Ancient Footsteps in a New Land: Building an Inventory of the Earliest Alaskan Sites

Becky M. Saleeby


This paper focuses on Don Dumond’s contributions over the last four decades to the literature on the peopling of America, and examines how archaeological site discoveries and cultural chronologies have changed during this time period. In the 1960s, there were only three early sites—Anangula, Onion Portage, and Healy Lake—with well accepted radiocarbon dates. Today there are over 30 sites with calibrated radiocarbon dates, ranging from 10,000 to over 14,000 years B.P. Over the decades, several of the early sites have been re-dated and reinterpreted, but some of the basic questions about the timing and migration routes of the earliest Alaskans are still unresolved. Other lines of enquiry, focusing on issues such as territoriality, residential patterns, and trade, have been framed in the context of a recent National Register theme study on Alaska’s earliest sites.

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