A Thousand Years of Bone-Tool Production at Shaktoolik, Alaska


Osseous tools and debitage collected from three middens at the Shaktoolik Airport site during excavations in the summers of 2014 and 2015 were analyzed using the chaîne opératoire rather than a typological approach to assess site use over time. Relative frequencies of raw materials, tool types, and production debris were analyzed from different periods. The Early Thule/Proto-Yup’ik portion (ca. AD 1200) of the assemblage came from a midden associated with a men’s house (qasgiq), and is characterized by high relative frequencies of specialized tools production debris. Samples from later midden deposits had considerably less manufacturing debris than the men’s house. Midden samples from Late Thule/Proto-Yup’ik (ca. AD 1400-1600) are lacking in sea-mammal bone as a raw material but have a high relative frequency of caribou bone and antler. However, Late Prehistoric Yup’ik samples (ca. 1700-1800) have high frequencies of sea-mammal bone for tool production. This difference was initially hypothesized to be the result of climatic changes, but more likely is due to differences in the season of occupation. The Historic Iñupiaq midden sample has a lack of hunting/fishing tools but presence of more exotic materials and non-utilitarian objects, which is likely associated with Russian-American contact.

Cite this Record

A Thousand Years of Bone-Tool Production at Shaktoolik, Alaska. Katie McHugh Bonham, Christyann M. Darwent, John Darwent. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429575)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16861