Northern Archaic Tradition Forty Years Later: Comments

Northern Archaic Tradition Forty Years Later: Comments Abstract: Forty years have passed since the existence of Northern Archaic (NAT), a cultural tradition in northwestern Alaska distinct from Arctic traditions such as Arctic Small Tool (AST) was proposed. The usefulness and even reality of NAT as originally conceived is revisited here to see if the concept continues to have merit or if it should be abandoned altogether. Originally, NAT was thought to represent an expansion of culture northward during middle Holocene times from the more temperate and sub-arctic regions of the continent into forest/tundra-edge habitats of northwestern North America. Although evidence for the tradition came from numerous sites in Alaska and the Southwest Yukon, the concept was fully developed from findings at Onion Portage. Although the sequence demonstrated a change over time from side-notched to lanceolate points, there was a total absence of a microblade industry throughout the entire 2,000 years. Recent findings of notched points associated with microblades in other northern Alaskan sites have demonstrated a far more complex prehistory in the region than originally thought. Discussion of the “notched point” problem stresses the idea that side-notching alone need not indicate a distinct cultural tradition. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Arctic Anthropology University of Wisconsin Press

Northern Archaic Tradition Forty Years Later: Comments

Arctic Anthropology, Volume 45 (2) – Mar 12, 2009

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
ISSN
1933-8139
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: Forty years have passed since the existence of Northern Archaic (NAT), a cultural tradition in northwestern Alaska distinct from Arctic traditions such as Arctic Small Tool (AST) was proposed. The usefulness and even reality of NAT as originally conceived is revisited here to see if the concept continues to have merit or if it should be abandoned altogether. Originally, NAT was thought to represent an expansion of culture northward during middle Holocene times from the more temperate and sub-arctic regions of the continent into forest/tundra-edge habitats of northwestern North America. Although evidence for the tradition came from numerous sites in Alaska and the Southwest Yukon, the concept was fully developed from findings at Onion Portage. Although the sequence demonstrated a change over time from side-notched to lanceolate points, there was a total absence of a microblade industry throughout the entire 2,000 years. Recent findings of notched points associated with microblades in other northern Alaskan sites have demonstrated a far more complex prehistory in the region than originally thought. Discussion of the “notched point” problem stresses the idea that side-notching alone need not indicate a distinct cultural tradition.

Journal

Arctic AnthropologyUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Mar 12, 2009

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