Beringian Landscapes and Human Responses in the Middle Tanana Valley, Alaska


The middle Tanana Valley of interior Alaska, an unglaciated region of Eastern Beringia, holds a high-resolution record of human-environment interaction that extends over 14,000 years. The Late Glacial and early Holocene landscapes of this region were dynamic with considerable ecological restructuring. Aeolian deposits accumulated in lowland areas and adjacent foothills at relatively high rates, soils were relatively underdeveloped, river down-cutting prevailed across the valley, and wild fires were common. These disturbance regimes and periods of landscape instability fostered a wide expanse of early- to mid-successional mixed vegetation communities that included herbaceous tundra, shrubs and deciduous trees, key habitats for large grazers and browsers that were significant resources for early hunter-gatherer populations.

Major environmental transitions occurred in the region as the Holocene climate warmed and effective moisture increased, including the spread of boreal forests and peat lands, an expansion of lake development, and intensified landscape stability. These transitions introduced changes to the extent of habitat and seasonal availability of mammal and aquatic food resources. We discuss broad human responses to these environmental shifts in this region from the late Pleistocene through the later Holocene.

Cite this Record

Beringian Landscapes and Human Responses in the Middle Tanana Valley, Alaska. Joshua Reuther, Ben Potter, Nancy Bigelow, Charles Holmes, Francois Lanoe. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444215)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.453; min lat: 50.513 ; max long: -49.043; max lat: 72.712 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20041