Paper No. 204-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
EXPANDING THE RADIOCARBON CHRONOLOGY FOR EARLY ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN INTERIOR ALASKA
As part of the Quartz Lake/Shaw Creek Flats research initiative, geoarchaeological excavations took place in 2014 at the Keystone Dune, Cook, and Klein sites in the middle Tanana Valley, interior Alaska. Although these sites were previously tested, continued excavation was vital to expand the 14C chronology and enhance our understanding of prehistoric subarctic foraging behavior and paleoecology, as well as landscape evolution and soil development. Excavation at the Keystone Dune site (KDS) exposed a hearth and the first in situ artifacts and faunal remains (extinct elk [wapiti]) found at this locale, despite more than ten years of intensive inspection. The KDS remains are located on a thin, organic-rich soil dated to ~13,000 cal. B.P. Cook site excavations revealed a deeper component and older soils (thought to date to the Early Holocene, >9000 cal. B.P.). Closely associated animal bone and charcoal samples provide the initial 14C chronology for this deeper component. Finally, our goal at the Klein site was to gather more geochronological information on a component previously dated ~3700-5100 cal. B.P. New excavations revealed additional datable cultural remains from this underrepresented period. These findings add to a growing body of geoarchaeological data in the region that dates back ~14,000 years, allowing for a refined chronology of human land use and landscape evolution in this subarctic lowland setting.