Weapon Systems and Assemblage Variability during the Northern Archaic Period in Northern Alaska

Jeffrey T. Rasic and Natalia S. Slobodina

Abstract

The Rosaliya (49-KIR-196) site is a small, single component microblade production and weapon repair location in the central Brooks Range of northern Alaska dated to 5200 years B.P. Although surrounded both geographically and chronologically by sites ascribed to the Northern Archaic tradition (NAT), the Rosaliya assemblage differs from them. It lacks the side-notched projectile points that are considered a hallmark of the tradition, and is instead dominated by the products of microblade technology, which is not, however, widely accepted as a NAT trait. We propose that regional scale NAT assemblage variability results in part from the use of multiple weapon systems with lanceolate-shaped bifaces functioning as spear heads, side-notched bifaces as dart tips, and microblades as components of arrowheads. The Rosaliya site assemblage, because it represents a short occupation involving specialized activities, reflects only a narrow range of this broader Northern Archaic period technology.

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