Chipped Stone Technology and the Colonization of the Aleutian Archipelago

Virginia Hatfield


Recent research has refined our understanding of the origin and development of the human occupation in the Aleutians through examination of tools and cultural features. Chipped stone technologies, defined by both tools and debitage, can also be used to identify historical and sociopolitical changes based on which technologies are used and how much they are relied upon. Herein, assemblages from recently excavated sites in the western and central Aleutians, dating to ca. 3000 B.P. and 6000 B.P. respectively, are compared to assemblages in the eastern Aleutians, dating between 3000 and 9000 B.P to evaluate whether the record suggests historical continuity or discontinuity. The changes in chipped stone tool manufacture through time that are highlighted by this analysis reveal evidence of population expansions and interactions that occurred in the Aleutians prior to 3000 B.P. Based on the presence of certain technologies, historical continuity is established among the eastern, central, and western Aleutian sites.