Colonizing the Kodiak Archipelago: Trends in Raw Material Use and Lithic Technologies at the Tanginak Spring Site

Ben Fitzhugh


Islands in the North Pacific were first colonized by maritime hunter-gatherers sometime between the terminal Pleistocene and mid-Holocene. When the colonists came and from where remains a matter of speculation. This article introduces the Tanginak Spring site, a deeply stratified early Ocean Bay I site on Sitkalidak Island in southeast Kodiak. Lithic raw materials and technologies are examined to evaluate the possibility that this site was first used by early colonists of the archipelago. The evidence suggests a relatively recent migration to Kodiak not much before 7500 cal B.P. (6600 B.P., uncalibrated radiocarbon). Changes in the lithic assemblage over 1,500 years of site use suggest “regionalization”—a process of settling in and adapting to local materials and resources. It is always possible to imagine undiscovered sites that will push back human prehistory in a region. Here an attempt is made to direct our attention to positive rather than negative evidence.

  • Ben Fitzhugh, Department of Anthropology, M32 Denny Hall, Box 353100, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195

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