The Northern Archaic Tradition in Southwestern Alaska

Robert E. Ackerman


In southwestern Alaska sites producing side-to-corner notched, bifacial projectile points have been found on the Kuskokwim Bay coast, along the Goodnews River valley, and around Kagati Lake in the interior. The open tundra context of the sites and the nature of the artifact assemblages reflect the activities of terrestrially oriented, mid-Holocene (6000 to 4000 B.P.1) caribou hunters (Northern Archaic tradition). Six of the sites were encampments where tools were repaired or manufactured using a bifacial flaking procedure and where prey animals were processed. The seventh site, near Kagati Lake, was a combination encampment and kill site. Caribou were driven between converging lines of stone cairns into a pond where they were dispatched. This is the first indication of the use of drive lines or fences by Northern Archaic tradition hunters.

  • Robert E. Ackerman, Department of Anthropology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-4910