Blood Protein Residues on Lithic Artifacts from Two Archaeological Sites in the De Long Mountains, Northwestern Alaska


  • S. Craig Gerlach
  • Margaret Newman
  • Edward J. Knell
  • Edwin S. Hall



Northwest Alaska, De Long Mountains, blood residue analysis, crossover electrophoresis, stone tools, forensics


Immunological analysis of blood residues was performed on 25 lithic artifacts from two archaeological sites (DEL-166 and DEL-168) in the De Long Mountains of northwestern Alaska. Blood residues occur on five artifact types: retouched flakes; end scrapers; flake burins; bifaces; and wedge-shaped microblade cores. Fourteen (56%) of the 25 analyzed artifacts react positively to six animal antisera and to human blood. Besides human blood, identified residues include the blood of sturgeon (Acipenseridae), deer (Cervidae), rabbit (Leporidae), bear (Ursus), "cat" (Felidae) and "mouse" (Rodentia). Although the application of blood residue analysis to archaeological problems is a relatively new application of an old forensic method, it may provide useful information about artifact function and animal procurement from sites where faunal remains are not preserved.