A High-Resolution Chronology for the Cape Krusenstern Site Complex, Northwest Alaska

Shelby L. Anderson and Adam K. Freeburg

Abstract

Environmental change is considered a key factor in late Holocene cultural evolution across the Arctic. This argument rests primarily on temporal correlations between paleoenvironmental shifts and cultural changes. Yet these regional chronologies are based on relatively few dates from only a few archaeological sites. Many dates are from nonspecific contexts and were obtained on unidentified materials. To address these issues, recent research at the Cape Krusenstern site complex was directed at refining the existing archaeological chronology. We obtained 151 new radiocarbon dates from known and newly identified sites. Results indicate many sites were occupied for longer periods of time than previously thought. Settlement of the entire site complex was nearly continuous over the last 4200 years despite local and regional environmental change. Regional coastal settlement models should be reevaluated in light of this revised chronology.

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