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Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Alaska: Placing Archaeological Data on Projected Paleoecological Landscapes

Author(s): Philip Fisher

Year: 2017

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Understanding ecological responses to climate change are essential before inferences can be made regarding past culture change and human adaptation to the environment. This study focuses on modeling the paleoecology of central Alaska at the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition using predictive modeling. Quadratic Discriminant Analysis is used to determine which modern climate variables, including minimum and maximum temperature and precipitation, as well as topographic data, best predict modern vegetation land coverage. This method is then applied to the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition in Alaska to predict and project the boundaries of ancient plant communities by altering the climate variables to estimates based on proxy data. This study focuses on three climatically defined chronozones: the Bølling-Allerød interstadial, the Younger Dryas stadial, and the Holocene Thermal Maximum. The purpose of this study is twofold: 1) to use predictive modeling to assess the sensitivity of central Alaska’s ecology at the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition to climate change and to infer what these ecological shifts entailed; and 2) to examine how changes in the lithic technological organization at archaeological sites comprised of the Nenana and Denali artifact complexes correlate to areas with predicted ecological perturbations.

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Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Alaska: Placing Archaeological Data on Projected Paleoecological Landscapes. Philip Fisher. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430713)


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): 17135

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