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Preliminary Insights into Prehistoric Toolstone Preference of Two Igneous Materials in the Tanana River Drainage, Interior Alaska

Author(s): Brooks Lawler

Year: 2017

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Summary

This project examines prehistoric human mobility and raw material preference for tool manufacture in the Tanana River Drainage, Interior Alaska. A geographic approach is used to investigate the distribution of prehistoric obsidian and rhyolitic artifacts in relation to the sources of these materials. The objective of the investigation is to reveal spatial patterning in the distributions of artifacts made of these two materials, relative to each other and relative to the cost of obtaining these raw materials from their sources on the landscape. My initial hypothesis based in human behavioral ecology and optimal foraging theory, stated if prehistoric hunter-gatherers acted to optimize their energy expenditure they could be expected to favor raw materials with the lowest cost of acquisition. The frequencies of different raw material types are examined for thirty-five sites with artifact assemblages that have identified source groups. Those frequencies are compared with geographic information systems models of travel cost. The results of the analysis suggest that the hypothesis does not represent a complete picture of prehistoric human behavior. A more realistic model of human behavior was hypothesized from additional analyses, such that prehistoric hunter-gatherers may have exploited certain material opportunistically and seasonally.


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Cite this Record

Preliminary Insights into Prehistoric Toolstone Preference of Two Igneous Materials in the Tanana River Drainage, Interior Alaska. Brooks Lawler. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429328)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Arctic


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16460

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America