À la recherche des premières occupations préhistoriques de l’Alaska dans la vallée de la Tanana (États-Unis)

Les Nouvelles de l’Archéologie. 2015;141:6-12 DOI 10.4000/nda.3051


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Journal Title: Les Nouvelles de l’Archéologie

ISSN: 0242-7702 (Print); 2425-1941 (Online)

Publisher: Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme

LCC Subject Category: Auxiliary sciences of history: Archaeology

Country of publisher: France

Language of fulltext: French

Full-text formats available: HTML



Yan Axel Gómez coutouly
Brian T. Wygal
Kathryn E. Krasinski
Randolph M. Tedor


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Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Archaeological evidence suggests that the initial colonization of north western North America was the result of one or more migratory waves of people arriving from northeast Asia towards the end of the Pleistocene. Several well documented archaeological sites (e.g. Swan Point, Broken Mammoth, Upward Sun River, Mead, Healy Lake, and Gerstle River) located in the Tanana River valley of interior Alaska have produced a majority of this evidence in the east. These occupations have yielded data sets that are of major importance to understanding the processes involved in this initial colonization, as well as identifying possible origins and migration routes towards the New World. In addition to a diverse and specialized lithic industry, the deeply stratified sites of the Tanana valley also possess excellent preservation conditions for organic material such as faunal remains and bone, antler, and mammoth ivory tools. Therefore, sites in this region not only allow for complimentary zooarchaeological subsistence studies, but also for identifying organic technologies rarely seen in other late Pleistocene-early Holocene contexts in North America. Although several sites have made substantial contributions to our understanding of the early prehistory of this region, it remains relatively unknown and unexplored. As such, our fieldwork program focuses on an area of the Tanana valley known as the Goodpaster Flats where reconnaissance and testing by our American colleagues over the past four years has led to the discovery of several new deeply stratified (~2-3m) archaeological sites with excellent preservation conditions. Continuing survey and additional research in the Goodpaster will allow us to address many of the questions regarding the lives of the first Alaskans. This project is co-directed and funded through an international cooperative effort between the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Adelphi University of New York and the "Prehistory and Technology" research laboratory of Nanterre.