Exploratory Models of Intersite Variability in Mid to Late Holocene Central Alaska

  • B.A. Potter
Keywords: Alaska, intersite variability, microblade technology, bison extirpation, Subarctic prehistory, subsistence economy, land-use strategies, Holocene


IInterrelated aspects of technology, site structure, and subsistence patterns in central Alaska are synthesized using a comprehensive database of radiocarbon-dated components. Microblade technology is examined with respect to broad patterns of technology, settlement, and subsistence. Striking changes in the archaeological record during the Late Holocene (~1000 cal BP), including the loss of microblades, are explored through three general models: technological and economic change within existing populations, population replacement or assimilation, and taphonomic bias. The evidence most strongly supports the first: a shift from multiseasonal large mammal hunting strategies with associated high residential mobility to exploitation of seasonally overabundant resources (caribou, fish) and increased logistical mobility and reliance on storage.