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From the Yenisei to the Yukon

Interpreting Lithic Assemblage Variability in Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Beringia

Edited by Ted Goebel and Ian Buvit

Publication Year: 2011

Who were the first people who came to the land bridge joining northeastern Asia to Alaska and the northwest of North America? Where did they come from? How did they organize technology, especially in the context of settlement behavior?     During the Pleistocene era, the people now known as Beringians dispersed across the varied landscapes of late-glacial northeast Asia and northwest North America.   The twenty chapters gathered in this volume explore, in addition to the questions posed above, how Beringians adapted in response to climate and environmental changes. They share a focus on the significance of the modern-human inhabitants of the region. By examining and analyzing lithic artifacts, geoarchaeological evidence, zooarchaeological data, and archaeological features, these studies offer important interpretations of the variability to be found in the early material culture the first Beringians.   The scholars contributing to this work consider the region from Lake Baikal in the west to southern British Columbia in the east. Through a technological-organization approach, this volume permits investigation of the evolutionary process of adaptation as well as the historical processes of migration and cultural transmission. The result is a closer understanding of how humans adapted to the diverse and unique conditions of the late Pleistocene.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

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Preface

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p. ix-ix

The year 2009 marked the fiftieth anniversary of David M. Hopkins’s seminal paper “Cenozoic History of the Bering Land Bridge,” published in the journal Science in 1959. Besides synthesizing . . .

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Acknowledgments

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p. xi-xi

The editors wish to thank the International Quater nary Association, U.S. National Science Foundation Arctic Social Sciences Program, and Center . . .

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1. Introducing the Archaeological Record of Beringia

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pp. 1-30

The central theme of this book is the Pleistocene archaeology of extreme northeast Asia and northwest North America, the area that during the late Pleistocene made up the Bering Land Bridge. Most of the . . .

Part I. Upper Paleolithic Siberia and Western Beringia

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2. On Late Upper Paleolithic Variability in South-Central Siberia: Rethinking the Afontova

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pp. 33-46

One of the major themes in the study of Beringian lithic variability is the relationship between the Nenana and Denali complexes in central Alaska. . . .

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3. Last Glacial Maximum Human Populations in the Southwest Transbaikal, Southern Siberia

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pp. 47-57

Models of human populations across Siberia during the last glacial maximum (LGM) are traditionally based on numbers of radiocarbon- dated . . .

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4. Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic Technological Variability in the Lower Vitim Valley, Eastern Siberia

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pp. 58-74

Recently, archaeologists in eastern Siberia have become increasingly interested in the archaeological record of the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary, . . .

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5. Identifying Pressure Flaking Modes at Diuktai Cave:

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pp. 75-90

Pressure flaking to produce microblades was first identified in Siberia by J. Flenniken (1987) and has been suggested for most of the Paleolithic microblade material from northeast Asia and North America. . . .

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6. Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Cultures of Beringia: The General and the Specifi c 91

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pp. 91-116

Researchers began discussing the common origin of the peoples of northeast Asia and Alaska when the latter was discovered and even earlier— . . .

Part II. Late Glacial Technologies of Eastern Beringia

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7. The Earliest Alaskan Archaeological Record: A View from Siberia 119

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pp. 119-127

The evidence from Alaska is of crucial importance for the study of the peopling of the New World. Speculation continues concerning several . . .

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8. Functional Variability in the Late Pleistocene Archaeological Record of Eastern Beringia: A Model of Late Pleistocene Land Use and Technology from Northwest Alaska

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pp. 128-164

Archaeologists working in eastern Beringia acknowledge a considerable degree of variability in the archaeological record of the region at the end . . .

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9. Assemblage Variability in Beringia: The Mesa Factor

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pp. 165-178

One decade into the twenty- first century, Beringia remains something of a Third World province for archaeologists. Researchers continue to struggle with the cultural chronology and other basic . . .

