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Radiocarbon Chronology of Central Alaska: Technological Continuity and Economic Change

  • Ben A Potter (a1)
Abstract

This research presents the first comprehensive radiocarbon chronology for central Alaska, encompassing the late Pleistocene and Holocene archaeological record. Dated component distributions, comprised of 274 14C dates from 160 components, indicate changing land-use strategies and subsistence economies, reflecting primarily lowland exploitation of bison, wapiti, and birds prior to 6000 cal B P, followed by increasing caribou and fish exploitation and use of upland areas. Microblade technology is conserved from the earliest components to ~1000 cal B P, and this continuity is not reflected in current cultural history sequences. Using component abundance as a proxy for population, initial colonization is associated with climate amelioration after ~14,000 cal BP, and population declines are associated with the Younger Dryas (13,000–12,000 cal BP) and initial establishment of widespread spruce forests (10,000–9000 cal BP).

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