Chronology, Culture, and Climate: A Radiometric Re-evaluation of Late Prehistoric Occupations at Cape Denbigh, Alaska

Maribeth S. Murray, Aaron C. Robertson and Rachel Ferrara


This paper presents new data about the chronological placement of two archaeological sites at Cape Denbigh, Norton Sound, Alaska and others along the Kobuk River, Alaska. Direct radiometric dates on arrowpoints and harpoon heads indicate that selected type specimens are not always reliable temporal indicators for late prehistoric sequences in northwest Alaska and Arctic Canada. In the future new fieldwork and direct dating of artifacts and associated sediments will be necessary in order to refine culture-history sequences, evaluate the utility of artifact types as chronological indicators, and to examine the relationship between past culture change and environmental change in coastal Alaska.

  • Maribeth S. Murray, Aaron C. Robertson, Rachel Ferrara, Department of Anthropology P.O. 757720, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99775-7720