Technological Complexities of the Peopling of Eastern Beringia

Author(s): Brian Wygal

Year: 2017


Alaska archaeologists continue to disagree on a unified culture history. The primary point of contention surrounds the presence or absence of microblade technology in central Alaska and the meaning of the Nenana and Denali complexes. While some interpret the former as a unique manifestation representing a separate migratory population, others disagree; and, the Denali complex has become a catchall category for a variety of artifact types leading to questions over its conceptual validity. This assessment tests specific questions pertinent to the relationship between prehistoric tool use and ecotones in an attempt to explain the presence or absence of particular artifact types and land use strategies through time. It also reflects on issues caused by repeated occupations, palimpsest assemblages, and other taphomonic processes that influence archaeological consensus. Results indicate separate phases in the initial colonization of Alaska and form a testable hypothesis based on functional land use properties associated with the Denali complex era in a way that distinguishes it from other early technologies in the region. The approach contributes to a longstanding discussion over subjectivity among archaeological categories and explains assemblage variability in eastern Beringia with widespread implications for interpreting the initial peopling of the Americas.

Cite this Record

Technological Complexities of the Peopling of Eastern Beringia. Brian Wygal. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429797)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15369