Humans and carnivores at the Bluefish Cave II (northern Yukon): interpretation of the faunal remains

Author(s): Lauriane Bourgeon

Year: 2015


While research is still ongoing, the earliest date for the first modern humans in America is well accepted at 14,000 cal BP. Some archaeological sites propose a date prior to the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, however. This is the case of the Bluefish Caves which proposes a human presence in northern Yukon as early as 25,000 uncal BP. Here, approximately 18,000 bone specimens recovered from Cave II have been determined and examined under stereomicroscope. This zooarchaeological and taphonomic study reveals significant additional details about the broad faunal spectrum in the cave, the main agents responsible for the accumulation and modification of the bone assemblage, as well as the cultural activities performed at the site. The ungulate fauna is dominated by horse, bison, caribou and Dall sheep, mixed with some carnivores such as lion, wolf and smaller canids. The highly fragmented material is consistent with patterns of breakage and marrow extraction processed by humans. However, carnivore action is significant and indicates that carnivores played a major role in the modification of the assemblage. Overall, only a few traces can be attributed to human activities. The time, duration and ultimate role of human activity at the site is evaluated here.

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Humans and carnivores at the Bluefish Cave II (northern Yukon): interpretation of the faunal remains. Lauriane Bourgeon. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397459)

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Geographic Keywords
North America-Canada

Spatial Coverage

min long: -142.471; min lat: 42.033 ; max long: -47.725; max lat: 74.402 ;