Rethinking the Putu Site: Results of a Spatial Analysis of a Fluted Point Site in Northern Alaska

Michael R. Bever

Abstract

Putu, discovered nearly thirty-five years ago, remains one of only a few Alaskan sites with fluted points in an excavated context, possibly associated with radiocarbon dates. The potential importance of Putu cannot be disputed, for it also contains other technologies possibly Pleistocene in age, like blades and lanceolate points. This paper presents the results of a reanalysis of the artifact assemblage and its spatial context. The study shows that Putu probably contains at least three components: 1) a Mesa complex Paleoindian component dated to ca. 10,500 radiocarbon years B.P.; 2) a fluted point component, possibly associated with blades and, while essentially undated, very tentatively linked to dates of ca. 8,500 radiocarbon years B.P.; and 3) an historical era component. Making use of detailed provenience data from the original excavations, the reanalysis also demonstrates extensive post-depositional disturbance of the site, which places severe limits on the conclusions that can be drawn. As a result, interpretations of the site must be viewed with caution.

  • Michael R. Bever, Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C3200, Austin, Texas 78712-0303

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