We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

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

Series: Peopling of the Americas Publications Series

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (380.5 KB)
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 . . .

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (180.2 KB)
p. xi-xi

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

read more

1. Introducing the Archaeological Record of Beringia

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.7 MB)
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

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
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. . . .

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 47-57

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

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.7 MB)
pp. 58-74

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

read more

5. Identifying Pressure Flaking Modes at Diuktai Cave:

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.4 MB)
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. . . .

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.5 MB)
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

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
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 . . .

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.6 MB)
pp. 128-164

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

read more

9. Assemblage Variability in Beringia: The Mesa Factor

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
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 . . .

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
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 . . .

read more

11. Residue Analysis of Bone-Fueled Pleistocene Hearths

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.0 MB)
pp. 192-198

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

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
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 . . .

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 215-233

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

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.0 MB)
pp. 234-254

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

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
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 . . .

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
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

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.0 MB)
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 . . .

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 308-322

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

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
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

read more

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (847.4 KB)
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 . . .

read more

21. Arrows, Atlatls, and Cultural-Historical Conundrums

pdf iconDownload PDF (607.4 KB)
pp. 362-369

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


pdf iconDownload PDF (380.4 KB)
pp. 371-372


pdf iconDownload PDF (533.3 KB)
pp. 373-394

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (7.7 MB)

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


UPCC logo

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.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access