Recent Work at Difchahak, a Center of Norton Culture in Eastern Norton Sound, Alaska

Roger K. Harritt


A 2006 mapping and testing effort at the Difchahak site (NOB-00005) produced new information about a major Norton settlement located in eastern Norton Sound. Although Giddings conducted limited excavations at Difchahak in 1948 and Lutz tested two of the house depressions in 1970, the site had never been mapped, nor had radiometric dating ever been carried out. The new complete map shows surface features with their relative sizes, forms, and distributions across the 600 m length of the site. Of the total of 223 features, 155 are designated as houses represented by several different forms and sizes and a total of 68 depressions designated as cache features. A total of four new AMS dates were obtained from charcoal from four house floors located at intervals along the full length of the site. Check stamped pottery, a retouched flake, fire-cracked rocks, and a single bone were also recovered. The AMS dates show that the age of the occupation falls squarely in the Norton era. Comparisons with other sites in the vicinity indicate that Difchahak was an important center of Norton culture during early Norton times, ca. 2500–2000 years ago.

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