Models of faunal processing and economy in Early Holocene interior Alaska

  • Potter B
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Abstract

This study represents the first detailed published analysis of a relatively large archaeologically derived faunal assemblage in eastern Beringia for the Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene. The faunal remains, dated to 10,100 cal. BP, are well preserved and have highly resolved spatial association with lithics and hearth features. Factors in the formation of the assemblage are assessed through analyses of weathering, presence/absence of carnivore damage, fragmenta- tion patterns, bone density, and economic utility. Taphonomic analyses indicate that human transport and processing decisions were the major agents responsible for assemblage formation. A spatial model of wapiti and bison carcass processing at this site is proposed detailing faunal trajectories from the kill sites, introduction on site in a central staging area to peripheral marrow extraction areas associated with hearths and lithic items. Data from mortality profiles, spatial analysis, and economic analysis are used to interpret general economy and site function within this period in Interior Alaska. These data and intersite comparisons demonstrate that considerable economic variability existed during the Early Holocene, from broad spectrum foraging to efficient, specialized terrestrial large mammal hunting

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Authors

  • Ben A. Potter

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