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Testing Potential Archaeological Applications for Surficial Magnetic Susceptibility Probes in Shallow Depositional Environments: A Study from Agiak Lake in Alaska’s Brooks Range

Author(s): Joseph Keeney ; Robert Bowman

Year: 2017

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Summary

Magnetic susceptibility (MS) is the measure of a material’s potential to hold a magnetic field, the variation of which can indicate anthropogenic forces acting upon a substrate. In Alaska, diachronic MS analyses have been useful when investigating environmental change and anthropogenic variation through time in deeply-stratified subarctic interior sites. Synchronic MS approaches, on the other hand, use surficial MS probe mapping to analyze contemporaneous variation across space and can reveal shallow-buried cultural areas and features. Despite successful reports from European studies, synchronic MS approaches are virtually absent in the North American literature, especially from Alaska. This pilot study investigated surficial MS probing’s potential as an efficient and less-destructive means for identifying past human activity areas and features within shallow depositional contexts such as those typical of Arctic Alaska. We selected Agiak Lake in Alaska’s central Brooks Range for its expansive and well-documented mid-Holocene tent ring complexes and shallow depositional environment. Through the process of MS mapping and multiple means of verification, we were able to confirm anthropogenic signals related to the known features, identify multiple undocumented features within and away from visually-identifiable ones, and examine a potential method for assessing culturally-significant relationships between intra-site features.


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Testing Potential Archaeological Applications for Surficial Magnetic Susceptibility Probes in Shallow Depositional Environments: A Study from Agiak Lake in Alaska’s Brooks Range. Joseph Keeney, Robert Bowman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430429)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16351

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