árticos es más complejo de lo que se pensaba. Esta investigación es la primera síntesis en más de 30 años de la cerámica temprana en Alaska y también es la primera en incluir el análisis de residuos de una pequeña muestra de cerámica anterior a 1500 a.P.

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(ashelby@pdx.edu: corresponding author)
References
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