Least-Cost-Path Analysis as a Predictive Device for Conveyance and Mobility Patterns: The Case of Walker Road Obsidian
This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
The geochemical sourcing of artifacts manufactured on volcanic materials has often been used as a proxy for levels of landscape learning and mobility among Paleoindian peoples. Moreover, when traced to known sources, the distribution of volcanic materials has informed studies of specific conveyance patterns. The Walker Road site in the Nenana valley of central Alaska has yielded tools manufactured on obsidian sourced to Wiki Peak, located in northern Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, and the as-yet unidentified A’ (or Ringling) source which is presumed to be somewhere in the Copper River drainage. The presence of these southern Alaskan obsidians at Walker Road suggests either long-distance seasonal procurement or established trade networks connecting the Nenana valley to the uppermost Tanana River basin and possibly the Copper River basin. We use a GIS-based least-cost-path analysis to identify the most probable route or routes used by Paleoindian peoples to transport obsidian from these sources to Walker Road. We use the Ringling site as a proxy for the location of the A’ source and incorporate geologic estimates of Glacial Lake Ahtna’s shorelines as well as regional ice coverage in the Wrangell Mountains and Alaska Range.
Cite this Record
Least-Cost-Path Analysis as a Predictive Device for Conveyance and Mobility Patterns: The Case of Walker Road Obsidian. John White, Ted Goebel. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449387)
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min long: -169.453; min lat: 50.513 ; max long: -49.043; max lat: 72.712 ;
Abstract Id(s): 25305