Prehistoric Landscape Use in the Upper Susitna Basin

Author(s): John Blong

Year: 2017


This paper presents the geomorphological and paleovegetation record of the upper Susitna River basin in the central Alaska Range, and discusses late Pleistocene and Holocene landscape and vegetation change and how this affected human use of this upland landscape. Geomorphological data suggest that the last significant glacial ice sheet covering the upper Susitna basin receded by 14,000-13,000 cal BP. Following deglaciation, there is evidence for high-energy aeolian activity spanning the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. There are at least three Holocene tephra falls recognized in the upper Susitna basin. Initial human occupation occurred by 11,000-10,500 cal BP, at least 2000 years after the end of full glacial conditions, and 1000 years after first evidence of landscape recovery. Initial early Holocene use appears to have been ephemeral, but human activity in the study area intensified in the middle and late Holocene as modern vegetation patterns were established. There are preliminary indications that vegetation may have been affected by Holocene tephra fall. There is evidence for a hiatus in human occupation of the upper Susitna region during the middle Holocene, but it is unclear whether this was directly related to tephra deposition, or broader climate instability during the Neoglacial Period.

Cite this Record

Prehistoric Landscape Use in the Upper Susitna Basin. John Blong. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430494)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17337