Iyatayet Revisited: Oh Giddings, what have you done?


This paper presents the results of our reinvestigation of Iyatayet, a multicomponent mid-late Holocene site located in northwest Alaska. Iyatayet is well known as the type site for both the Denbigh Flint Complex and the Norton Tradition in Alaska. Originally, excavated by J. L. Giddings from 1948-1952, this national historic landmark was retested in 2012 and 2013 to assess site condition, threats and disturbances, its current research potential, and to re-evaluate Giddings’ interpretations by collecting samples using modern excavation methods. Our team mapped the site using a total station, excavated a series of controlled shovel tests to ascertain the extent of Giddings activities, and placed seven 1x1-meter tests in key areas to ground truth Giddings work and to fill in missing data deemed unessential at the time. One of our major revelations is that little is left of the Denbigh occupation, but Norton deposits are well preserved. Additionally, this work allowed us to update the site chronology using AMS radiocarbon dating methods on twelve organic samples. Collection of over 10,000 artifacts including, stone tools, obsidian flakes, microdebitage, ceramic sherds, organic tools and faunal remains allow for us to confirm some of Giddings original assertions and to refine others.

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Cite this Record

Iyatayet Revisited: Oh Giddings, what have you done?. Andrew Tremayne, John Darwent, Christyann Darwent, Kelly Eldridge. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395748)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -178.41; min lat: 62.104 ; max long: 178.77; max lat: 83.52 ;