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10. The Beringian and Transitional Periods in Alaska: Technology of the East Beringian Tradition as Viewed from Swan Point

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pp. 179-191

Swan Point provides an opportunity to study a Beringian- age archaeological assemblage deep in the interior of Alaska. The site is located in the . . .

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11. Residue Analysis of Bone-Fueled Pleistocene Hearths

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pp. 192-198

Bone- fueled hearths are described in the ethnographic and archaeological literature. Experimental burns with bone, dung, and bone- dung reproduce unique . . .

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12. What Is the Nenana Complex? Raw Material Procurement and Technological Organization at Walker Road, Central Alaska

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pp. 199-214

Studies of lithic artifact variability in Beringia have traditionally focused on typological descriptions and interassemblage comparisons, the goals of which have been to define complexes, traditions, or . . .

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13. Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Assemblage Variability in Central Alaska

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pp. 215-233

Current interpretations of late Pleistocene and early Holocene (14,000– 7000 cal BP) assemblage variability in central Alaska rely on traditional . . .

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14. The Microblade/ Non-Microblade Dichotomy: Climatic Implications, Toolkit Variability, and the Role of Tiny Tools in Eastern Beringia

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pp. 234-254

The earliest known lithic technology in eastern Beringia involved the systematic production of microblades, and microblade industries have . . .

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15. Microblade Assemblages in Southwestern Alaska: An Early Holocene Adaptation: An Early Holocene Adaptation

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pp. 255-269

Three sites with microblade assemblages—Nukluk Mountain, Ilnuk, and Lime Hills Cave (figure 15.1)—provide insights into the culture of those . . .

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16. Gaining Momentum: Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Archaeological Obsidian Source Studies Studies in Interior and Northeastern Beringia

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pp. 270-286

For decades archaeologists have recognized the remarkable value of obsidian for understanding human mobility, migration, exchange networks, . . .

Part III. Perspectives from Northwest Canada

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17. Chindadn in Canada? Emergent Evidence of the Pleistocene Transition in Southeast Beringia as Revealed by the Little John Site, Yukon

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pp. 289-307

The Little John site (Borden KdVo- 6) is located 12 km north of the village of Beaver Creek, Yukon, about 2 km from the international border with Alaska (figure 17.1). It occupies most of the higher . . .

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18. Geoarchaeological and Zooarchaeological Correlates of Early Beringian Artifact Assemblages: Insights from the Little John Site, Yukon

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pp. 308-322

Although numerous attempts have been made to assess temporal variation in early Beringian sites and assemblages, comparatively little . . .

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19. Function, Visibility, and Interpretation of Archaeological Assemblages at the Pleistocene/ Holocene Transition in Haida Gwaii

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pp. 323-342

Investigations in the south of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia) have identified several archaeological sites dating to the Pleistocene/ Holocene transition (figure 19.1). The earliest evidence . . .

IV. Synthesis: Explaining Assemblage Variability from the Yenisei to the Yukon

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20. Technology, Typology, and Subsistence: A Partly Contrarian Look at the Peopling of Beringia

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pp. 345-361

Acceptable evidence for the peopling of Beringia before 12,000 14C BP (14,000 cal BP) involves microblades and wedge- shaped microcores that . . .

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21. Arrows, Atlatls, and Cultural-Historical Conundrums

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pp. 362-369

The chapters in this volume present technological analyses, replicative experimentation, environmental interpretations, and new discoveries . . .

Contributors

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pp. 371-372

Index

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pp. 373-394

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781603443845
E-ISBN-10: 1603443843
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603443210
Print-ISBN-10: 1603443215

Page Count: 416
Illustrations: 35 b&w photos. 28 maps. 73 line art. 57 figs. 44 tables.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Peopling of the Americas Publications Series

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Paleoecology -- Russia (Federation) -- Siberia.
  • Pleistocene-Holocene boundary.
  • Paleoecology -- Alaska.
  • Stone implements -- Bering Land Bridge.
  • Prehistoric peoples -- Bering Land Bridge -- Migrations.
  • Antiquities, Prehistoric -- Bering Land Bridge.
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