Amakomanak: An Early Holocene Microblade Site in Northwestern Alaska

Yan Axel Gómez Coutouly


The Amakomanak site (AMR-00095), dated around 7500 BC, is located in the Noatak National Preserve in northwestern Alaska and presents an important microblade component (microblade cores, core tablets, and microblades) made of local chert. During the late Pleistocene and the early Holocene, microblade technology is widespread in central Alaska, dominated by Campus-style microblade cores (wedge-shaped microblade cores). The Amakomanak assemblage is primarily composed of larger prismatic microblade cores, similar to assemblages from other northwestern Alaskan sites compared here. This paper argues that raw material available in each area may have played a major role in the different microblade core variants described. Indeed, raw material availability in the northwestern region could be one of the major reasons behind the production of larger prismatic cores, as opposed to central Alaska Campus-style cores usually made on smaller river cobbles. The paper also presents the results of a morphometric analysis of microblade cores and microblades from the Amakomanak site, comparing the data to both experimentally derived data sets on microblade-flaking modes, as well as other microblade assemblages in Alaska and Siberia.

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